Johnson has been lethal with the bat

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, March 17, 2009

By Staff
Senior climbing the career charts
Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Even a fever couldn’t keep Jessica Johnson out of the lineup.
The East Carolina first baseman mustered the energy to play for her Lady Pirates on a recent weekend. It’s that kind of effort and attitude that has made Johnson one of the most feared hitters in Conference USA.
The 5-8 senior from Laguna Niguel, Calif., has played feverishly for the Lady Pirates (15-9, 3-3 Conference USA). Johnson is hitting .343 with two homers and 14 RBIs. Her 24 hits are tops on the team. The senior has scored 14 runs, banged out six doubles and has a .543 slugging percentage.
Johnson has drawn seven walks and swiped four bases.
Johnson has been climbing the career charts for the Lady Pirates.
She has ripped 27 home runs, which ranks third all-time. Johnson trails only Kate Manuse (29 homers from 2002-05) and Isonette Polonius (42 homers from 1997-99).
Johnson has walked 82 times in her career, which is the fifth highest total in ECU history. Manuse drew 136 free passes in her career.
Johnson’s 128 RBIs ranks sixth best. Polonius also holds that mark with 185 RBIs.
Her 34 doubles ranks sixth, just two behind Krista Jessup (2003-06) for fifth place. Keisha Shepperson had 75 doubles from 1998-2001.
She’s closing in on the top 10 list in hits with 161. (Sharolyn Strickland is in tenth with 175 hits).
Johnson can wield power and some speed on the bases, making her a dangerous offensive weapon. She takes a strict approach in the batter’s box, especially when there are teammates standing on the bases.
Johnson had a career day in a 9-0 win over Georgetown during the Pirate Clash. She homered, tripled and drove in a career-high five runs.
Besides carrying a big stick, Johnson is also steady with the glove. She has a .986 fielding percentage, committing just two errors in 143 chances.
Johnson, who was named to the 2007 First Team All-C-USA, 2007 C-USA All-Tournament Team, 2007 C-USA All-Academic Team and 2007 NCCSIA All-State, wants to make sure her last year playing with the Lady Pirates is a special one.
There’s a chance she could play professionally – “show me the money,” Johnson said with a laugh.
For now, Johnson is happy and hoping to continue her hot streak.