Gee signs with Shawnee

Over the past four years, Bradley Gee has taken giant steps in every season that he’s played for the South Webster Jeeps, while proving himself as a stronghold at the top of South Webster’s rotation.

Now, Gee is ready to take the next step in his baseball career — by signing with Shawnee State to play baseball from the 2017-18 season on forward.

The senior pitcher, who has also shown off his dual-threat abilities by hitting for power and an average in the middle of South Webster’s batting order throughout his career, made the signing with the Bears official on Monday morning in a ceremony held at South Webster High School.

For Gee, the accomplishment is a step that marks the completion of one goal — and the beginning of another.

“Signing with Shawnee State feels amazing, and is a big accomplishment for me,” Gee said. “To meet a goal of mine, and begin to set sights on other goals that I have at the same time, is a great feeling. I believe that Shawnee State will be a great fit for me, and I hope that my signing will motivate the underclassmen who witnessed it so that baseball can provide them with the opportunity to obtain an education and play at the next level in the sport that they love.”

As for South Webster head coach Ryan McClintic and SSU head coach Chris Moore, they believe that Gee’s hard work is evident in how he has played and progressed over his four-year career with the Jeeps.

“It’s a great fit,” Moore said. “It’s a big deal for us anytime we can get a player from Scioto County that can help us right away. Brad has the ability and he’s got himself squared away mechanically. There are a lot of positives with Brad, and we get the benefit of being able to showcase one of Scioto County’s best in the years to come.”

“I couldn’t be happier for Brad,” McClintic added. “He’s been a huge part of our program for four years; he’s been a huge part of our pitching rotation for the last three years, and he’s a great kid. (Chris) Moore and Shawnee State are getting a kid that is extremely coachable, extremely respectful, and a kid that is going to put the work all 12 months out of the year.”

Gee has already proven his ability to work at South Webster, as the Jeep has improved from a contributing freshman who pitched as the team’s No. 3 starter to a powerful two-way threat who has served as the team’s No. 1 starter over the past three seasons while providing a legitimate bat at the heart of the order for the Jeeps.

“Brad’s improved every year,” McClintic said. “That’s what you want to see as a coach: a kid that improves every year. He’s a testament to that. He’s put time in the weight room, he’s put time in throwing bullpen sessions, and he’s put time in playing summer ball. You can tell by his maturation process, both as a pitcher and as a young man, that he’s gotten better every single year, not only on the mound, but offensively and defensively, as well. He’s come a long way and has been solid for us every year. We’re really excited about what his senior year will hold because he’s put in a lot of work in the offseason and has definitely gotten better. Obviously, he’s a starting pitcher first and foremost, but he can do anything. He’s that type of kid. Anything that you ask him to do, he’ll do it 100 percent. I have no doubts that he’s going to get to Shawnee State and contribute in all of the manners required of him.”

A lot of that improvement is due to the amount of time that Gee put in with Tim Martin, a nationally-renown scout who coached at Minford from 1996 to 2015. Martin also double-dipped as a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), the Florida Marlins, and the Boston Red Sox while he was coaching and currently serves as the Associate Scout for the Red Sox organization, a position that he has held since 2010.

“Tim Martin put in a lot of time with him during the offseason,” McClintic said. “He definitely deserves a lot of the credit for helping Brad maturate as a pitcher.”

“If it wasn’t for Tim, I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” Gee said. “I appreciate all of his help, and it says a lot about his own character in how he gives his knowledge back to all of the athletes within the county.”

Moore can tell that maturation and improvement simply in his pitching mechanics.

“Physically, Brad’s put together pretty well,” Moore said. “He has the arm speed and the arm strength, along with the ability to throw an effective breaking ball. It’s really the ABCs of talent evaluation, but he checks all of the boxes on the sheet. There’s a lot of room for growth there, and he seems like an eager young man who wants to learn and works hard. All of those qualities work in his favor.”

And it’s those qualities that could have Gee in a prime role for the Bears — sooner, rather than later.

“(Brad’s role) to be determined, but the reality is that he looks like a future starting pitcher for us,” Moore said. “We’re not going to recruit him and go through this process unless we think that he can come in and do well in the rigors of the Mid-South Conference, which is the toughest conference in the NAIA, regardless of sport. I believe that Brad has the ability to pitch at an elite level. We’re expecting him to come in and make contributions right away for us.”

In addition to the qualities that Gee brings to the table from a pitching standpoint, the South Webster attendee brings more Scioto County flavor to a unit that features Wheelersburg’s Derek Moore and West’s Brady Knittel to the unit. While Moore graduates after this year, Knittel is a guy that Gee has already developed a great repor with — the pair played travel baseball together for Waverly Post 139.

“(Chris) Moore is a really good guy,” Gee said. “I know a lot of people that’s playing at Shawnee State right now, so I believe that I’ll fit in well there. It’s great to see Derek (Moore) having the success that he has had there over the course of his career, and I played summer ball with Brady (Knittel), who is an excellent teammate and a guy that I really like playing with.

“Brad’s going to be able to come in, and hopefully, he can take Derek Moore’s spot while he’s learning from Brady Knittel,” Moore said. “We’re proud of the tradition that we’ve built with players in Scioto County, and Brad’s going to be right there in that group.”

However, Gee wants to finish this year out strong before focusing on anything else.

“I can’t wait for this season to start,” Gee said. “We’ve got a lot of promising pieces on our roster, and a lot of guys who work hard and understand their roles on the team. I believe that it’s going to turn out good for us.”

Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930