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GEORGIA TECH BASEBALL: Jake Lee, Austin Wilhite transitioning from baseball foes to friends

Former Whitewater ace pitcher Jake Lee is ready to make the leap in earnest to Georgia Tech. (PHOTO: Gabriel Stovall)

Former Whitewater ace pitcher Jake Lee is ready to make the leap in earnest to Georgia Tech. (PHOTO: Gabriel Stovall)

Buford rising senior and utility player Austin Wilhite, pictured, and his twin brother Nick are committed to Georgia Tech and looking forward to teaming up with Whitewater grad Jake Lee in 2016. (Special Photo)

Buford rising senior and utility player Austin Wilhite, pictured, and his twin brother Nick are committed to Georgia Tech and looking forward to teaming up with Whitewater grad Jake Lee in 2016. (Special Photo)

By Gabriel Stovall

gstovall@thecrescentbuzz.com

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — It’s been just a little over two months since Jake Lee played his last high school baseball game at Whitewater, and he’s already getting accustomed to the college life.

He’s learning all of the skills necessary for making it as a pitcher at a big time Division I baseball program and world class academic institution such as Georgia Tech — you know, things like…doing his own laundry.

“After high school has been cool so far,” Lee said. “It’s helped because I’ve been out here living in the (Team Elite Roadrunners) team house in Alpharetta. It’s been cool living at the house and doing things that I’ll have to get used to doing over the next few years, like washing my own clothes.”

Certainly Lee’s post high school experiences will increase in rigor once he touches down in earnest on the Georgia Tech campus and begins his tenure as a Yellow Jacket. In the meantime, he’s been enjoying his summer with Team Elite, and getting to know a couple of his future Tech teammates.

“This travel team, we’re a really extremely talented as far as individuals go,” Lee said. “We’ve just had, maybe, a bit of a hard time piecing it all together. We’re not doing as great as we should, if we did we would be perfect.”

Not doing as great to Lee means that out of about 50 games, the team has “lost maybe four or five games, but I’m not exactly sure,” Lee said.

What he is sure about is that he’s having the time of his life competing on a summer squad that includes Twin brothers Austin and Nick Wilhite — foes-turned-teammates who will likely accompany Lee to Georgia Tech in 2016.

The Wilhites are both standouts on Team Elite and are products of the 2015 Class AAAA champion Buford Wolves. Yes, the same Buford squad that ended Whitewater’s hopes for its first state championship this past spring.

And just in case you’re wondering, there’s definitely no animosity or signs of boiling rivalry between the trio. Not even a little good-natured ribbing. If anything, Lee says, there’s relief in knowing that everybody’s now on the same side.

“Well it’s a little bit easier having (the Wilhites) on your team, I can tell you that,” Lee said. “It’s outstanding having them as teammates. It’s fun to watch them play, knowing I get to play with them again over he next couple of years. Having Austin and Nick in the field makes pitching easier. Those guys have crazy range.”

Austin Wilhite also testifies that he likes teammate Jake Lee even more than opponent Jake Lee.

“Before we got to play together, I didn’t know him real well,” Wilhite said. “Playing against him, the only thing I thought about was, ‘Oh, let me see if I can be able to get a hit off of this guy,’ but now that I’ve gotten to know him, I enjoy playing with him much better than against. When I got to know him, he makes the game fun. He’s the guy that knows how to say something to make the mood in the dugout better when things aren’t going right.”

The Wilhites committed to Georgia Tech together, and chose the Jackets over other schools like LSU, Georgia, Kennesaw State, Florida and Georgia State — schools that showed mutual interest to both brothers. Both of the brothers play with Lee on the Roadrunners squad.

“We knew we were going to be a package deal wherever we would go,” Wilhite said. “We’ve been together our whole lives, played together our whole lives. It’s been great because playing with him and with Jake, because I think it’s going to be a snippet of a preview to the next three years together. I can’t wait until we get out there together and Jake’s on the mound and we’re making plays behind him.”

Both Austin Wilhite and Lee are so excited about their futures at Tech, they’ve turned into junior recruiters.

“My best friend Griffin Jolliff who also plays for Buford Team Elite recently got a Georgia Tech offer,” Wilhite said. “I’ve known him for pretty much all my life. When he told me Tech offered, I knew he had other schools like Kennesaw, West Virginia and Clemson, but I told him, ‘You need to go to Tech. You’ll love the coaches. They’ll make you better.’

“I just really encouraged him.”

And Lee said he would encourage anyone considering entertaining an opportunity to play at Georgia Tech to take a good look at what the Jackets are building on the diamond.

“I know (the Wilhites) are committed (to Tech), and a couple of others guys, I’m sure have a shot at getting an offer there,” Lee said. “I think Tech is going to be great. I’m pumped. I got my schedule the other day. I know all of my roommates. I definitely think the class we have coming in and the ones we’re building have a chance to really let us make some noise over the next three years.”

 

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