Melissa Johnson transfers to Arkansas |

Melissa Johnson transfers to Arkansas

Darin Olde, Tribune staff writer

The University of Arkansas softball team has welcomed Melissa Johnson as an addition to the roster for the 2002-2003 season.

Johnson, a two-year letter-winner in the infield, transferred to Arkansas from Louisiana Tech University earlier this summer.

“Melissa is a great late pickup for us, ” said softball coach Carie Dever-Boaz. “She has a tremendous knowledge for the game and is fundamentally sound. She can play anywhere, but we expect her to make a big impact in the middle. Her passion and maturity is what makes her a total package.”

Johnson, a 2000 South Tahoe High School graduate, finished her sophomore year with a .240 batting average and started all 48 of LTU’s contests. She fielded .981 with 52 put outs. The team finished at 21-27, including 3-21 in the Western Athletic Conference.

Johnson was selected an All-WAC utility player and earned all-conference academic honors.

Now, Johnson will likely play shortstop for the Razorbacks in the Southeastern Conference. The Division I team finished the 2001 season 36-30 and 14-16 in the SEC.

“It’s a signed, sealed deal,” said Johnson from her home in South Lake Tahoe. “The program at Arkansas is great. I was basically looking for a change.”

Johnson said the Razorbacks had a hole in their roster, which prompted the Lady Techster to send her athletics portfolio.

“They said I was exactly what they were looking for, so there I am,” she said.

Arkansas offered Johnson an athletics scholarship that covers approximately 75 percent of the total cost to attend the school.

“It’s great, I’m so excited. When you only have a limited amount of scholarship athletes, you don’t have really as many opportunities, so I’ve worked hard and am really glad (to be at Arkansas),” she said.

A $2.5 million improvement project at George C. Cole Field essentially rebuilt the entire Lady Razorbacks softball field, minus the old bleachers and dugouts.

— The University Arkansas contributed to this story.

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