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With one swing, Mitch Bohon could do some damage.
At 6â€™2 210-pounds, the sophomore first baseman followed up his stellar freshman campaign with an even better second year at East Mississippi Community College.
It was enough to have four-year colleges calling, but in the end Bohon this month decided to join William Carey University in Hattiesburg.
A product of Oak Hill Academy, Bohon quickly made a good first impression, batting .311 while leading the EMCC Lions with seven home runs, 12 doubles and 33 RBI.
It was obvious that he was special with a bat and head coach Chris Rose, who joined the team in July 2010, knew he was going to be a crucial part of the Lions offense.
â€śHeâ€™s an RBI guy, he drives runs in,â€ť he said.
At a tournament the Lions were hosting last summer, Rose recalls meeting with Bohon and challenged him to lose a few pounds before the season started.
Bohon dropped the weight and slimmed up.
â€śHe dropped about 25 pounds and got stronger,â€ť Rose said. â€śJust became more athletic with the weight loss.â€ť
Bohonâ€™s athleticism made it difficult for the Lionâ€™s coaching staff to play him anywhere in the field, third-base, outfield and even a little DH. With three quarters of the season left to play, Bohen found his home at first base. Turns out he was good too, in 231 chances, zero errors. But it was at the plate where he was the most productive; hitting .300 with 36 hits, seven homeruns and 23 RBI. Bohon paced the Lions with his .425 on-base percentage, including 18 walks and eight hit by pitches.
â€śHe could bat anywhere in the lineup from third, fourth or fifth,â€ť Rose said. â€śHe did a very good job for us from the cleanup spot. He can hit. He has the tools, some really good hands and raw power.â€ť
Bohonâ€™s seven homers came early in the season, and after that opposing pitchers learned to slow him down and Rose said he made the adjustments to get back on track even if he didnâ€™t circle the bases with one swing.
â€śWe were not an offensive club,â€ť said Rose who guided the Lions to playoffs for the first time since 2004. â€śWe had a couple guys that could hit and a bunch of guys that had to work hard and play their role and Bohon was one of the guys that we relied on heavily. If he wasnâ€™t hitting, we would have a hard time winning.â€ť
William Carey wasnâ€™t the only school looking to sign him. Rose said Mississippi College, Millsaps, West Alabama, Monetvallo, Belhaven and even Delta State all had an interest in the 2011 MACJC All-North Division Second Team selection.
A member of Phi Theta Kappa, Bohon, who finished with a 3.66 GPA, earned academic honors claiming the NJCAAâ€™s Exemplary Academic Achievement Award while being named to the NJCAA All-Academic Team.
Bohon hopes to make an immediate impact on the a Crusaders team that finished 31-27 last year and advanced all the way to NAIA national tournament.