Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
BAINBRIDGE — When Macky McDonald steps to the plate, by the simple eye test, you can tell he’s on another level than most of his peers.
McDonald, taking a deep breath, puts immense focus into each at-bat … as if every at-bat comes with the game on the line in the bottom of the ninth inning. More often than not, he makes solid contact, meets the ball with the bat’s barrel, and finds green grass with room to run.
It’s something Paint Valley fans have become used to seeing.
However, McDonald’s time as a Bearcat has come to an end … although he’ll still have paws in the next chapter of his baseball career.
Back in November, McDonald decided to continue that career at Shawnee State University.
“I just liked the campus and how it is,” McDonald said. “It makes me feel like I’m at home. It’s not that far away, I can always come back home when I need to, and I feel like I’m a good enough athlete to where I can start right away.”
His senior year numbers would definitely support that claim.
McDonald helped the Bearcats finish 18-11 overall while hitting .404 alongside, seven doubles, five triples, three homers, 18 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
He was a first-team all-Southeast District honoree as well as a first-team all-SVC selection.
“Paint Valley will always have a place in my heart for sure,” McDonald said. “I will always go back and give my dues to the program. [Paint Valley] Coach [Shayne] Combs has always been there for me, he’s always put me in the right spot to be successful, and my teammates have always been supportive.”
McDonald will now play for Shawnee State coach Philip Butler, who will be entering his second year at the helm of the program. As a player, Butler was a two-time All-American at SSU. This past spring, he guided the Bears to a 17-24 overall record … three games better than the team’s mark in 2018.
While he plans to be a Physical Therapy major in the classroom, McDonald will serve as a utility player on the diamond.
“[Butler] is a nice guy. He contacted me by email and we just started talking from there,” McDonald said. “I ended up having a visit down there and everything just went from there.”
As McDonald mentioned, upon his arrival on campus, he always has a chance to have a slice of home nearby. His family has been supportive since the start of his baseball-playing days … a time in his life he never imagined until they actually happened.
“My parents have always been supportive of what I do and they’ve always made sure I’ve put education first,” McDonald said. “At first, it was football and then in junior high, it surprised me that I was a lot better at baseball. But through it all, they’ve always been supportive.”
Shawnee State is scheduled to begin their next baseball season in early February. For McDonald, that part of winter can’t come soon enough.
“I think I can make an immediate impact,” McDonald said. “I’m excited to get there and to get started.”