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Wahoowa! Agee commits to UVA

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The rising junior from Jefferson Forest commits to 2015 NCAA Champions

By Melanie Schumilas

Griffin Agee wasted no time committing to the University of Virginia (UVA), one of the nation’s powerhouse college baseball programs.

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The recruitment process between UVA and Agee, a rising junior from Jefferson Forest, was a swift but sweet courtship. UVA came to watch Agee, a left-handed pitcher, throw three times with his elite travel league, the EvoShield Canes, before inviting him for an on-campus visit.

Agee made the trip to Charlottesville the afternoon of July 21, and made his commitment just hours later.

“I chose UVA because a degree from there means more than most, it’s centrally located for my parents to be able to come and watch, and of course for how good the program is,” said Agee.

The Hoos baseball program has a long tradition of impressive success. In 2015, UVA won their first NCAA Championship, overcoming Vanderbilt in the finals. The blue-and-orange also have made 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances and two College World Series appearances in the last four years. As of June 28, UVA’s ranking floats around Nos. 21 and 22 according to  D1Baseball.com Top 25, NCBWA, Baseball America, USA Today Coaches Poll and RPI.

Agee’s commitment comes earlier than most; he still has two years left in high school before joining the Hoos in 2019. However, Agee is confident in his decision, noting that he didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be part of such a stellar program.

“I realized it’s my time to make a decision when schools that were highly ranked started telling me I had a certain amount of time before I had to decide,” explained Agee. “That’s when I decided I wanted to go ahead and commit with UVA, considering how good they are, I thought it was the perfect opportunity.”

The growing 6-foot-5 lefty was also blown away by UVA’s stunning and ever-expanding facilities.

“The facilities are definitely impressive. They’re actually undergoing a renovation right now. It’s a 16-something million dollar renovation, so the entire facility will be worth around $30 million, and once it’s done it’ll be able to hold around 7,000 fans...,” Agee boasted. “Those numbers are really hard to come by in college baseball, so the facilities really stood out to me.”

Agee will join the Hoos nearly 20 years after his JF baseball coach, Ryan Gilleland. ‘Coach G’ was a member of the Cavaliers from 1995-98.

“It’s cool how it all worked out... that my (high school) coach went to the same school as I’ve committed to,” said Agee. “He talked to me about it a little bit, of course it’s changed in the 20 years since he’s been there, but he’s definitely had a big impact on my decision. He taught me a whole lot of what (the UVA coaches) like, what it’s like there, and what the campus life is like.”

Agee is also following in the footsteps of his father and his cousin and former JF teammate, Cody Whitten, in playing Division I baseball.

Agee’s father, David Agee, pitched for Radford University. Not only did David transfer his love for pitching onto his son, he also was his pitching coach until Agee joined JF’s JV team his freshman year.

Although Agee is no longer coached by his father, the father-son duo still work out everyday at home together.

Strength training is a vital part of a set of improvements Agee hopes to make before joining UVA in two years.

“For now, I’m going to be focusing on gaining a few pounds and getting stronger,” said Agee. “I’ll also be working on a few minor things in the game, like some off-speed pitches.”

Agee described himself as a “power pitcher” who mainly relies on his fastball to get batters out. Agee hopes to improve his change-up and add another off-speed pitch to his arsenal, with his ultimate goal being to have steady command of three effective pitches. In addition to improving his pitch variety, Agee wants to bump up his fastball to “at least 90 MPH.” He’s hit the upper-80s this summer, but traditionally hovers around 85 MPH.

Beyond his individual goals, Agee wants to embrace more of a leadership role on his high school team for the upcoming season.

“In the recruiting process, you’re looked at under a microscope, and now that that’s over I can be more relaxed and focus on other people instead of just myself,” said Agee. “That’s something I’m working on... building relationships with the guys so I can become a strong leader for this team.”

Although it’s Agee’s pitching performances that have landed him an elusive offer from one of the best DI baseball programs in the nation, Agee extended gratitude to many key players in his life.

“I want to thank, first off, my catcher Ben Holley, he’s like a brother to me... He’s caught me for about five years now,” said Agee. “Also, Coach G for all he’s done, EvoShield Canes, my teammates and my friends for their support... And especially my dad. My dad’s been my coach forever, we’ve spent a lot of long nights at the baseball field to get here.”

GRIFFIN AGEE BY THE NUMBERS:

2017 Season Pitching Stats

Innings pitched: 15.1

Wins: 1

Saves: 6

Strikeouts: 22

Walks: 8

Hits: 9

Runs: 4

Earned runs: 2

ERA: 0.913

WHIP: 1.109

2017 Best Games

March 30 v. Rustburg
4 strikeouts, 0 earned runs, 2 hits. Two innings pitched for the save.

April 28 v. Heritage
2 strikeouts, 0 earned runs, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks. Two innings pitched for the save.