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Off season Johnson teaches baseball in season he plays

By TIM GUERCIO

The NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT

NATCHEZ — Baseball coach Caleb Johnson teaches hitting, pitching and fielding. On May 11 he will be Caleb Johnson professional baseball player.

Johnson works at Double Play Academy, 294 Highland Boulevard, which is an indoor instructional facility with batting cages for hitting and bullpens for pitching. The facility also features a workout space and a pro shop full of baseball inventory.

On May 11, however, Johnson will be in Napa California to join his teammates as a member of the Napa Silverado’s baseball club, which is in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball.

Johnson, a 2010 graduate of Cathedral High School, said he played his college ball for Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, a city on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Clarke is a Catholic school, and Johnson said he saw not only similarities between Clark University and Cathderal but also similarities between the two river cities.

“I would say they both have a hometown feeling,” Johnson said. “They both are historical cities and you can really feel the history in both cities. The people in both are kind and helpful.”

Johnson said he enjoys teaching basic skills to the younger ballplayers.

“I work with ball players from 5 years old to the college level,” Johnson said. “I really enjoy sharing hitting tips and teaching baseball IQ to the younger players.”

Baseball IQ, Johnson said, is about always paying attention and being a step ahead of the game.

“Baseball is not like checkers,” Johnson said, “it is exactly like chess; you want to be one or two moves ahead when you are in the game.”

Johnson said he has played pro ball since 2015 and has a great tip for young hitters, or hitters of any age.

“See the ball make contact with the bat,” Johnson said. “See the ball; hit the ball.”

On May 9 Johnson will depart for California to meet his team for spring tryouts.

“Ball clubs will put you through conditioning drills in the mornings,” Johnson said. “You will be in the batting cage all day and also fielding all day. I will be there from May 11 to May 20 with these drills. Then spring practice games until May 31.”

Johnson said he is there to make the cut, and he is ready to play for the Silverado’s this year.