After a year away from the game, Clovis High and Eastern New Mexico University grad Justin Gee is trying to restart his baseball career.
Gee signed to play for the Texas Heat, an independent league team in Addison, Texas, near Fort Worth. In its first year, Continental Baseball League will have four teams, all from Texas. Gee said the league hopes to grow to 12 teams by next season.
The other teams are the Lewisville Lizards, the Tarrant County Blue Thunder and the Bay Area Toros, located in the Houston area.
Gee graduated from Clovis in 2002 and played four seasons at ENMU, mostly as a right fielder. He got married in June and graduated in December.
He said he was anxious to try to continue playing.
“I had planned on going to some tryouts, but I never got around to it,” he said. “Then I heard there was a tryout in Fort Worth on March 29-30.”
He said 20 of 160 prospects were called back for the second day of the tryout, and he was contacted by the Heat coach a few days later.
Gee said seven outfielders started workouts with the team, but only four are left after the first round of cuts on Tuesday. He said he feels pretty good about his chances of making the team.
“I’m pretty sure they’ll be carrying four outfielders,” he said.
The teams are scheduled to play a round-robin exhibition event this weekend in Killeen, Texas. The 70-game regular-season schedule begins on May 27 and runs through Aug. 14, Gee said. On most weeks, teams play single games on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, with a doubleheader on Saturday.
He said it’s been an adjustment getting back into the swing of things.
“I didn’t practice or anything that whole year (after last spring),” he said. “I started training again in January. I’m doing decent, but I just need a few more weeks.”
Gee played in 162 games at ENMU, including 150 as a starter. He had a career average of .280 with eight homers and 88 runs batted in, and also stole 25 bases in 32 attempts.