Liberty offers right combination for Gesell

Dec. 05, 2013 @ 08:46 PM

Levi Gesell grew up playing baseball — the game runs in his family.

His dad played it in college, and now one of his brothers does as well. So, it’s easy to see how it hooked him. But beyond that, he has pushed himself to work hard and continue improving to reach the next level.

And now Gesell, a senior at High Point Christian Academy, is seeing the results of all that time and effort, work and sacrifice by signing with Liberty University to continue his baseball career at the NCAA Division I level.

“I love the game so much that I would’ve gone anywhere to play it, because I’m blessed to and not a lot of kids are able to go play in college,” he says. “It’s very humbling, and I want to thank God because He’s blessed me so much.”

Growing up, Gesell, the son of Corey and Lisa of High Point, has played baseball “ever since I was born, pretty much,” he says with a laugh. His dad played at Virginia Tech and George Mason, and his older brother, Jared, now plays at UNC Wilmington.

So, from his earliest memories, he’s had a bat, ball and glove in his hands. While he also played basketball and football, he recognized his potential on the baseball field and worked hard to develop into becoming a top-level player.

It hasn’t been easy spending time on the road with travel teams or sacrificing free time with friends to practice for hours. But Gesell’s goal has been to work hard, develop his potential while helping his team compete and see how far it will take him.

“It’s been very difficult, because you can’t just wake up and play and get to that level,” he says. “You have to put in a lot of work and sacrifice a lot of things other kids don’t. But it’s also very rewarding, because all the hard work I’ve done is finally starting to pay off. Everyone says that hard work pays off, and I’m just blessed that it has.”

Over the last three seasons, Gesell, who has started largely in the outfield but also plays first base and pitches, has been selected All-PACIS three times while helping the Cougars contend among the top private school teams in the state. He was also chosen PACIS Player of the Year and NCISAA 3A All-State during his junior year.

“I’ve been throwing him batting practice since he was 6 months old, I think,” says his father, Corey, who is the baseball coach and athletic director at High Point Christian, with a laugh. 

“Levi’s a very, very hard worker, very committed. He loves to play, and his skills have just continued to improve. He’s not peaked yet, and he’s going to continue to get better at Liberty.”

In weighing his options, Gesell also considered schools including Charleston Southern, Presbyterian and High Point. But the school environment at Liberty, and a baseball program that won the Big South tournament and reached the final game of the NCAA tournament’s Columbia regional, fit what he wanted.

“It’s a great school. I love the campus, and they’re really good in baseball,” says Gesell, who wants to study either sports management or sports medicine. “I just loved the whole environment. It’s a Christian school, and I’ve grown up in that my whole life. I just love it up there, and I love the coaches. So, it feels great.”

 

mlindsay@hpe.com 

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@HPEmichael