Wilson wows with big week
By Matt Betts
Canadian Baseball Network
Hitting a baseball is tough.
Canisius College third baseman Liam Wilson made it look easy during a standout week for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate League.
Wilson was named PGCBL Co-Player of the Week for Week 3 of the season and Collegiate Summer Baseball National Hitter of the Week. To earn the honours, Wilson went a sizzling 11-for-19 with five doubles, two home runs and an impressive 1.158 slugging percentage.
Like good hitters do, he pounded mistakes.
“During my big week I was very locked in at the plate and every time a pitcher made a mistake, I made sure to capitalize on it,” Wilson (Ayr, Ont.) said. “I kept things simple and had the objective of looking for pitches which I could drive and made the most of them when they showed up.”
Wilson is having fun donning the Mohawk jersey, the same jersey Toronto Blue Jay catcher Luke Maile once wore. Wilson continues to look forward to and focus on what he needs to work on as the summer continues.
“My summer ball experience so far has been very fun and enjoyable,” he said. “I’m hoping to win a championship this summer and also work on consistently driving baseballs.”
He continued his good play by hitting a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Mohawks a 5-4 win over Saugerties in a game on July 8th. Wilson currently leads the team in average, hitting at a .407 clip in 26 games. He also has six home runs and 29 RBIs. The Mohawks have won 17 of their last 18 contests.
Last season the infielder suited up for the Hamilton Cardinals of the Intercounty Baseball League where he hit .271 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in an abbreviated 15 games during regular season play. He ended the summer hitting .444 in four playoff games.
In 2015 he was a runner up for the Brian Kerr Memorial Trophy handed out to the IBL’s top rookie.
For Wilson, who also enjoys history, the outdoors, hockey and dogs, baseball has been a part of his life ever since he can remember. It was a game he grew up around.
“I was raised in a household where everyone was crazy about baseball,” he said. “From a young age, there was always something baseball related going on for me to learn from or partake in.”
The former Ontario Terrier points to former coach Scott VandeValk as a coach who has had a huge impact on his career.
“From a young age I received great coaching and that has continued throughout my career while playing for the Terriers, Northeastern Junior College and now at Canisius College,” he said. “The coach that has had the biggest impact on me, other than my father, is Scott VandeValk. While playing for him I learned to play with confidence and passion.”
The support of his family has helped Wilson both on and off the field. The ability to deal with the ebb and flow of the game of baseball has been a learning experience, something that playing at Canisius College has taught him.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned so far while playing at Canisius is how to handle the ups and downs of a long season.”
During the 2017 season for Canisius he was second on the team in average, hitting .343. That was second only to fellow countryman and recent Oakland Athletics draft pick Jake Lumley (Windsor, Ont.). He also hit three home runs and drove in 38. He owned a .422 on-base percentage and a .505 slugging percentage.
The opportunity and decision to play for Amsterdam was helped by the fact other Canisius players have done the same. Wilson has clear goals as he works his way through the summer and into the fall for his redshirt senior season for the Golden Griffins.
“My goals in baseball are to win a conference championship next year with Canisius and also to play professionally,” he said. “I need to get stronger and work on my consistency at the plate.”