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Johnson swings in rain

Michael Traum

Swinging in the rain. That’s how South Tahoe High graduate Angela Johnson is spending her sophomore softball season at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

The Bruins are currently 12-4, battling to move up from the No. 25 spot in the NAIA Division 1 poll. But close to 20 rained-out games have left Johnson’s Bruins and fourth-year coach Traci Corey feeling a little under the weather.

“It’s just a little frustrating because we haven’t been able to see just how good we really are,” Johnson said.

Added Corey, “Considering everything, it’s been a positive experience. I think the players are very confident and working well together.”

The Bruins hope to make up at least 14 contests, which will only help the 20-year-old Johnson, who is well on her way to posting a solid second year in college fastpitch. She’s coolly adjusted to a move from shortstop to second base, while taking her skills at the plate to another level.

“We needed someone to play second, so I’m there. It’s similar to shortstop and I played (second) my senior year in high school,” said Johnson, who is enjoying an injury-free campaign. “I feel good for a change. I’ve never really had serious injuries, just little things uncomfortable enough to cause you problems, like a sprained shoulder or shin splints. Right now I feel good and my arm is great.”

That healthiness has led to some impressive displays with the bat. While she didn’t know her exact average, claiming that it would be a jinx to see the numbers, Johnson is hitting well enough to draw Corey’s utmost praise.

“Angela is a great athlete and team player. She has a super work ethic and plays solid defense. But (above everything) she’s a consistent, clutch offensive player,” said Corey, for whom Johnson has completed five suicide squeezes and reached base continuously, where she has the green light to run.

“She can pretty much do everything. I can’t tell you how happy the players and myself are with her, and not just as a player. We’re very pleased to have Angela with us.”

As the season winds down, Johnson and the Bruins hope to turn their weathery memories (such as spring break week, during which they tended to Belmont’s rained-out field in ankle-deep mud while the rest of the student body traveled to sunny vacation spots) into motivational highs come tournament time.

“We’re a good team and have beat some great teams. We just need to get into the top rankings to secure an at-large berth,” said the former Viking, who has watched her alma mater’s current team struggle this year. “I’ve been there. It’s not always fun. Just hang in there and keep working hard. Things will work out.”


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