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Lee Co. rising baseball star Bush earns national honor

After a recent tryout in South Carolina, Lee County baseball’s Nick Bush was named to the USA Under-16 Mid-Atlantic team. (Chad Bush/Special to The Herald)

After a recent tryout in South Carolina, Lee County baseball’s Nick Bush was named to the USA Under-16 Mid-Atlantic team. (Chad Bush/Special to The Herald)

LEESBURG — Nick Bush says he can’t explain how he feels.

Simply because he has never felt this way before.

“I really can’t explain it,’’ said Bush, a Lee County rising sophomore who is close to being named to the USA Under-16 baseball team. “It’s exciting, but I don’t really know how to describe it because nothing like this has ever happened to me before.’’

Bush, who pitched and played the outfield for Lee County’s ninth-grade baseball team last spring, has battled his way through three USA tryouts this summer — two in North Carolina and a recent tryout in Charleston, S.C.

He made the cut in each of the tryouts, and after the South Carolina tryout, Bush was named to the USA Under-16 Mid-Atlantic team, which consists of players from six states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.

That team will travel to Cary, N.C., next Thursday to compete in a tournament against 13 region teams from across America in the National Team Identification Series. At the end of the series, the committee from USA Baseball will select 40 players. Those 40 will advance to another series in which the 25 members of the USA Under-16 team will be chosen.

Bush’s selection to the Mid-Atlantic team, however, is an honor in itself.

“To be chosen on a team of baseball players from (six states), that selection is pretty prestigious,’’ Lee County baseball coach Rob Williams said. “He had a pretty good year for us. He’s a good player, and he’s a hard worker. We’re looking for him to get better and better.’’

Bush had an impressive year on the mound for the Lee County ninth-grade team. He struck out 35 batters in 23 innings and had a 0.33 ERA. He also pitched a one-hitter and hit .320.

He’s a lanky left-hander with a fastball that has been clocked at 84 mph and a nasty curveball. He played the outfield in the South Carolina tryout, but when he got the chance to pitch, he impressed everyone. He faced five batters and retired all of them, striking out three.

USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), which makes Bush’s run through the extended tryouts carry a lot of weight.

“It means a lot to me,’’ said Bush, who will turn 16 next Thursday — the day of the tournament. “I feel really good about (making the Mid-Atlantic team), and I think I have a pretty good chance of making the 40-man roster as a pitcher. I feel pretty confident.’’