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Belmont boasts Johnson & Johnson

Michael Traum

A three-year age division separated them after high school. Now a division of another kind – Division 1 – is bringing them back together.

Sisters Angela and Amy Johnson, both graduates of South Tahoe High, will be reunited this fall on the softball field of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

Angela will be a senior infielder, while Amy has received an athletic scholarship to join her older sister as a freshman Rebelette – possibly in the infield as well.

“I’m so excited. Angela and I have always had a real good relationship,” Amy said. “But we’ve never had the chance to play together on the same team. She’s an excellent player and will help guide me.”

Belmont assistant coach Don Watson said it was no coincidence that the two sisters will be playing top-flight softball together.

“We would not have recruited Amy if we didn’t think she was worth a Division 1 player. Plus, both girls come from a strong softball and family background,” said Watson on Tuesday from his Nashville office. “Their father out in Lake Tahoe is a good coach. Angela is a superb ballplayer and student-athlete. Amy has good athletic ability and can hit the ball. We felt like we couldn’t go wrong.”

Amy and Angela’s father, Jan, and mother, Karen, have been the softball coaches at South Tahoe for the last two seasons. Jan said he was proud of the two girls’ accomplishments, not to mention that they’ll be playing together.

“It’s not something you plan on, you just keep working hard until the opportunity comes around. And this will give Amy (like Angela) the opportunity to go to a quality school and get a quality education,” he said. “Sometimes sisters don’t want to play together. Angela and Amy have always made their own ways. But they sound really excited and it’s just the way the opportunity presented itself.”

Both sisters, along with four other incoming freshmen, two transfers and seven other returners, face the daunting task of improving on last year’s 5-37 mark in the school’s first full year of Division 1 play, when they faced five top-25 schools.

Watson said Angela has become a team leader at second base while Amy, who pitched and played infield in high school, will get an immediate chance to earn playing time at first base.

“Position-wise, we’re looking at Amy to fill in at first base when one of our pitchers is throwing. She was not recruited as a pitcher, as we have a couple of first-line pitchers returning. But we’ll give her an opportunity to throw and see what she’s got,” Watson said. “I talked to Angela and she’s just tickled that Amy is coming to Belmont, particularly because we’re in a very competitive environment.”

The Rebelettes begin fall practice August 28 and have at least 12 games scheduled prior to the start of the season in February, 1999. While the team won’t be coming West this season, Watson said he hopes to schedule a trip of that nature for the following year.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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