Johnson pitches and hits Wolverines to win over rival

By: 
JOEL COLEMAN
SDN staff

When East Webster head baseball coach Wes Johnson’s son, Walker was younger, the elder Johnson said his boy was never really the best ballplayer on any of his baseball teams.
On Friday night in Cumberland though, Walker was head and shoulders above everyone else on the field.
Walker Johnson hurled a complete-game shutout on the mound and drove in four runs at the plate to lead East Webster to a run-rule, 10-0 victory over cross-county rival Eupora. The junior right-hander gave the Wolverines a much-needed boost after East Webster lost to the Eagles 5-0 in Eupora on Tuesday.
“We were better than we showed on Tuesday,” Wes Johnson said. “We were able to come out (Friday) and jump on them early. Walker threw well and threw a lot of strikes. He doesn’t have a whole lot of pitching experience, but I’m hoping his better days are ahead of him.”
Perhaps the “better days” Wes Johnson is looking for started with Walker’s Friday night start. He allowed only three hits and struck out five. The younger Johnson carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning before Tanner Knight got Eupora’s first hit.
Despite his mound dominance, Walker Johnson took little of the credit for his efforts. He instead pointed to his father and the entire East Webster coaching staff.
“I had really good command of my fastball, but it’s really just thanks to these coaches,” Walker Johnson said. “They train you up well and that makes you really thankful for what we’ve got here. It’s just all the off-the-field stuff and what they teach us about how to be a man. It’s a lot more than baseball.”
Behind Walker Johnson, East Webster (12-6, 3-1) was in control basically all night long. Neither team scored in the first inning, but the Wolverines struck for four in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead. Jon Austin Roberts started the onslaught with an RBI groundout. Walker Johnson had an RBI double in the rally, while J.T. Slay had a two-run two-bagger.
The East Webster bats stayed hot in the third inning. The Wolverines scored four more times in the frame to take an 8-0 advantage. Walker Johnson had the big blow in the frame when he came to the plate with the bases loaded and drove in all three runners with another double.
East Webster added two more runs in the fourth to cap the night’s scoring and send Eupora (11-3, 3-1) to defeat.
“It was just kind of an off night,” Eupora head coach Clayton Dodd said. “We didn’t get the job done on the mound. Anytime you throw balls and then have to pop a fastball in there for a strike, you know what’s coming next, and (East Webster) played well. I think that’s probably the best they’ve hit all year. They shoved it to us. That’s all there is to it.”
Many Wolverines had a great night at the ballpark, but none more so than Walker Johnson. The junior might not have ever had the role of being his team’s star, but Friday night, he proved he is up to the task when needed.
“It was a great night,” Wes Johnson said. “As a coach, it is pretty gratifying to see your son do well. When he was younger, he wasn’t always the best player on the team, but he has risen to the occasion lately.
“It’s really exciting to have him back another year after this year.”

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