Micah McCulley, the wins leader last season for McPherson High’s state runner-up baseball team, signed a letter of intent on Friday with Dodge City Community College, coached by former Wichita State All-American and major leaguer Phil Stephenson.
The Conqs are one of the top juco programs not just in Kansas, but the country. Thirteen of their players off last year's regional championship team moved on, including five to the NCAA Division I level, according to the school's website.
The 6-1 and 200-pound right-hander was 7-3 for the Bullpups last season with a 2.62 ERA. He pitched in 10 games, working 40 innings. He walked 29 and struck out 34.
McCulley’s high-water mark last season was the first round of the state tournament when he pitched the Bullpups past Ottawa in a dominating performance, 4-0.
"When I took a visit there, the coaches really showed me around, like all of them came. It was like a family," McCulley said. He added he was impressed with the facilities as Dodge recently put in an artificial surface.
McCulley has been hard at work in preparation for the upcoming season.
"I just need to get stronger and faster," he said. "Hopefully I'll get to play shortstop or somewhere on the infield (when he's not pitching). I've been working a whole bunch during the offseason."
McCulley's athleticism also would make him a candidate to play the outfield and his versatility no doubt attracted the Dodge City coaching staff to him.
"I'm hoping to get back to state and hopefully we can win it this time," McCulley said. "If we just put our hard work in like last year hopefully we'll be right back up there and maybe we can win it this time. We've got a good group of guys. Each time we would get down, we would pick each other up."
MHS coach Heath Gerstner said McCulley made major strides during his junior season as he finished with a rush.
“For me, I have only coached Micah for one season and seen Micah come a long way,” Gerstner said. “I tell the guys all the time that the journey is the reward. His maturity has really come along and I’ve seen him really try to buy into the process. This idea of process comes easier for some than others, but I truly appreciate his desire to get better every single day."
Gerstner is looking forward to seeing what McCulley produces in his final season.
“My expectations for Micah this spring are very high,” Gerstner said. “Obviously we want him to be a staple on our pitching staff and we want to see him be more consistent. He had outings last year where he looked like an All-State pitcher, but we want to put together outings like that all season. I want to really challenge him to be an all-around player and help us at the plate and defensively as well. He has all the tools and athleticism to really be great, but consistency has held him back a bit at times. I know talking to him that he is excited for the spring and my hope is that he plans to do whatever needed to help this team reach its team goals."
McCulley plans on majoring in kinesiology.