EFFINGHAM (WCIA) — Ask kids in Effingham who Zack Lee is and there’s a good chance they’ll be able to tell you all about the 6-foot-4, 210 pound pitcher.
And there’s a good reason why.
The recent Effingham grad only allowed three earned runs in 66 innings this season, backed by his 95-mile per hour fastball. It’s a speed that showed up on the radar for several pro scouts, giving him a chance to be picked but Lee’s name didn’t show up in last week’s MLB Draft.
“We were leaning towards college anyway, that’s why I didn’t get drafted,” Lee said. “I thought college was the better of the two for me, and then we’ll see what happens there after three years.”
From the Apollo Conference to the SEC, Lee hopes to continue the success he’s seen at Effingham to the University of Kentcuky. During his high school career, Lee won more than 20 games on the mound. This season alone, he struck out more than 100 batters with a .317 ERA, leading the Hearts to their first sectional title since 1942.
“Zack’s had a tremendous career here,” Effingham head coach Chris Fleener said. “As a matter of fact, it might be one of the best as far as Effingham High School ball goes. I think he saw that he had a talent. and he decided he could go a little farther in this, and I think Zack did a good job of getting the next goal, and his goal will be going a step further after Kentucky.”
And Lee won’t be the first Effingham product with a chance at the pros. Current MLB pitchers Chad Green and Nick Gardewine once walked the same field he did. Lee wants his name on that list too, as yet another Flaming Hearts player to make it to the Big Leagues.
“It’s just great to think that it could actually come true,” said Lee. “It’s just a great thing to think about, that I have this wonderful opportunity that was gifted to me by God. I’m looking to improve my game all around, so I’m just going into college hoping they can build me into a better baseball player.”
Before his next chance at getting drafted, Lee says he wants to take his pitch to over 97 miles per hour, in the hopes of making a name for himself beyond college baseball.
PAST WCIA 3 BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS:
2019: Zack Lee, Effingham
2018: Dalton Hoel, Tuscola
2017: Lane Belleville, Teutopolis
2016: Dalton Parker, St. Joseph-Ogden
2015: Joe Aeilts, Central