When the 2012-2013 Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat season began, the roster seemed to have few surprises, and the offense would be fueled by a heavy veteran contribution. There were names like Luke Hughes, Allan de San Miguel and imports Adam Melker and Cater Bell being floated about. Fast forward to round 6 and while those names fill the leader board in many offensive categories, they are joined by one of the "young guns" from Western Australia's deep pipeline of talent in Josh McGee.
Fresh off a stellar season in the US college ranks, McGee's name can be found among the top 10 in hitting with a .352 average ahead of some of the leagues more established hitters. With the 6th best average, and tied for second in the ABL with 19 hits, McGee credits his 3 years playing college baseball in the states to making his transition to the Heat smooth. "Just playing college ball just makes the experience over here a lot easier because the speed of the (college) game is quicker, rather than just jumping from club ball," McGee said.
The balance of veterans and "young guns" has helped propel the Heat to a 10-4 start in the ABL brought to you by "Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking", and has created some buzz in the clubhouse. "We have a lot of fire with the way we play, and we are playing with a lot of excitement and playing the game hard so it gets the older guys excited and makes us play a good brand of baseball," according to McGee.
McGee the son of former Heat manger Ken McGee takes pride in his baseball roots and knows the importance of showcasing that deep talent pool in the states. "When you are over there, you want to show everyone what WA baseball is all about. Then when you come back home and play over here you always get a bit fire under your boots because you are always excited about playing back at home." McGee showed the college ranks what he could do by hitting .314 last season with NAIA powerhouse Cumberland University. That followed two years of JUCO ball playing for Northwest Florida where he hit .355.
The deep talent pool also benefits from the veterans on the ballclub. McGee looks to team Captain Luke Hughes and his track record of success for advice. "Luke takes all the younger kids under his wing and helps us out and he always giving me tips. You listen to what he says because he has shown what he can do and the things that he tries to help you with you can see the results through Luke and that makes you want to change your game and get better."
McGee is hitting .353 (6 for 17) with runners in scoring position, part of dangerous 1-2 offensive punch with WA veteran Allan de San Miguel, who 4 for 8 in the same department and is leading the league in hitting with a .380 clip. "Allan goes about his business a little on the quiet side but every time you look up it seems like Allan is getting another hit and he is just dominating at the moment. I hope he keeps it up because he is playing a large part in the team getting a lot of victories."
McGee has put the college game behind him and is focused on the ultimate team goal. "I been to college and had baseball every day and now I am playing for the fun of it and going out there to win and playing with your mates but the main goal is to win." With Perth native McGee in the lineup the Heat are doing what the Heat do best and that is win. That is no surprise.