BENTON — Polk County baseball standouts Tyler Lee and Michael Hargrove have decided to continue their playing careers at Cleveland State Community College.
CSCC baseball coach Mike Policastro was in Polk County Monday morning to sign the two Wildcats starters, saying he was pleased to get two additional (local) players for his team next season.
“These two come out of an outstanding high school program and we strive to sign as many local (regional) players as we can,” said the Cougars’ coach.
Policastro said he feels both players can step right in and play for his team next spring. “We’ll probably try Michael (Hargrove) at first base or in the outfield, and he should be able to play right away,” said the CSCC mentor. “Tyler is very versatile, runs real well and should also play right away.”
The Cleveland State coach said both players are outstanding prospects.
Policastro expects another good season for his Cougars this year with approximately 15 players returning. He expects to have some holes to fill the following year. Last season the Cougars were 33-19 and finished 14-7 in the conference. CSCC’s season ended in the semifinals of the state tournament.
Polk County baseball coach Bill Triplett was pleased with the decisions of Tyler and Hargrove to play at Cleveland State. “It’s close and his parents and I will be able to see them play,” Triplett said.
“The reason both players are excellent prospects is their versatility,” said Triplett. “They have started in a number of positions for us (infield and outfield) the past three years,” said the Wildcats’ coach. “This will be a good thing for them in college,” he added.
“I feel they both can go down there and contribute” Triplett continued. “They are the first group to come in and start all four years for us.”
Triplett expects his Wildcats to challenge for district and regional baseball titles again this year, with Lee and Hargrove being important ingredients to the team’s chances.
“I expect us to be in the hunt,” he said. “Usually I don’t say that at this time of the year.”
Triplett said Hargrove and Lee will pace the team’s class of six seniors. He said he also has some standout juniors, five sophomores and 10 freshmen. “We have some exceptional young talent,” the Polk County coach emphasized.
Triplett also praised the Cleveland State baseball program. “Coach Policastro has always had a top-level program,” he said. “It’s not about how big the college program is, but how happy the players are to be with the program.”
Triplett continued to praise his two senior. “They work hard in the offseason (on baseball), and they’ve played other sports including football.
Lee and Hargrove were joined by family members at Monday’s signing ceremony.
Lee is the son of Tick and Trescy Lee. His sister Tiffany, a sophomore at Polk County High School, also attended the signing.
Hargrove is the son of Don and Tonya Hargrove. His grandfather Billy Azbell was also in attendance.
Representing Polk County High School were Triplett, assistant coach Michael Carter, Athletic Director Ron German and Principal Jason Bell.