Student Athlete of the Month: Johnson helping South Tahoe in playoff push |

Student Athlete of the Month: Johnson helping South Tahoe in playoff push

Bill Rozak |
South Tahoe's Cameron Johnson fields a throw to record an out earlier this season while playing first base.
Provided / Hans Baumann

South Tahoe junior Cameron Johnson has been playing baseball since he was 9.

During that time, he’s played a lot of positions but hasn’t pitched much, until this season.

The righthander was statistically South Tahoe’s best pitcher during March, the first month of the season.

In his first five appearances, Johnson allowed just one earned run in over 13 innings. He capped March with a complete-game 3-hitter over one of the 3A Northern League’s best teams, Churchill County.

He earned his third straight victory without a loss in a first start in early April and is the team leader in earned run average (2.17).

After not throwing a single inning during his sophomore season for the varsity team, Johnson has provided a reliable arm that his head coach wasn’t expecting at the start of the season.

“This is my first year really pithing and I’ve been having fun with it,” Johnson. “I’m just trying to do my best and help my team get to playoffs and win there.”

Johnson’s effort on the baseball diamond combined with his lofty grade point average has earned the title of Student-Athlete of the Month for March from the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Whittell’s Isaiah Womack was the other male nominee for the award.

“He’s a good student, works hard in the classroom and is very coachable,” said Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan. “He’s been a welcome surprise on the mound this year for us. We hope he continues to get better and improve each day. It’s very cool to have one of our guys recognized for this award.”

When Johnson isn’t toeing the rubber, he’s at first base or catching depending on the lineup Teevan uses. He’s been a consistent bat in the regular lineup. Johnson hit .333 (12 for 36) in March and he’s swinging at the same clip in April (7 for 21 through April 22).

Johnson was born, and lived, in Carson City, Nevada where grew up playing hockey at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena. His dad is a big hockey fan and got his son into the sport as soon as he could skate.

Johnson got a little older, hockey got more expensive and his winter interest switched to hoops before transitioning to baseball in the spring. He’s got a basketball court in his driveway at his South Lake Tahoe home. He plays wiffle ball with friends whenever, wherever. If he goes camping, the plastic bat and ball are at least as important as a fishing pole. If they were forgotten, he’d likely be playing with sticks and stones.

He’s been playing ball with some of the same teammates since he started swinging bats and shooting hoops.

“It’s been a lot of fun playing with the guys, some of them I have been playing with since I was 9,” Johnson said. “It’s growing up with them, getting better with them, has been so much fun. As they get better, we get better.”

Johnson hopes to play baseball at the next level, “somewhere in college,” he said. “Maybe start at a JC and work my way to San Diego State, that’s my dream school.”

He’s thinking he’ll study computer science, but that’s all in his future. Johnson’s immediate concerns are the four games remaining on the Vikings regular season schedule, starting with Fernley at 3 p.m. Friday, April 27, at South Tahoe Middle School. The Vikings are fighting with the Vaqueros for a playoff berth.

“For goals, we really wanna go to state and win that,” Johnson said. “The seniors I’ve been playing with since I was 9, they’ve always had that in their brains. That would be cool.”

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