It’s been quite an exciting week for Keith Lee, a sixth grade student from Rio Rancho who attends Albuquerque Academy.

Saturday, Lee won the New Mexico State Spelling Bee. He will represent New Mexico in Washington, D.C., in May in the national bee.

“I felt, like, really excited but at the same time, like, also overwhelmed because some words were really hard,” Lee said Wednesday while watching his sister’s baseball game at Sunset Little League. “It was, like, really intense.”

Thursday morning, Lee woke up to a video message from his favorite baseball player, Houston Astros star Alex Bregman.

Bregman, who was a standout baseball player at Albuquerque Academy, congratulated Lee on winning the New Mexico bee and wished him well for the competition in D.C.

“I just wanted to say congratulations on the spelling bee; we’ll all be watching and cheering you on,” Bregman said. “You’re coming up, so I’m looking forward to it. Take care; have a great one.”

Lee, who plans to play shortstop for the Astros some day, was overjoyed about the video from Bregman.

“His jaw dropped in astonishment and he jumped up and down around the bed,” Lee’s father, Po-Hsuen Lee said. “This is the best gift ever for him and I had never seen him have such excitement.”

The gift from Bregman was a fitting award for the younger Lee, who studied nearly two hours every night after winning the district bee to prepare for the state bee. Lee managed to balance his school work and his baseball team at Sunset Little League, his club team and at Academy with prepping for the state bee.

“We’re really proud of him because I see the persistence and perseverance,” Po-Hsuen Lee said. “During this journey, he’ll study almost two hours per day. After the district championship, I asked him if he still wants to continue because I really think he spent a lot of time and baseball season started. He said he wanted to try it. So we can support him with his mom testing him every day.”

The persistence and perseverance paid off for Keith Lee, who is now a state champion and will head to D.C. with his family May 30 to June 1 to compete against the top spellers in America. He’ll also have his favorite baseball player cheering for him.