Khaleel Pratt is a 15-year-old student athlete at Greenbrier High School. He plays varsity basketball and junior varsity baseball while continuing to maintain a 4.86 GPA. He is a member of the Columbia Chapter of the Kappa League, a youth social action/community service organization under the direction of the Columbia Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated. He enjoys time with family and friends and playing video games. Khaleel aspires to become an orthopedic doctor.
When did your interest in baseball start?
My parents tell me that I began playing tee ball at 3 years old, but I remember taking the game seriously when I was 7 years old. That’s the year I became a player on a travel baseball team.
Who do you think is the GOAT in baseball and why?
I think Barry Bonds is definitely the GOAT. He could do it all. He hit for power while maintaining a very high average. He was fast, stole bases, and was a stellar defender with a big arm. He’s the most featured hitter of the game by far!
What is your proudest moment or memory in the sport?
I’d have to say that was when I was 11. I played in a Perfect Game Showcase (PG Series) in Fort Myers, FL. I played with and against some of the best kids in the US and Puerto Rico. I won the MVP award for the East Coast team of the showcase.
What coach or person has been your greatest mentor?
I’ve had many great coaches and mentors, but I’d have to say that my greatest mentor is my dad. He has done so much for me. From the time I was 7 and I told him I wanted him to teach me how to play until now, he still mentors me and helps me train and improve. He has been there every step of the way to push me to be the greatest I can be. I owe all my success to him because without him I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I can do. He always finds a way to keep me motivated and working hard.
What is your favorite baseball movie and why?
I’d say The Bad News Bears is probably my favorite. It is the funniest baseball movie I’ve ever seen and I like how the team is very bad to start off but ends up winning the championship.
Do you have any pre- or post-game habits or foods?
I don’t eat any junk food before games. My mom is awesome at making sure I eat proper foods to fuel and energize me. On game days I always eat a lot of fruits, whole grains and I drink a lot of water. By not eating 2 hours before games, I am able to stay agile and feel lightweight. I also nap before games to have more energy.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be competitive in baseball?
I have sacrificed a lot of free time to focus on competitive sports. There have been parties, school dances and even birthdays that I have missed to practice or play games so that I can improve. When I am practicing, I don’t have time like most of my friends to play games on PlayStation. My parents have also made sacrifices for me so I can be in competitive school programs with good coaches.
What do you find most challenging about baseball?
The hitting! Hitting is one of the hardest things to do compared to skills in other sports. Even if you hit the ball 3 times out of 10 tries for your whole career, you could become a hall-of-famer! Baseball is a game of failure. Most pros don’t have batting averages above .300. Hitting is so challenging because there are so many different pitches coming at fast speeds, all within the strike zone. The balls can have all kinds of spins and movements, and a batter must be able to recognize it right away. Even if you have a great hit from the plate, the ball can always be caught by an outfielder for an out at first base. Recognition of the pitch, a good swing and consistent line drives are the keys, I believe, for successful hitting.