Strong Rock Christian School’s loss is Fort Valley State University’s gain as Hampton resident Jekhi Swanson, 17, prepares to trade in his No. 4 baseball jersey for a lab coat.

The owner of a 3.5 grade point average helped the Patriots to a record-breaking year, racking up a 23-10 season.

Swanson finished his career by batting .260 with an on base percentage of .345, six RBIs, eight stolen bases and two doubles.

Coach and high school Assistant Principal Toby Evans called him “a hard-working young man” who takes pride in his efforts in the field and in the classroom.

“He has a work ethic that is second to none and a determination to see things through,” Evans said.

There were some good times along with the toil, Swanson said, like the Locust Grove school’s senior retreat at Camp Rock in Valdosta in August.

“It’s a chance to talk to some classmates you may have never talked to and play different games like ultimate Frisbee and kickball,” Swanson said.

More bonding occurred during the school’s mini-mester the week before spring break.

“I got to go out of state with the baseball team and play some games and have fun at Disney World,” Swanson said.

The refresh may have helped the Patriots power their way into the Georgia High School Association playoffs’ Sweet 16.

It was, according to Swanson, part of the memories he will miss, along with his friends.

To them and the teammates and underclassmen he leaves behind, he imparts advice that has worked for him.

“Don’t stress about everything,” Swanson said. “Stay calm and don’t procrastinate.”

His new endeavor may benefit from that guidance.

“I want to major in animal science and become a veterinarian because I’ve always had a love for animals since I was young,” Swanson said. “I live on a farm and I love playing with all of the animals and seeing them healthy.”

Swanson attributes his parents Wayne and Charmaine Swanson of grass-fed beef provider Swanson Family Farm with his success.

Evans said it will continue.

“Jekhi will be successful in anything that he does because of his hard work and determination to see things through to the end,” he said.

Evans said the senior and future Wildcat has a bright future.

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