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McKee's hit parade continues in minors

May 28, 2002|BY BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Scott McKee has been a hit no matter where he's been in baseball. Actually, his ability to hit the baseball has made him a hit in baseball.

McKee has exhibited his ability to smack the spheroid effectively all along the East Coast, including a one-year stop at Shepherd College. In 2002, it's turned into an everyday job in minor league baseball with the Single-A Kannapolis Intimidators in the Chicago White Sox organization.

"It took awhile, but I just kept plugging away," said McKee, whose team just completed a three-game series against the Hagerstown Suns at Municipal Stadium. "I just hope to make a difference."

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It took tenures at two Division II colleges and a three-year stint in an independent professional league to get McKee back into what's considered baseball's mainstream talent pool.

McKee's bat has made a difference at each stop along the way. He started by making a mark in high school in Bowie, Md., before coming to Shepherd College to catch for one season and set the school record with 45 RBI and two grand slams in a season in 1996.

But his rewrite of the Shepherd record book lasted just one year.

"I transferred from Shepherd after my freshman year to go play with my brother at Mount Olive (N.C.)," McKee said. "He was a senior when I was a freshman.

"My brother made me become a switch hitter when I was in the 11th grade," McKee said. "I did it and things worked out."

McKee finished his college career with the Trojans and caught a break when a coach in the Carolina-Virginia Athletic Conference asked if he would play independent league baseball if he wasn't drafted.

The answer was obvious.

McKee spent the last three years playing for Albany-Colonie in the Northern League, where he continued his offensive success.

"My first year I hit in the .290s and the second, I was second in the league in hitting," he said. "Last year, I hit .320. I was an all-star the last two years."

In the off-season, McKee's agent got the White Sox to take a chance. But in the process, the Chicago organization turned the catcher into a first baseman.

"The transition hasn't been hard, but when you play there, the ball seems to find you all the time," McKee said. "When you are over there, you start learning new things about the game. I'm still a catcher at heart. I'm used to getting dirty and sweaty all the time."

McKee has held his own with the Intimidators, but hasn't quite hit the groove he enjoyed in the Northern League. He is hitting .273 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 144 at-bats.

"I'm not struggling, but I'm not hitting the way I'd like to," McKee said. "They tell me that players go through that from time to time. I'm just trying to come in, work hard and do my job. I'm taking everything all in stride."

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