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Would You Believe 46 Homers in Two Seasons?

Lake Forest 13-year-old Brad Czerniejewski has been turning heads with his bat.

 

They still talk about that foul ball he hit in Northbrook this season.

Former baseball coach Tom Myers picked up the play by play.

"It cleared the fence easily,'' Myers said. "And it went out onto Shermer Road. And it reached a third-story building."

So who hit this monster shot anyway? How about a Lake Forest kid who just celebrated his 13th birthday.

Welcome to the world of Brad Czerniejewski, or Czernie for short. Let's be honest here, maybe some big kid will get into a ball and drive it over the wall for a homer sometime during the season. But does anyone average more than 20 homers a season in travel baseball?

"He looks like an athlete,'' Myers said. "There is a different sound when he hits a baseball. He has very good hand strength."

Through July 8, Czerniejewski has 24 homers for the season with 101 RBI's.

And from the file of nobody would believe it, Czerniejewski said he could fairly be described as a medicore player when he was 9 years old.

"My dad got me into baseball when I was 8 years old,'' Czerniejewski said. "And I was the worst 9-year-old. But I practiced because I had to prove it to myself. My mom and dad sacrificed to help me. They got my swing analyzed on a computer. In the off-season, I was working six days a week on my hitting."

For Myers' Lake Forest Scouts travel program, Czerniejewski's homers add up to victories. These 13-year-old Scouts have compiled a 19-3 record, and avenged all three losses.

"You can hear him in the batting cages and you notice a difference in his hitting,'' Myers said. "He's like someone who is a sophomore or a varsity player. And he's just going into the eighth grade."

Now not all of Czerniejewski's dingers head over the fence. And that's not his fault. Some of the fields his teams play on don't have fences.

"I once hit two homers in one inning,'' he said. "I see where the teams are playing me and I try to hit where they aren't playing."

This is clearly a player who eats, drinks and dreams about baseball.

"When I go to bed, I picture myself hitting the ball,'' he said.

Yes, Czerniejewski does have some advantages. His father, Scott, is the owner of BatSpeed Academy, a Gurnee-based operation that trains hitters. And his boy is a regular guest there.

Myers noted Czerniejewski was a very good hitter last summer.

"I really helped him more mentally,'' Myers said. "He loves the game of baseball. And he knows he can hit."

Now before we pencil him into a Major League lineup, Czerniejewski is well aware he has things to work on.

"I've seen plenty of curve balls,'' he said. "And I've been fooled plenty of times. Lately, I've had too many strikeouts for my liking. I'm not allowed to see my batting average, but I assume it's still pretty high."

Kevin Konsler, director of Lake Forest Scouts Baseball, said Czerniejewski's work ethic will keep him focused.

"Brad is one of the most talented players I have ever seen in this age group," Konsler said. "It is great that a player of his caliber has decided to play community baseball with all of his friends as they prepare to be a successful group at Lake Forest High School. Brad's work ethic is second to none and I anticipate he will only continue to improve. The sky is really the limit for Brad."

Czerniejewski plays shortstop and center field for Lake Forest and the Lakeside Sluggers. He's pitched a little, but at this time has no interest in catching.

"He's just going into eighth grade,'' Myers said. "But someday, some people might demand to look at him."

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Nina Vallone July 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Great story about a great young man.
Fooklam July 11, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Way to go, Brad! Sorry I've missed your performance this year, but I'm certainly not surprised by your success. Keep it up! I look forward to seeing you in a Cincinnati Reds uniform someday (and not those vile, nasty Cardinals)!! ;)

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