Batesville’s Coach Mac notches another title

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Batesville native Chris McMinn last week collected his 12th state championship as head coach of the Magnolia Heights School baseball Chiefs, and his 9th in the past 11 seasons.

McMinn, who starred on the diamond for the South Panola Tigers in high school, later played at Delta State University where he also earned an education degree.

The son of former SP coach Ronald McMinn and Becky McMinn, he was also recently inducted into the SP Hall of Fame.

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McMinn – “Coach Mac” to most who know him – has built one of the nation’s leading high school baseball programs at the small college preparatory school in Senatobia. Many Panola County students attend the school in neighboring Tate County.

The Chiefs finished the season 34-4 en route to their third consecutive MAIS AAAA state title.

The team claimed the title in convincing fashion, short gaming Hartfield Academy (Flowood) 11-1 at Magnolia Heights and 10-2 the next day on the road.

In the state playoffs, the Chiefs outscored Lamar School (Meridian), Bayou Academy (Cleveland), and Starkville Academy 96-13.

In the state championship series Magnolia hitters torched Hartfield’s pitching for 25 hits (three home runs) while Chief pitchers allowed just eight hits in two complete games performances.

McMinn struggles each season to find teams willingly to play the Chiefs, and the 2021 season was no different. To help fill a schedule before district games started, Magnolia Heights traveled to five states to play games, competing with teams from eight states.

The Chiefs traveled to Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. On the trips they picked up quality wins against Sweets Baseball “Draft House”, Team Colorado, Midland Christian, Jonesboro High School, Kennett (MO) HIgh School, Covington High, and Munford (TN) High.

McMinn’s squad picked up quality in-state wins against Jackson Prep (the 5A state champions), Starkville Academy, Marshall Academy (3A state runner-up), and Hartfield.

The Chiefs lost just four games – one each in Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona.

McMinn’s program is not just a consistent winner, it also sends players to play at colleges and universities across the country because he has given them national exposure by playing the best teams in the nation, and traveling thousands of miles each spring to do so.

This year’s starters included four seniors, four sophomores, and one junior.

Chiefs players committed to play college baseball include seniors Colin Reuter and Ozzie Pratt, heading to BYU, senior Eli Selby going to Niagra University (New York), senior C.J. Lofton going to Northwest Community College, and sophomore Cooper Pratt at Ole Miss.