The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

May 15, 2014

Mavericks' Johnson comes to play every day

Catcher is leading hitter, cleanup batter

(Continued)

“If a guy can do it, and he wants to do it, let’s do it,” Magers said. “He has the flexibility to do it.”

Johnson batted .343 in his first season, .359 last season. He’s up to .386 this season, with 20 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 47 RBIs, bringing his career totals to 50 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs and 115 RBIs.

He’s also won several conference and regional Gold Glove awards for his defensive prowess.

“He doesn’t get caught up in big situations, whether it be throwing a guy out or coming up with a big hit,” Magers said. “People don’t realize how much goes into playing catcher, physically and mentally.”

The Mavericks may need a spark going into the national tournament. Minnesota State, which averages 7.6 runs per game, scored just one run in two recent Northern Sun tournament games, sandwiched around a 17-run effort.

With a team earned-run average of 3.09, keyed by top starters Jason Hoppe and Bryce Bellin, the Mavericks don’t normally need a ton of runs. Max Waletich is batting .366, with Todd Standish next at .359. Stetson Olson leads the team with 12 homers and 51 RBIs.

“We need to find some consistency,” Magers said. “Traditionally, we win those close games. We’re the defending champions, and that means something. Some of the other teams don’t have that experience.”

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