PARK HILLS – Among the key changes to the Mineral Area baseball team this season was the defensive switch from middle infielder to catcher by returning sophomore Liam Hicks.
But the increased production of his bat also made a significant difference for the Cardinals, who gained early national attention for their power numbers through the first three weeks.
Mineral Area led the NJCAA Division I in home runs at that juncture after the Toronto native went deep three times and drove in 11 runs during a three-game road sweep of Nunez College.
Hicks continued to offer a dangerous threat from the No. 2 spot in the order throughout a stellar season, and was recognized earlier this week with All-American Honorable Mention.
He clubbed a team-high 14 home runs and notched 56 RBI with 59 runs scored in 49 games. Defensively, Hicks caught 13 potential runners stealing.
Hicks bumped his batting average from .370 as a freshman to .440 during his second collegiate campaign while doubling his season home run total.
The Region 16 Player of the Year compiled six three-hit games, including a 4-for-4 performance in a road victory at Shawnee, and has since signed with Arkansas State.
Mineral Area posted a 32-17 overall record.