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Lieberman, George spur on Meridian Community College

[4/12/04]Last season was a difficult one for Joey Lieberman.

Coming from Warren Central, he was ready to play baseball for Meridian Community College. He did well in his first three games, but then broke his wrist and was forced to sit out the rest of the season.

His team went on to the Junior College World Series while he sat on the sidelines.

“I had to watch probably 60 games from the bench, and it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to go through,” Lieberman said.

His wrist finally healed, and he hit the gym for rehab, eager to get back on the field.

“I played all summer, and I had a whole fall to get ready,” he said. “I was ready to go when the season started.”

He redshirted to gain another year of eligibility and returned as a freshman this season. Lieberman said the time off helped him grow and mature on the field.

“I think I’ve become a lot better player since I’ve been in high school,” he said. “My approach at the plate and defensively, I think I’ve become a little better. I just try to get better every day.”

Through last week, Lieberman was hitting .375 and leading the team in RBIs (45) and home runs (12).

“He’s just been a big bat in our lineup,” Meridian coach Mike Federico said. “He’s also been a tremendous leader, even though he’s a freshman baseball-wise. He’s a sophomore in grades, and you can really tell that he shows leadership out there.”

Another former Warren County standout is contributing as well. Ex-St. Aloysius star Aaron George has put up good offensive numbers this season to match those from last year, in which he hit .321 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs.

So far this year, George is batting .423 while seeing time at both catcher and designated hitter.

“Aaron, for two years straight, has been a big part of our lineup. He hits in either the four- or the five-hole for us,” Federico said. “He’s a big-time catcher.”

George, who signed to play at South Alabama next season, said the learning curve last year was tough, but he’s picked up on it now.

“I’m from Class 1A, so it’s a lot different,” George said. “The pitchers throw a little bit harder here, they have a little bit better control of the curveball and off-speed. It’s faster, too, just the pace of the game. But it’s not too bad.”

Lieberman and George have helped lead Meridian to a 29-5 record and second place behind Hinds Community College in the Central Division.

“We’ve been playing real good, real good,” George said. “We’ve been clicking so far, hopefully we can keep it up.”