As a kid growing up in Easton, or any New England town for that matter, hatred for the New York Yankees is just about universal, going hand in hand with a love for the Red Sox.
It is easy to understand, then, Liam Noonan’s original dismay upon being drafted by the Easton Little League Yankees almost a full decade ago.
“[At first], I was highly disappointed to be drafted to the Yankees, being the die-hard Red Sox fan that I am,” he admits.
As it turned out, the Yankees weren’t all bad, as that team went on to win the Easton Majors World Series and gave Liam his first taste of baseball glory. Since then, he has moved onto gradually bigger stages, culminating in a two-year tenure as the baseball starting third baseman. Elected co-captain for his senior season, Noonan helped lead the Tigers to a Davenport Division championship and state tournament bid.
“I think that it was tough to replace the talent and team chemistry we had last year, but our team worked hard in the off-season and throughout the year to replace the talent, and through bonding we replaced the team chemistry,” he says. “Although our hitting wasn't its best, the dedication to become better was. Members of the team consistently stayed at the park or at the cages after practice.”
The hard work paid off, and despite falling short of their aspirations to win a state championship, Noonan and his teammates gave the faithful a great showing all season long. Behind excellent pitching and defense, OA was able to emerge victorious from many low-scoring affairs and close-scoring nail-biters.
Liam also credits a bit of the team’s success to the magic of superstition. Along with pitcher Ryan O’Shea, he kept his peers busy with undying loyalty to a plethora of rituals.
“Playing the song My Oh My by Macklemore was a [pre-game] tradition I started, and it is seen as the team's song. Taping our arms, putting on eye black, making sure no one had any 'tweeners' was also another pre-game tradition in an effort to make sure our team had the most swag,” he revealed.
Above all, however, Liam ensured that their late teammate, Brendan Wolfe, stayed in everyone’s hearts and minds on game day with an extremely symbolic and meaningful custom:
“Our most important tradition was for me to put Brendan’s jersey on the bench, and then once it came time for our team huddle I would hold it up in the middle for everyone to hold onto and we would yell “family.” He was a great friend to everyone on our team, and although it was hard playing our first baseball season without him, we were there for each other and we got through the season together, as a family, like Brendan would have wanted.”
When he’s not playing baseball, Liam also enjoys golf, earning All-League honors and captaincy of the Tigers two years in a row, and is a self-taught guitar player. In September, he will take his talents to UMass Amherst and pursue a degree in biology.
“I’m still not positive on what field I want to enter, but I am very interested in becoming a Physician’s Assistant or Pediatrician,” he says.
He’s certainly come a long way since his days as a Yankee.