Chickasaw citizen Malikhi Chapman-Talton has a simple explanation for how he earned a coveted spot on the baseball diamond in the 2019 United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) All American Games in Viera, Florida.
It’s his Chickasaw heritage.
“He says it is because he is an unconquerable Chickasaw,” said his mother, Tashina Talton.
Malikhi, originally from Tupelo, Oklahoma, began his baseball career playing t-ball at the age of three for the Tupelo Tigers. Later, he was asked to join the Ada Thunder, a highly competitive team that helped hone his skills.
Malikhi showed just how unconquerable he really was after his parents entered him in the USSSA All American team tryouts in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Determined to make the team, the 10-year-old practiced several times a week with the Thunder while putting in extra work getting ready for his tryout.
His uncle, Ray Cheatham, and friend, Yamil Rivera, helped by working with him on pitching skills.
“During the tryouts, Malikhi was nervous, but once he got onto the field he was able to just have fun,” Tashina said.
In June, Malikhi was one of only eight chosen to make the trip in a four-state region consisting of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Malikhi’s team earned 13th place in the USSSA tournament.
“Malikhi is truly a utility player and plays wherever his team needs him,” Tashina Talton said.
His passion is pitching, and it paid off with a 35-5 record for the Thunder in the team’s spring season and earned Malikhi an MVP award at a Shawnee tournament.
Baseball is not the only sport in which Malikhi’s athletic prowess shines. He also plays stickball, basketball and football. Tashina said he is very competitive and resilient for one so young.
As for the future, Malikhi already talks about the high schools and colleges where he wants to play. Malikhi wants to go pro, and his mother remarked he has enough belief in himself to actually do it.
“Malikhi lives and breathes baseball,” remarked Tashina, “He is always outside with his ball and glove.”
She thanked the local community, family and friends for the continued support of Malikhi and his love of baseball.