Barton senior and former Gryphon Will Johnson is congratulated by his teammates Sunday after hitting one of his two home runs in a victory over Pfeiffer. (Photo/Tom Ham, Wilson Daily Times)
But the only one who played sports collegiately on scholarship was middle son Will.
Now a senior second baseman at Barton College, Will is tearing the cover off the ball as the Bulldogs are fighting for a title in Conference Carolinas - a D-II league.
Over the past two weeks, Johnson has been hotter than a firecracker. And on Senior Day Sunday, he belted two home runs, back-to-back, to help the Bulldogs beat Pfeiffer.
Johnson's pair of solo shots pushed his season's total to four. In the last seven games, Johnson has batted a scorching .522 (12 for 23), scored 10 runs and knocked in seven. All four of his homers have come during the stretch - including a two-run bomb against my alma mater, N.C. Wesleyan, last week in a 7-4 Barton win at Fleming Stadium.
"His power numbers have caught everybody that knows him by surprise," Barton head coach Todd Wilkinson told the Wilson Daily Times. "However, he has worked hard in the weight room and has great timing right now. His addition at the bottom of the lineup has been a huge boost for our team."
"Everybody has been asking me the same thing and I have no idea," Johnson, an All-Conference and All-Area performer who led RMHS in pass receiving his senior season, told the WDT of a binge that earlier included hits in eight consecutive at-bats. "My swing feels good and everything is clicking and working out well."
Of his power surge, Johnson laughed and added: "If I knew, I would have been doing it all four years."
Editor's Note: As of the weekend of May 2, Barton (30-17) was waiting to see if it would get an at-large bid to the NCAA Div. II baseball regionals. If Johnson's career is through, his senior season certainly will have been a memorable one. He would have closed it with a .337 batting average, six doubles, six home runs (second on the team), 20 RBI and the team's second highest slugging percentage (.598).
Way to go out, Will!