Calvary Baptist pitcher Marcus McKoy is WSSU-bound

Calvary Baptist pitcher Marcus McKoy is  WSSU-bound
May 28
00:00 2015

In photo above: Marcus McKoy made the All-State team as a senior at Calvary Baptist Day School. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

When Marcus McKoy of Cavalry Baptist Day School is on the mound, he’s difficult to read. It doesn’t matter if he’s facing a batter with the bases empty or with the bases loaded. He’s stone-faced all the time. There’s never the slightest hint of anxiety or nervousness on his part. Being unflappable seems to be a trademark trait.

“Marcus has the ability to keep a clear head and focus on the task at hand,” said Coach Chris Vogler of Calvary Baptist. “He keeps his emotions under wraps and doesn’t get rattled. Any time he’s faced adversity, he’s always battled through it.”

Over the past two seasons, McKoy, a left-hander, has proven himself as one of the elites in private school baseball. In his final season with Calvary, McKoy posted a 5-4 record with 75 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.32 in 47 innings pitched. Along the way, McKoy threw three complete games which included a no-hitter in a 12-0 win against defending (NCISAA 1-A) state champ Freedom Christian Academy.

“Our defense gave me a lot of help that day,” said McKoy, who will graduate on Friday (May 29) with a 3.4 grade-point average. “As for me, consistency was the difference. All game long I was able to hit the corners with my fast ball.”

At 6-feet-3, 205 pounds, McKoy is a formidable presence. Although he has ample velocity (fast ball clocked in the low 80s), he’s not strictly a power pitcher. McKoy is at his best when he’s mixing speeds and throwing accurately to different parts of the plate. His repertoire includes a two-seam and four-seam fast ball, along with a fork ball change-up and a knuckle curve that keeps opposing hitters off balance.

“My control is better than what it used to be,” he said. “More than anything, I try to be consistent with my throwing mechanics. When I’m out there, it’s all about staying relaxed and trusting in my ability to get people out.”

While McKoy is primarily a pitcher, he’s skilled enough to be an every day player. On those occasions when he didn’t pitch, he played first base. During the season, McKoy, who bats from the right side, hit .314 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.

It’s been a fruitful season for McKoy, an All-State pitcher and two-time all-league pick in the PACIS 2-A Conference. McKoy attracted much interest from college scouts and he recently chose Winston-Salem State over Wake Forest, UNC, East Carolina, Elon, N.C. A&T, UNC Asheville and UNCG.

“There were several factors I looked at in my decision to sign with the Rams,” he said. “I can stay at home and play college ball, plus the coaches really wanted me. Not only that, but they have a great place to play (BB&T Ball Park, home of the Winston-Salem Dash).”

The baseball transition from high school to college has already started for McKoy. From late May through late July, he’ll play with the Thomasville-based HT Locos, a developmental wood-bat summer team made up of college players. Coach Kevin Ritsche of WSSU is confident that McKoy will make an impact in his rookie year of college ball.

“Marcus is a talented competitor with tremendous up-side,” said Ritsche, whose team fell two games short of advancing to this year’s Division II College World Series. “He’s got size and is very athletic. I see him coming in and contributing right away as a pitcher and at other positions.”

McKoy’s high school career was nearly derailed before it ever started. He missed two full seasons at West Forsyth because of injuries. As a freshman, he suffered a concussion when he was hit in the eye by a baseball during pre-game warm-ups. The aftermath of the injury was so severe that he was forced to sit out the entire season.

A year later, during an early-season game, McKoy broke his leg in two places after sliding into home plate from third base. This was another confidence-crushing injury, another disappointing ending.

McKoy transferred to Mount Tabor, hoping to get playing time. The Spartans had a deep roster and as a result, he would have to wait for an opportunity, which never materialized that year.

Rather than staying at Mount Tabor for what would’ve been his senior year, McKoy opted to attend Calvary and reclassify. By doing so, he was granted an added year of eligibility which mean he could play for two years.

“Making that move was the most memorable thing that happened for me in high school,” said McKoy. “I finally got in a situation where I could play as much as I wanted. That gave me the opportunity to show what I could do.

“I always looked at those injuries at minor setbacks. It challenged my mental toughness. But I have such a love for the game and I wanted to play in college. That’s why I kept coming back.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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