Every Thursday, the 13WMAZ Sports team turns their spotlight on a central Georgia student-athlete who shines on and off of their field of play. This week, meet a baseball player who is striking batters out on the diamond and hitting home runs in the classroom. His name is Leyton Pinckney and he is our Athlete of the Week.
Most players let their game do the talking for them, but when Pinckney is on the diamond, talking is part of his game.
"Of course I am a talker," Pinckney said. "That's what I am going to do. I am going to talk everything up. I do like to keep the mojo up no matter what the situation is, whether we are up by five or down by five. I also just like to motivate the way that I have my energy that I bring to practice and let it be infectious to our team so they can build off my energy and everybody else. "
And there's a lot of energy bottled up in the 6'3", 220 lb. junior, which is exactly what you want from your three hole hitter..
"As a power hitter, at any time I can change the game and that is something I take pride on," Pinckney said.
This year Pinckney has pushed in close to 30 runs for the Warhawks, and he attributes that success to the new approach he is taking at the dish.
"A lot of times there were a lot of pitches I would take in the past I probably couldn't hit that ball out of the ball park so I would take it," Pinckney said. "But now a runner on third base, if I can hit a ground ball to second baseman I'm going to do it, because I know we will get that run in if we do that . My average hasn't been as high in the past, but my RBI has been double."
Pinckney has also developed a strong arm which allows him to rifle throws to second as the catcher and strike out batters from the mound as a pitcher. But, he is also bringing the heat in the classroom boasting a 3.8 GPA.
"Academics will always come first because someday I'm going to have to hang up the cleats and when I do I've got to have something else I've got to do," Pinkney said.
The cleats won't be grabbing dust anytime soon, Pinckney is verbally committed to play baseball at Mercer when he graduates next year, but will pursue a business degree in hopes to become a sports agent.
"A lot of guys think, I'm a good baseball player, but that's good and all but you need to be a complete baseball player," Veterans head coach David Coffey said. "Leyton shows that part of being a complete baseball player is academics, athletics, and being a well rounded person and he does that amazingly."
Pinckney will get a head start with some of his college classes as he plans to dual enroll at Middle Georgia State University during his senior year.