TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- When a batter steps into the box, it's him versus the pitcher. For one Rickards High School baseball player, his whole life he has been at bat against every curve someone could throw at him.
“No one really knew the whole story of what I really went through as a homeless student,” said BJ Johnson.
This 19-year-old high school senior's story is heroic, but what you wouldn't guess is that for most of his life, it's been tragic.
"I didn't really want to share the story because I didn't want people to worry about me. I wanted to let everyone know that I'm happy and I could do it and that I was going to make it," Johnson said.
When he was only 3, his father was sentenced to life in prison; his mother had an ongoing drug problem, which forced him to live with his grandmother.
In 2014, Johnson's grandmother died. As a result, he was forced to live in his grandmother's car for three months, and no one even knew.
"Well with BJ, to be honest, he really didn't tell anybody. We all knew how difficult it was when his grandma died," said Johnson's baseball coach, Brian Kelley.
"She introduced me to baseball, actually; introduced all my siblings, brothers and sisters, to baseball," Johnson said. "If it wasn't for her, I don't know if baseball would be my true love that it is today."
Johnson's smile is contagious; his attitude, always positive. Despite everything that has happened to him, friends say he's never complained once or asked for help along the way.
"I just thank God for the car and having somewhere to sleep. If it had not been for the car, I don't know where I'd be today," Johnson said.
Johnson will soon be on his own once again. He is going to attend Iowa Lakes Community College on a baseball scholarship.
Who would have guessed that at age 19, the easiest curveball that ever came Johnson's way would be the one that you actually need a bat to hit? All his life, every curve that's been thrown at him, he's hit out of the park.