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McBride focuses on the kids
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Macay McBride, former Atlanta Braves and Screven County pitcher, left, gets baseball campers in position for a turn in the batting cage Monday at the new Macay McBride Sports Academy in Statesboro. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    There is a wealth of young baseball talent in the Statesboro area, and now a former major leaguer is stepping up to help prepare tomorrow’s stars for the next level.
    Monday marked the first day of operations for the Macay McBride Sports Academy, with over 30 members toughing out the heat for top-quality instruction.
    McBride saw action for the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers in a three year major league career that saw him make 132 appearances, posting an ERA of 4.35, earning six wins, and striking out 98 batters along the way.
    Now, the former Screven County Gamecock wants to offer his services in training kids who want to improve their own game.
    “This is something that we want to offer to the community,” said McBride. “It’s a place that parents can take their kids and know that they’re getting good
instruction. We’ve got some great instructors and we’re here to help with any level of play.”
    At the academy, participants take part in learning the fundamentals of hitting and pitching, and stations are set up to include
instruction on finer points of baseball like base running and positioning on defense.
Participants that have already enrolled range in age from 6 to 16, and while the basics of the academy are similar for all ages, individual coaching for older and more advanced players is also available.
“We’ll work on specific things that we think each age group needs,” said McBride. “We can concentrate on the basic concepts with the younger kids. With the older guys, it’ll be more hands-on training.”
In addition to the specific training that McBride’s academy can offer, there will also be a less formal after-school program.
“Books and Balls” will offer students a chance to play and work on their baseball skills while also emphasizing that a good education goes hand-in-hand with success on the field.
Along with McBride, the academy has a handful of very qualified instructors.
Griffin Green holds a degree from The Citadel in kinesiology and will be able to design strength and conditioning plans for high school players.
Tyrone Mingle and Travis Moats provide a wealth of knowledge when it comes to hitting. Moats has experience with teaching kids as he is a coach at David Emanuel Academy, and Mingle brings more professional experience having played at the AAA level.
Also contributing to the academy will be former major league pitcher and current GSU coach Dennis Dove.
Together, the academy’s instructors are working to provide an environment in which young talent can reach its full potential. Every summer sees a large number of Georgia high schoolers taken in the MLB draft, and while many club teams and the East Cobb program exist for Atlanta-area players, those resources are not as prevalent for an equally
talented south Georgia.
“We want to provide a central location for qualified instruction in this area,” said McBride. “There are a lot of great high school coaches around here, but they only get to see 10 or 15 of these guys every year. Now, we have one place where people from all around can come to receive quality training.”
For everything that he hopes to help give to the players at the academy, McBride is still looking for another shot at the big leagues.
The hard-throwing lefty underwent Tommy John surgery last fall and is scheduled to begin a throwing program in September.
“It’s something I’m still looking into,” said McBride. “It’s tough to give up on that dream. Right now, I’m just waiting for my elbow to heal, but until then, I wanted to start up the academy and do what I can to help other kids with the same goals.”

Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.