Bell County senior D.J. Estes signed his national letter of intent to play baseball at Berea College during a signing ceremony at BCHS on Friday afternoon.
Estes will be joining the Mountaineers in the fall. The lefty is will be a pitcher-only at the next level.
He said knowing he gets to continue playing baseball after high school is rewarding.
“It just makes me feel accomplished that all of my hard work is going to pay off,” he said. “The end of my high school career isn’t going to be the end of baseball for me. I get to continue and continue to work hard to become a better player.”
Estes said he chose Berea because it felt a lot like home.
“I’ve toured many colleges and when I went to Berea it just felt like home. It felt a lot like this place, like I was going to another Bell County,” he said.
Estes will be studying Mechanical Engineering and attending Berea for three years followed by two years at the University of Kentucky.
“I’m looking forward to getting into a steady weight lifting program and having people to look over me 24/7 and make sure I’m getting where I need to be,” he said of what he’s most looking forward to in college.
Before looking too far ahead, Estes is focused on being a leader for the Bobcats this season. Bell County opens the 2019 season on Monday at Corbin and will host Williamsburg on Tuesday.
With Estes emerging as an ace, the Bobcats posted a 14-13 record last season after a few losing seasons in a row.
D.J. says he hopes to see further improvement this year.
“(My goals are) just to have a successful season and to keep my teammates accountable. We all need to keep each other accountable to have a successful season this year,” he said. “Our big accomplishment would be to win the district and go to region.”
Estes also wanted to thank everyone who has helped him develop into the player he is today.
“I’d like to thank all of my coaches, all of my teammates and everyone that has pushed me to get here,” he said.