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franklin county times

Looking for a role model? Give Chris
Knight a try

By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
July 6, 2002
Scanning the sports scene on a Sunny Saturday while wondering whatever happened to Sweet Lou Hudson …
There are some guys in the sports world you just can't help but root for.
Their work ethic, determination to overcome the odds and refusal to quit beg you to admire them.
Chris Knight is one of those guys.
When Knight was at Lamar School he was always out at the batting cage getting in extra work, trying to get better.
There are no telling how many times he went home with sore hands from swinging that baseball bat so often. Or how many times his father Langford went home with a sore arm from throwing bucket-after-bucket of balls.
Knight was an outstanding high school player, starring as both a pitcher and a catcher for the Raiders. He was also a good football player, starting on both the offensive and defensive lines.
After graduating from Lamar he went to Meridian Community College in hopes of continuing his baseball career. He had a frustrating freshman year, playing sparingly and having perhaps his worst year ever offensively.
But, in true Chris Knight fashion, he just worked harder to improve his chances of reaching his goal, playing college baseball.
His sophomore year at MCC was much better, as he hit .329 Q fifth best on the team Q and drove in 16 runs with two homers. He also only made two errors behind the plate.
Knight got a few offers to play the following year, but nothing that really rang his bell.
So when MCC head baseball coach Russ McNickle made the move to Mississippi State to become an assistant to Ron Polk, Knight decided to follow. He walked on in the fall in hopes of making the team against tremendous odds.
When he was cut, it seemed like his fairy tale baseball ride was over.
But people who know Chris Knight, knew better.
He packed up his stuff and transferred to Mississippi College in Clinton to join the NCAA Division III program of coach Lee Kuyrkendall.
That proved to be a great decision for Knight, Kuyrkendall and the MC Choctaws.
Knight, always the battler and consummate baseball workaholic, had cut his teeth on the strong pitching that Meridian CC faced day-in-and-day-out and the top competition at Dudy Noble Field in the fall.
He feasted on what he saw when the spring began at Mississippi College.
Knight jumped out to an incredible start, establishing himself as not only the starting catcher but one of the best hitters on the team.
Knight finished his junior season with a .404 batting average Q second best on the team Q while driving in 39 runs and hitting three homers. He also had 12 doubles and 55 total hits. He was just one double off the team lead and tied for second on the squad in RBIs, while leading the Choctaws in on-base percentage (.514) and finished second in slugging percentage (.559).
To top that off, he didn't make an error in 232 chances, throwing out 10 of 19 runners attempting to steal.
Throughout his career Knight has heard all of the comments about why he won't make it at the next level Q he's not fast enough, his arm is not strong enough, he won't be able to hit better pitching.
He heard it when he left high school. He heard it when he left Meridian Community College. And he will probably hear it when he leaves Mississippi College after his senior season in 2003.
But the problem with all of that is that you can't measure what Chris Knight has with a radar gun, stat sheets or even your eyes.
How do you measure heart, guts and determination?
With results. That's how.
And Chris Knight's results speak loud and clear.