As senior first baseman Julia Johnson closes out her regular season play on the softball team, she has hopes to lead her squad to an NWC tournament championship.
Johnson has accumulated a batting average of .313 over the season with 31 hits, eight doubles, nine home runs, 39 RBI’s, an on-base percentage of .474, and the best slugging percentage on the team at .667. In Johnson’s four years at Whitworth, she has hit 24 home runs, a school record.
“Julia is a confident offensive player and has a big presence in the box. She has an excellent attitude, trusts in other people, and is a real leader who steps up and serves to help other people,” junior utility player Taylor Gilbert said.
Johnson has expressed her love for the sport by her competitiveness and her ultimate goal while on the field: To have fun.
“Julia is very influential on the field. She always knows what to say in the tough situations and always knows how to pick us up as well as come through with clutch at-bats when we need them,” freshman pitcher Madi Perez said. “She is a leader on our team. She is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet and will always have your back and is a beast on the field.”
While Johnson was growing up, she was surrounded by sports. Her older brother played baseball and that inspired her to jump into softball, which she later excelled at. She has always watched her brother succeed and play baseball. Her goal has continually been to match up to his skill level and potential, wanting to be that much better for herself and her brother so he can then be proud of her achievements.
“She is a team leader and brings confidence to our team. She motivates us through her actions and always fights whether it is an at-bat or on the field, she never gives up and helps us to motivate each other,” sophomore outfielder Alyssa Hall said.
Her preparation before a game takes dedication and hard work.
“I always have to listen to “Here comes the Boom” by Nelly whether I’m in my room or on the bus heading to the game to feel that rhythm, knowing it’s game time. I always have to end on a good hit in the batting cages to feel satisfied and not jinx myself,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that she loves to see her team’s competitive drive and will to win. They have this passion to do whatever it takes to get on top, and they have created this bond to come as a team and conquer anything that stands in their way, she said.
“I may seem like a silly, sweet person, but once I get on the field, I’m the most intimidating, competitive person you’ll ever meet,” Johnson said.
Head softball coach Cristal Brown had her own personal interpretation of what Johnson brings to the table for the Whitworth softball team.
“Julia is a competitor, and displays intimidating factors every time she steps up to bat. Her team mates knows she cares, and she’s super competitive,” Brown said.
The softball team finished its regular season on the road against Lewis & Clark. Johnson said that working on the fundamentals will be the biggest aspect in having a chance at a national championship.
“We need to be focused 24/7 for every second in every inning. It will be crucial to know the fundamentals and play the game right. We need to get our momentum going earlier so we can get on top of the opponents and make those adjustments in advance,” Johnson said.
Whitworth will play against Pacific University at the Northwest Conference Tournament on Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19. The double elimination tournament will be hosted by Linfield.
Tyler Jezierski Staff Writer