September 24, 2018

Lee Kay selected to represent Team Georgia at Sunbelt Classic

(McAlester, OK) — For each of the last 22 years, Oklahoma has hosted the Junior Sunbelt Classic, a baseball tournament for high school juniors featuring teams from eight different states as well as Canada.

Rising senior Lee Kay will represent Heard County High School on this year’s Team Georgia after being selected as one of the best players in the state.

Lee Kay will represent team Georgia in Oklahoma later this month (Photo: Melanie Boyd/Times-Georgian)

Lee Kay will represent team Georgia in Oklahoma later this month (Photo: Melanie Boyd/Times-Georgian)

This season for the Braves, despite missing 15 games with a broken hand, Kay still led the team with an awesome .474 batting average.

The right fielder also boasted a .936 fielding percentage and was excellent on the mound for coach Trent Bianco especially down the stretch and in the postseason.

Kay had four wins and struck out 38 batters in 41 innings while allowing just 12 walks.

During his last full and healthy season in 2015 as a sophomore, Kay hit .453 with 35 RBI, 35 runs scored, 10 doubles, three home runs, 14 walks and 11 stolen bases. On the mound he went 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 53 innings.

He is known for playing his best in the most pressure-packed situations.

“The moment’s never too big and that’s the most impressive thing about him, the bigger the game, the bigger he plays,” says Coach Bianco.

Kay was one of the catalysts in two quarterfinal runs for the Braves during each of the last two seasons.

 Lee will be the only player from the West Georgia area competing and also one of the only players from a smaller GHSA classification.

Other players named to the team include Chaz Bertolani (Johns Creek), Brennan Crooms (Metter), Christian Avant (Tift County), Garrett Marchman (Greenbrier), Ethan Lindlow (Locust Grove), Joah Curry (Locust Grove), Austin Thompson (Southeast Effingham), Jay Saunders (Colquitt County), Taber Mongero (North Hall), Zack Brockman (Savannah Christian), Steven Minter (Hillgrove), Jamie Boatright (Hillgrove), Jake Arnold (Starr’s Mill), Zack Daniels (Eagles Landing Christian Academy), Brant Hurter (Woodstock), Andrew Moore (Jackson) and Chas Patrick (Schley County).

The head coach for Team Georgia is former Gainesville High athletic director Wayne Vickery. This will be Vickery’s 20th year coaching Team Georgia.

During his years heading out to the event, Vickery has seen some incredible talent.

While he’s been able to coach the likes of Brian McCann, Buster Posey, Jeff Francoeur and Tyler Flowers, Vickery has coached against guys such as Dontrelle Willis, Brandon Moss, Mookie Betts and J.J. Hardy.

For players, Vickery says the tournament is a unique event to see how you stack up against players from across the nation.

“In the state of Georgia, high school baseball is as good as anywhere across the nation beside Texas and Florida,” Vickery says. “Georgia puts out great talent. We’ve got 20 kids that’s from all over Georgia going.”

The players who travel to the town of McAlester to play in the tournament will stay with host families. According to Vickery, the people there really welcome the players and the event.

“They just kind of roll out the red carpet,” Vickery said. “The Junior Sunbelt is what they’re known for.”

The 20-year veteran of the event said there are “a bunch of college scouts” that will attend the tournament looking for talent, but that talent will be abundant. “Some of the best baseball players playing in the Major Leagues right now played in this thing,” says Vickery.

Kay and the rest of Team Georgia will fly out June 7 and will play from June 10-15 with doubleheaders almost every day.

(The Gainesville Times contributed to this report)

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