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‘They were all no-doubters’: Slippery Rock youth baseball player blasts 6 homers in one weekend

Liam Johnson, 12, of Slippery Rock, goes through a training drill. Liam hit six home runs and collected 20 RBI last weekend. Submitted Photo

SLIPPERY ROCK — Six home runs and 20 RBI would represent a solid Little League career for almost anybody.

How about doing it all in one weekend?

Liam Johnson, 12, of Slippery Rock completed such a feat last weekend. He hit two home runs in a Slippery Rock Little League game on Friday, then hit two more Saturday and another two Sunday for his travel all-star team.

“They were all no-doubters,” said Mike Johnson, Liam’s father and coach. “Liam has been a pull-hitter and I’ve been trying to get him to use all fields. One of his home runs went to right field, two to center and three to left.

“That was nice to see.”

A right-handed hitter, Liam stands 5-foot-3 and weighs 140 pounds. He is hitting .500 on the season with nine home runs.

“There were runners on base for each of those home runs,” Liam said. “All I wanted to do was hit the ball hard, get it into the outfield and get those RBI. I just wanted to help my team win.

“I hit the balls in the air and they just kept on going.”

Prior to this season, Liam had not hit a home run since he was 8 years old. He belted two that season. He’s been playing baseball since he was 4.

“He’s always hit the ball hard, but they were either on the ground or line drives,” his father said. “He learned a bit and worked on launch angle last off-season and it’s made a big difference for him.”

Liam said he’s been doing agility drills as well. He has been working with 2011 Butler graduate Jace Lyon at the latter’s Pride Performance Training Center.

“He helped me with my mechanics at the plate and simplified my swing,” Liam said. “All I do is concentrate on making contact.”

Lyon is involved with coaching Liam’s travel team.

“I’ve never seen a kid have a weekend like that at the plate,” Lyon said. “That was one of those incredible, once-in-a-lifetime things. It was amazing.

“Liam out-performs his size. He has a powerful swing.”

Liam said he hit one home run because he forced the pitcher into a 3-2 count and got a pitch down the middle. He drove a couple of outside pitches over the fence the other way and recalled hitting a hanging curve ball over the fence.

Describing his son’s performance as “remarkable,” Johnson was impressed with the caliber of pitching Liam faced.

“These were all quality young pitchers he was up against,” Johnson said. “He was just locked in.”

After Liam hit his fourth home run of the weekend, some coaches and players said they would shave their heads if he hit two more. Once that happened, the coaches and a couple of players made good on that promise.

Johnson has two other sons, Miles, 14, and Graham, 9. Both play ball in the Slippery Rock Baseball Association as well.

Johnson said Liam and himself are grateful for all of the coaches who have helped him and teammates who have encouraged him.

“Ultimately, it’s a team game,” he said. “(Liam) cares about winning and not his individual performance.”

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