Throughout the year and especially in the postseason, Greenbrier High School senior Chris Michals has been the pitcher’s best friend.
To Wolfpack pitchers, that is. Michals has played a near-flawless center field and has been giving opposing pitchers fits. His power surge has helped propel the Wolfpack to the verge of their third consecutive Georgia High School Association state championship series.
In the GHSA Region 2-AAAAA opening series, against Northside, Michals hit the game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 3, putting the Wolfpack in the state tournament.
He has continued to hit, belting a two-run homer in a state’s second round sweep against Richmond Hill. He went off against Stephenson in the state quarterfinals, hitting three home runs in the three-game series, including a three-run shot that gave the Wolfpack a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning of Game 3 as they went on to win 8-3.
Wolfpack head coach Jason Osborn likes what he has been getting from his slugger.
“He’s kind of coming into his own and he’s starting to understand the game and understand his swing. He’s been a big-time player for us this year. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
Fear has not been part of Michals’ approach at the plate.
“I’ve got two guys in front of me that seem to be a lot of times guaranteed on base and three or four guys behind me that seem like a guarantee also, so I don’t sit there and worry at the plate,” said Michals, who is ranked fourth in the state in home runs (9) and RBI (42). “I sit there and I’m like, I’m going to hit the ball and see what happens.”
His vision at the plate helps drives his success.
“I’m seeing the ball really well,” said Michals. “Coach (Jason) Osborn has worked with me the whole season about opening up my hips and getting my hands inside of the ball. So, that always helps. I’ve been seeing the ball really well, so when you can see it, you can hit it.”
Before baseball season, Michals finished playing football for the Wolfpack where he was a wide receiver and safety. The time spent away initially put some rust on his game.
“That was six months of behind that I got,” Michals said. “Cause when football ended I went to baseball camps and showcases and stuff and those dudes had been playing all summer, so I had a hard time keeping up with them.”
But he doesn’t have any regrets about playing football.
“Football was fun,” Michals said. “Even though we didn’t do too well, it was a whole lot of fun. I mean you’ve got 60 guys to talk to after school every day. I enjoyed that a lot.”
That social aspect carries over to baseball as well.
“Winning games is great, but the four or five days of practice before that are just as fun,” Michals said. “Have a good time in practice, work hard and get better and goof off, it’s pretty awesome.”
And he spends time working on all facets of the game.
“Standing in the outfield and someone hits the ball, and you’re like that’s me right there, I’m going to go get that. If it’s in the gap, just chasing it down and catching it–give me some of that right there. You just showed the batter up. You get a hit off the pitcher and it’s the mentality of you can’t beat me. I just like everything about baseball. What isn’t there to like about it?”