COAL CITY, WV (WOAY) – Independence senior Michael McKinney excelled on the diamond in multiple ways this past week.
Back on April 4, the shortstop hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in the Patriots’ win at Shady Spring. Two nights later at Bluefield, he scored one run and brought in another. On Monday, he scored four runs against Oak Hill and collected the win as starting pitcher. That included five strikeouts.
McKinney says there have been multiple reasons for his success, including the fact that he can enjoy his senior season, having already signed with perennial baseball powerhouse NC State. He’s also motivated by the fact that this year is much closer to normal, compared to how COVID-19 has affected the last two years.
“When COVID hit, it was just really depressing, nobody got to play or anything. It messed us up last year a little bit, too. This year is just free game and just fun being out here,” the senior explained.
“[Monday] was definitely one of those days, I had a good day that day, just feeling good. The ball was coming off the barrel real nice. We did our job and hopefully proved to people that we can beat teams.”
McKinney continued, “It’s definitely good to see us keep rolling. Everybody’s doing good, Elijah’s doing really well. I have a lot more fun with it than I would’ve. Keep seeing the ball. Keep having the same approach. Don’t get too ahead of myself with bad swings, stay in the middle. We’re ready.”