Clewiston High School senior Steven McKown Jr. received a life-changing email on Tuesday, Jan. 6 from Southwest Tennessee Community College, inviting the student to not only attend school but play baseball on a full scholarship at the college.
“All the pressure was just gone,” said McKown on Thursday, Jan. 8., as friends, family, teammates and coaches gathered to watch the senior officially sign his contract with Southwest Tennessee.
McKown said he has been playing baseball since he could walk and is happy the worry about where he would play ball in college has given way to a feeling of relaxation. “I can just relax and have fun the rest of the year,” said McKown.
McKown’s favorite part about the sport is having fun, day in and day out with teammates and the feeling of playing underneath the lights.
McKown’s coach, Skip Crawford, said McKown has worked hard his entire high school career to make it to where he is today.
“The ones who move on [to the college level] are usually the first to practice and the last to leave. They put in the extra work. Steve certainly did,” said Coach Crawford.
McKown not only played baseball at the high school level at Clewiston High, but also played fall and summer ball with Elev8 Sports out of Delray Beach, under the direction of Coach Todd Moser.
McKown’s father, Steven Sr., has also coached his son at various points, as well.
“We’re very, very proud,” said McKown Sr. of his son’s signing. “It’s been a long time coming and a product of many years of hard work. … He made a lot of sacrifices to make this happen.”
Some of those sacrifices included missing out on high school milestones, such as homecoming. But seeing his entire family together — which includes mother Amy, sisters Nicki and Sara, and brother Walter — along with his dad, coaches and teammates at the signing of a full baseball scholarship with a college in Tennessee, it seems those sacrifices were worth what they brought in the end.
“To see him fulfill something he has been working to do since he was little — I’m very excited,” said Amy. Mrs. McKown said she was also happy that her son would be getting an education while doing what he loves.
As they watched their son take photographs to document the important day, parents Steven and Amy joked that they have already looked up flights to visit their son in Tennessee.