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Wilmington native KJ McAllister gets in a groove late in baseball career


Wilmington native and Limestone College shortstop KJ McAllister. (Photo by Submitted photo)



By Evan Edwards

Sports@StarNewsOnline.com

 

Sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what an athlete needs to take his or her game to the next level. KJ McAllister of Limestone College found great success on the baseball field after moving out of Wilmington.

"Georgia is one of the top five baseball states in the country," said McAllister, the senior captain and starting shortstop for Limestone College. "At that point, I was trying to get my recruiting going. You know, everyone wants to go play Division I college baseball. My parents and my family thought it would be a real good move for me to go to a competitive state and play competitive baseball."

McAllister played shortstop at New Hanover High School as a freshman before moving to Georgia.

"In Wilmington, I was getting letters from schools but they weren't really the schools I was looking for," McAllister said. "Once I made the move to Georgia, the big colleges started coming in."

McAllister went to Coastal Carolina for one season, but played sparingly because of injuries. He decided to transfer to Division II Limestone, located in Gaffney, S.C., and had a solid sophomore year, but burst through as a junior in 2013. 

"Finally, everything came together. I felt confident. I feel like I have been moving around all my life," McAllister said. "I played my sophomore year at Limestone, and then was finally coming back to the same place I had been at. I think that really helped me." 

During his breakout year, McAllister started in all 47 games and became the eighth player in program history to bat .400 or above in a season. McAllister led the Conference Carolinas in hits (76) and finished with a .404 batting average.

McAllister also recorded team highs with 14 doubles, five triples, 26 walks, 14 stolen bases, 43 runs scored, and a .482 on-base percentage.

"I really take it personally," "All the work I put in – I take it really serious. I try not to waste any at bats. Every time I show up, I want to be the best hitter on the field."

Now, just over a week into his senior season, McAllister hopes for a final successful season to help with his ultimate goal of playing Major League Baseball. 

"We had scouts at the school this past fall, and I had like seven or eight teams that gave me some questionnaires," McAllister said. "I had guys that would text or call me and ask how the seasons going. The thing is, I take it with a grain of salt. It's not official until you sign the dotted lines, so I've got to keep working."