Every day at the ballpark is a good day for Tennessee freshman Andrew Lee.
But it was a really good Saturday for Lee, the former three-sport athlete at Morristown West High School.
Lee went 4-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs as the Vols beat Alcorn State 13-6 before 1,534 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Since having Tommy John surgery on his elbow last June 19, Lee has learned to appreciate just being on the field.
“I learned I’m lucky,” Lee said. “I was sad and mad because I had to sit out, but a lot worse things can happen than having surgery on your arm. I feel like it just made me humble realizing how lucky I am to be out here every day and play the game I love with these guys.”
It’s been a long road back for Lee, who tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow during the District 2-AAA baseball tournament last spring.
Suddenly, Lee was on the shelf not a place where he’s accustomed to being.
Lee played quarterback and punter for Morristown West’s football team, started at forward for the basketball team, and played pitcher and first base for the baseball team.
“The hardest part was the beginning, definitely, staying out of action for months at a time and just missing the game a lot, and being at practice and not being able to do anything,” Lee said.
Lee missed all but the last two weeks of the Vols’ fall practices. He returned in late October and started swinging the bat and taking some grounders in the field, and began throwing in early November.
He has yet to pitch in a game this season.
“I just threw my first bullpen the other day, so I’m getting back on the mound, just easy, finding the strike zone right now,” Lee said. “But hopefully if I stay on my timeline I’ll be back by about April, game ready, but we’ll see how it goes.”
Lee, who has started nine games at designated hitter, entered Saturday’s game batting .143 and raised his average to .225.
“I thought he put really good swings on the baseball today,” UT coach Dave Serrano said. “I thought he used the count leverage in his favor. I know the coaches have been harping to him to when he gets count leverage to really put good passes on. I thought he did that today.”
Notebook: Freshman left-hander Drake Owenby, former Powell pitcher, started Saturday for the Vols. Owenby threw three innings and allowed no hits and three earned runs. He walked five and struck out two. Taylor Smart hit a solo home run in the seventh — just the Vols’ second homer of the season. UT (6-7) plays host to Alcorn State (2-14) today at noon in the series finale.