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Megan Johnson named to All-Region team

Esko graduate Megan Johnson never thought about playing college softball. In high school she was just a courtesy runner for the Eskomos. Two years later, things have changed. Johnson, who attended Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, was rec...

Megan Johnson
Megan Johnson

Esko graduate Megan Johnson never thought about playing college softball. In high school she was just a courtesy runner for the Eskomos.

Two years later, things have changed.

Johnson, who attended Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, was recently named to the 2010 NJCAA All-Region District 13 Softball First Team.

The interesting thing is, Johnson was only named an honorable mention for the Minnesota All-State squad, never thinking All-Region was even a possibility.

"I really was just in shock. I am so honored," said Johnson, who said her head coach, Kerry Rodd, called her and then actually brought the award to her house that same day. "It really means a lot to me."

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It means a lot to Rodd as well.

"Megan worked as hard as any player I have ever coached," said Rodd. "And she was just a step away from being named an All-American. That's pretty incredible."

Johnson has made quite the transition. After barely playing during high school, the speedy centerfielder had her struggles with the Thunder during her freshman season.

"She was hitting less than .100," recalled Rodd.

That's when Rodd's daughter, Katie, improved Johnson's left-handed slapping ability and jolted her to the top of the lineup.

"It was all Katie," said Rodd of his assistant coach. "She simply made Megan a better hitter. I wish I could take credit, but it was all Katie."

As a captain this past spring, Johnson hit a staggering team-best .464 at the plate, led the Thunder in runs scored and stole 32 of 33 bases, including an unheard of 7-for-7 stealing home.

"Most coaches give signs to players to tell them to steal," said Kerry Rodd. "I can sign to Megan when not to steal. She was unbelievable."

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"I just tried to get to the next base," laughed Johnson. "I just ran as fast as I could. I guess it worked!"

And in the field, Johnson only made two errors all season centering the outfield.

"It just didn't make sense, some of the balls she ran down and caught," recalled Rodd. "Coaches all over told me there was no one else in the league who got to the balls that Megan caught."

Rodd referred to Johnson as a game-changer: not only because she altered game-time situations with her freakish speed, glove and slapping ability, but because she was a leader off the diamond, too.

"She's just a great kid," smiled Rodd. "She always wanted to get better and challenged us as coaches to make her better. She never missed a single practice."

Johnson was the first to note, however, that the credit for her near 180-degree transformation from high school to college doesn't all go to her.

"I have to thank my coaches, Kerry and Katie," she said. "They taught it to me. They've been a huge help in my softball career. And it's been quite a big jump for me."

But as her sophomore year came to a close this spring, Johnson realized her college softball career was over.

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"It'll be sad not to play next year," said Johnson. "I had so much fun at Fond du Lac, I absolutely loved it there."

Johnson will return to FDLTCC this fall to finish her prerequisites, and plans to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth to pursue pharmacy.

But clearly, she won't forget about her Thunder.

"Hopefully I can help out at some practices next year," said Johnson. "I'll be there to support the team."

Related Topics: ESKOSOFTBALL
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