Friday October 28th, 2016

Lee Payne


Lee Payne

USSSA Playing History Player Page

Why do you like the game of softball?
I have always played ball and was into sports. After baseball was over this was a way for me to still get between the lines and have fun. Playing is like therapy man, easy outlet to get away from the real world. I love the competition, hanging out with my friends, and being part of a team with a common goal. No doubt, I have also met some of my absolute best friends through playing ball. People that I will be close to my whole life.

Who is the best softball player you have ever seen play?
Everyone says the same 8 or 9 for a reason, bc they are the best. I remember showing up to my first league game in Valdosta, Ga back in 2001. I was just starting to play softball (I mean just starting out, like back before I owned my own bat, lol) and a friend of mine I worked with asked me to come play with them. Our first game was against Jason Kendrick's team, I remember seeing him hit and watching him play and being like WhoTF is that?? That was an eye opener for sure. I have always admired the way he plays the game. Like breaking up double plays, hustling to 1st, taking 2 if you can, bait the outfielder into throwing at you at 3rd so the guy hitting behind you can sneak into 2nd, the little things. If you dont play hard and hustle, do your teammates a favor and stay at the house.

What is your nickname in softball?
LeeZelle (some people say I run like a gazelle), Zellus, Zelle, Osama (which I dont like, for obvious reasons).

Where do you call home?
from a smaller town down in south – Tifton, GA but currently live in Suwanee, GA

What do you do for a living?
Inside Sales – I am an Account Executive for the Franchise Opportunities Network.

Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
Baseball in high school. Got burnt out on it and gave up after that.

How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
My softball addiction started in college, Id never played until I was about 19. We picked up and played around South Ga. After I graduated and moved to North GA, put a post on the Internet that I needed a team. I got a call from Stuart Mueller (RIP Lil Buddy) who ran Battle Paint (GA C team). My buddy Travis Lane vouched for me thru a mutual contact and got me on. I didnt know anyone and theyd never seen or heard of me at the time. Played 2 yrs (2004 and 2005) with them. Then Blake House who managed B&E tire (at the time B&E and Logo were the top 2 teams in GA). I played with them 1 year (2006) and then our core plus Twink (my man) rekindled Major League. Played 3 years there (2007,2008,2009), my first conference event was the Smokey in 2007 (wow, I was blown away. I remember telling myself – now this is what its all about). I felt like I had arrived an my hard work and dedication was paying off. In 2010 half of Major League combined with Drew Dubberly. I was on the first team in 2010 (we played a handful of Conference events). 2011 was my first official season in conference.

What position do you play?
Anywhere in the outfield. On top of running it down in the grass, I can Catch/EH, and Coach 1st or 3rd. I am also a bird dawg when it comes to foul and homerun balls that you big goons hit too.

What batting grip do you use?
standard, sometimes grip pinky on the knob. I am gonna try some new grips this offseason. Seems like most ppl use an overlap, which has always felt weird to me.

What ounce bat, make and model do you use?
Worth – 27oz, I like a balanced bat, although I really like the XL, once I got used to it.

What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
I love taking BP as much as I can, and I will keep lifting some weights. I also like to play league, basketball, and a couple of flag football leagues.

What is your favorite sports team?
Georgia all the way!!! UGA Bulldawgs, Atlanta Braves, Falcons, and Hawks. Hell, my favorite WNBA team is the Atlanta Dream (although Ive never even seen them bounce a ball).

What is your favorite sport other than softball?
Baseball, but I like all sports. Probably a little too much depending on who you ask. Anything where you keep score. I'm a bad golfer too.

Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I do, too many probably.

What is your most memorable softball moment?
What is your most memorable softball moment? Hopefully the best is yet to come. I have had a ton of memorable moments, bc I love softball and have played with some great dudes and teammates over the years.

Is slowpitch softball a sport or a game?
Both. It is what you make it and how seriously you take it.
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Get some corporate sponsors to make the conference events bigger and better and pass these discounts down lowering the cost for the team sponsors. We need companies like Hooters, Winghouse, Red Bull, Monster, Skoal, Copenhagen, Goodys, Anheiser Busch, Delta, Airtran, Crown Royal (just to name a few) to donate to the conference and support us the way we support them. A little like Nascar, but for Conference.
What is your favorite non-World tournament?
Smoky (its everyones best for a reason). I also like just about any 1 field backyard tournament, I can play with my buddies. Turn on the music, break out the coolers and grill, chill at the field, and start telling the tales. Man it doesnt get much better.
What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
I've seen several, someone sharting their pants during a game is def up there. One time we were playing in the championship game and this guy hits pop up to our catcher in bottom of the 7th, our catcher gets spuns around a couple of times, falls down, and the ball hits right beside him in fair territory, for a hit. He had been "celebrating" all day prior to that. This year my buddy Johnathan Scott curb stomping that baby snake that was in the drain and had stopped our game at the A World, while some people in the stands were shouting "dont kill it" was pretty funny too.


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