A few years ago, Matthew McKeag was playing baseball in Germany. He’s also given his glove and bat a serious workout in South Korea and stateside in St. Louis and San Diego.
McKeag’s dad is in the Navy, so his family has moved around some and lived on air bases, including one in Okinawa, Japan, where Matthew was born.
It’s in Kirkland, however, where the family has spent the most time and Matthew is glad to be back and playing for Juanita High the last two years.
“I just wanted to get back here and play some ball with my guys,” said the Rebel junior first and third baseman, who knocked two hits for one RBI in a 6-4 win over Liberty on March 27 to even his team’s 3A KingCo record at 1-1 (3-6 overall) at press time.
McKeag enjoys being a part of the Juanita program and experiencing the camaraderie with his longtime friends from Kirkland National Little League, where they began playing together at age 9.
“It’s just the friendships that I’ve built with all these guys and I think it’s something just about baseball that I just love — I can’t stop playing it,” said McKeag, who moved to Kirkland from Japan in first grade and relocated to Germany after sixth grade.
The crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd — especially under the lights at Lee Johnson Field — are what drives him on the diamond.
Aside from playing ball in Kirkland, McKeag said that the games in southwestern Germany (on the Ramstein Air Base) and around Europe with players from different backgrounds were his favorite experiences.
The Reporter asked McKeag a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into this life:
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
“Remember the Titans.”
What’s your favorite kind of music?
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Ethan Happ who plays basketball for the Wisconsin Badgers. They’re my favorite team and I’d just love to talk to him.
What makes a good baseball player?
You definitely need to be able to stick with the sport. You make an error, you gotta stick with it. Just to persevere when things get tough, you just gotta fight through it.
What special skill would you like to learn?
I used to play the trumpet when I was in middle school, but I stopped playing it once I got to high school. Maybe try to re-learn that because I thought it was fun.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
All my coaches tell me this, just never give up. It applies with life, not just sports.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m gonna try to get into the University of Wisconsin, that’s been my dream school ever since I’ve been little (his dad grew up in Wisconsin and went to college there and they visit there in the winter). From then on, wherever life takes me.