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Chattanooga Christian's John Rhodes pitches in relief against Christ Presbyterian Academy in their Division II-A state tournament first-round game Friday. Rhodes had an RBI double for the host Chargers, but they lost 5-1.

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CCS baseball

If the end of each day does not end with hitting a baseball, John Rhodes believes it is not a complete day.

While the Chattanooga Christian School senior and Division II-A Mr. Baseball finalist may have played his last high school out, Rhodes' legacy has just begun.

"John is without a doubt the best player CCS has ever had," Chargers coach Ben Wharton said Friday. "I will be shocked if he doesn't win Mr. Baseball this year. He is incredibly talented, but he works incredibly hard, too. God gave him a special gift, which he has developed to become a really special player."

In Friday's 5-1 home loss to Christ Presbyterian Academy in the first round of the state playoffs, the Chargers' lone hit was an RBI double by Rhodes.

The Kentucky signee also pitched two perfect innings with a diving curve and a lively fastball. The center fielder by trade struck out four batters.

"I learned as a freshman that I loved the process," Rhodes said. "Going out there when no one else was and getting after it. I just love the game of baseball and pour my heart into it."

The No. 3 batter for CCS (18-12) finished with a .560 batting average (42-of-75), 10 doubles, 12 home runs, 43 RBIs, 51 runs, 17 stolen bases and 34 walks in just 30 games. Rhodes also struck out 30 batters over 13 2/3 innings and recorded four saves.

The three-sport athlete still has a chance for a state championship in track and field at the upcoming Spring Fling. His long jump of 21 feet, 11 inches is a school record.

Beating Silverdale Baptist Academy twice in a row for the district baseball championship last season after losing to the Seahawks all three times in the regular season will stick with him and many.

"The energy and celebration we had after beating Silverdale for the district title is still unforgettable," Rhodes said. "We all shot for the same goal and fed off each other. I will remember the things we accomplished as a team more than my personal achievements."

Senior left-hander Tanner Morgan for CPA (34-5) was nearly perfect as the recent Carson-Newman signee deftly mixed his darting fastball and tight slider. Morgan did not walk a batter and struck out seven in an 86-pitch gem.

After an error, Rhodes pulled a screaming line drive down the third-base line to score Chase McBryar all the way from first to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth.

The Lions followed with a three-run fifth highlighted by a towering two-run home run by catcher Knox Preston to create plenty of comfort room.

Averaging 21 wins per season over the past four years, CCS hopes to build on that success.

"I hope our seniors go on and push each other to Christ and hold each other accountable," Wharton said. "I want them to become leaders, great husbands and fathers. The records, statistics and scores you forget after a while. What's left is a legacy."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

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