By Adolphus Ames —
When University of Maryland Eastern Shore graduate John Mark Killmon returns in the spring to Nandua High School’s baseball field, it will be as an assistant coach.
“It’s very exciting to assist the coaches and team I used to play for,” he said.
Since he last played for Nandua, he distinguished himself on the field as a pitcher for the UMES Hawks baseball team.
He also distinguished himself in the classroom. Killmon was an All-Academic selection for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Killmon, son of John Sr. and Pamela Killmon of Modest Town, played multiple positions when he was a member of Nandua’s varsity baseball team.
“I was mainly a middle infielder and catcher,” he said.
Killmon became a pitcher when he took his baseball career to the collegiate level.
“I played second base at first and then they transitioned me into a pitcher in the fall of my freshman year,” he said.
“I spent a lot of time learning the proper mechanics. It was rough my freshman year and my stats showed it.”
Killmon got progressively better on the mound each year. Unfortunately, during his sophomore year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and baseball season got cancelled.
“As a team, we were really good that year, too,” he said. “My junior year was also lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of my teammates transferred after that. We lost a lot of key pieces.”
The team bounced back Killmon’s senior year and tied the program record in wins.
He had one of his best seasons statistically that year, with a .87 ERA through 10.1 innings pitched. He allowed just two hits and struck out 10 batters.
His senior season ended early because of a shoulder injury.
In addition to his coaching, Killmon will also help students off the field when he returns to Nandua. He graduated from UMES with a degree in exercise science with a concentration in health and fitness, and will be a physical education teacher.
Killmon is drawn to the competitive nature and uniqueness of baseball.
“You can’t run the clock out,” he said. “You have to throw the ball to the other team. That’s what I love so much about it.”
He first fell in love with the ballpark at 4 years old when he began playing T-ball. Afterward, he played Little League and summer baseball every year.
As he prepares to embark on the next phase of his athletic career, Killmon reflected on a path that has him returning to his high school.
“Luke Brankley was my coach when I played at Nandua,” he said. “He’s a baseball genius and taught me a lot. I’m glad I get to help him and the next generation of baseball players.
“I’m also excited to serve as a fitness resource for the kids and teach them how to stay active, train, and what kinds of foods to eat.”
The writer covers sports for the Eastern Shore Post. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org