Christian Heritage School Lions

June 1, 2013

McKinney's big day is unforgettable

As the valedictorian of Christian Heritage School’s Class of 2013, Michael McKinney was tasked with giving a speech during Friday night’s commencement ceremony. His planned topic was memories.

Hours before he was set to give the seven-minute talk, he added something to his personal file of moments he’ll reminisce about years from now.

A three-sport standout for the Lions the past two seasons in baseball, basketball and football, McKinney signed a baseball scholarship with Georgia College and State University at Christian Heritage. The 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound McKinney might have pursued college opportunities in any of his sports, but he had decided what he wanted to go after by the time he reached high school.

And for McKinney, a left-hander who expects to primarily pitch in college after also playing first base for the Lions, it wasn’t that difficult a call, no matter how much he enjoyed the other seasons of the sports year.

“They say college sports is a job, and football and basketball, I love playing but I don’t know that I could do it to that level,” McKinney said. “With baseball, if it’s a job, I could definitely do that.”

If McKinney’s dream is to be a successful athlete, he’s already living it, and that was true even before he signed with Georgia College — the school is in Milledgeville and the Bobcats are a member of the NCAA Division II’s Peach Belt Conference — based on his accomplishments with the Lions.

Throughout his time at Christian Heritage, McKinney has been a key player for the baseball team and coach Noah Stokes.

As a freshman in the first state playoff game of his high school career, McKinney pitched a one-hitter and slugged a go-ahead three-run homer to lead the Lions to a road win. On his way to earning a spot as a utility player on The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Baseball Team in 2012 — this year’s lineup will be announced later this month — McKinney hit .301, led the Lions in RBIs, was undefeated on the mound and earned a pair of saves as he struck out 59 batters in 58 innings. As a senior, he went 6-4 with a 2.67 ERA.

An honorable mention for all-area baseball as a sophomore, he also earned honorable mention on the all-area football squad each of the past two seasons — the only two years he played that sport in high school — and was an all-area selection for basketball as a junior and earned honorable mention on the court as a sophomore and senior.

Stokes was glad to have McKinney around, and not just because he could throw hard.

“He was always one of those you could count on to do more than you asked and to lead his team by example,” Stokes said. “He was always good spirited — just a coach’s dream in all regards. ... He was our best hitter most years and our best pitcher most years, so you wanted to see him at the plate and you felt pretty good when you sent him to the mound.”

Georgia College went 36-19 this season, won the Peach Belt Conference tournament championship for the first time and came two wins short of earning a spot in the Division II College World Series. The Bobcats are coached by Tom Carty, who has a 212-117 record in his six seasons leading the program.

“I think I have a good chance of competing there, and I think they have a good chance of competing as a team,” McKinney said.

Stokes believes McKinney will help the Bobcats keep moving forward

“He’s got some good baseball ahead of him,” Stokes said. “He’ll have just as positive an effect on their team as he did on my team.”

1
Text Only
Christian Heritage School Lions
  • DHS at SE soccer 7 mlh.jpg Prep Roundup: Unbeaten streak rolls on for Cats

    Replicating the start of last year’s Class 4A state title match, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team needed just four minutes to score its first goal at Southeast Whitfield on Friday.
    The Catamounts scored five more — and again defended their crown of dominance in the sport.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Baseball Roundup: Raiders out of hunt for the playoffs

    Needing a win to keep Southeast Whitfield High School’s baseball season meaningful, Raiders coach Brad Lofton turned to a pair of senior pitchers on Friday at Heritage-Catoosa.
    The seniors didn’t disappoint, but it was the offense and the defense that couldn’t come through.

    April 12, 2014

  • Prep Roundup: Dalton golf teams in form at Fields Ferry

    Even in wet and muddy conditions, both the Dalton High School boys and girls golf teams are sharpening their games at the right time.
    With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled in two weeks, both the Catamounts and the Lady Cats finished second during play at the Fields Ferry Invitational in Calhoun on Monday. Despite the soggy conditions, Dalton’s Jacob Brown tied for medalist honors with a 2-over par 74 to lead the Cats to a 313 combined score in the six-play, four-score format. Dalton finished three strokes behind tournament winner LaFayette.

    April 8, 2014

  • Prep Roundup: Behr finds his stroke in Vidalia

    Dalton High School golfer Allen Behr shot a 3-under-par 69 during the second day of the Indian Invitational in Vidalia to lead the Catamounts to a top-10 finish in the event Saturday.

    April 6, 2014

  • chs v mount pisgah baseball2.jpg What they’re looking for

    The problems that have been plaguing Christian Heritage School’s baseball team finally plagued the other team.
    The Lions took advantage of three crucial Mount Pisgah Christian errors, and the visiting Patriots couldn’t get the timely hit when they needed it as the Lions took a much-needed 5-3 win Monday night.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep roundup: SE offense keeps foot on throttle

    As long as Southeast Whitfield High School’s baseball team continues to hit the ball and score runs the way it has so far this season, it really won’t matter what the defense does.
    Coach Brad Lofton still likes how the Raiders’ fielding is improving.

    March 11, 2014

  • NM at DHS baseball   1  mlh.jpg Prep Roundup: A little bit of momentum

    Neither Dalton High School baseball coach Shane Ramsey nor North Murray coach David Redmond has had much reason to complain about their offensive production this season.
    Defense is another matter.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Colts sweep Warriors

    Martin Garcia had a goal and two assists to help lead Coahulla Creek’s boys soccer team to a 7-1 victory in Region 5-3A play Thursday night at Gordon Central.

    February 20, 2014

  • Weather still shuffling schedules

    The Region 7-4A high school basketball tournaments were pushed back to a Friday start on Tuesday.
    Region 7-2A followed suit Wednesday, but Region 5-3A is still up in the air for playing games today.

    February 13, 2014

  • Region tourney basketball games called off for Monday

    The Region 6-A, 7-2A and Region 7-4A high school basketball tournament games have been called off today due to the threat of bad weather and dangerous travel conditions. Games scheduled for today in regions 7-2A and 7-4A will be played Tuesday, weather permitting.
    Region 6-A takes a whole different look.

    February 10, 2014