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Chapel's Johnson signs with SAU for softball


Watson Chapel senior softball player Natalie Johnson made her collegiate decision using the Goldilocks’ method.

“I really liked the coach, he’s a family guy,” Johnson said of Southern Arkansas head coach Corey Lyon. “I also really liked the school.

“It was not too big. Not too small. It was just right.”

Johnson signed her national letter of intent to play softball for the Magnolia-based school on Tuesday at Watson Chapel High School.

Johnson said it felt like a weight had lifted off her shoulders.

“It feels good,” she said. “I’d been worried that I wouldn’t get a scholarship.”

Meeting her future teammates is one thing Johnson is looking forward to.

“I don’t know when, yet,” she said about meeting them. “I’m planning on doing that very soon, though.

“I do know one girl from White Hall Abby Weaver who’s signing to go down there.”

Fourth year Watson Chapel head coach Traci Easter has coached Johnson throughout the senior’s high school career.

“She’s an excellent student,” Easter said. “There’s no problem with discipline.

“She’s exactly what coaches are looking for.”

Johnson plays shortstop for Easter and the Lady Wildcats, but said she’ll “probably play third base or some outfield” for SAU.

That doesn’t surprise Easter.

“We have her at shortstop,” she said. “But you can put her anywhere on the field.

“She’ll work hard wherever (Lyon) puts her.”

Last year, Johnson and her teammates finished 11-2 in the 5A-South. She batted .440 with 13 RBI and 15 stolen bases.

“She’s improved every year, which is what you want,” Easter said. “She gives just flawless effort.

“Even on bad days, the effort is still there. You can’t coach effort and that’s what makes her stands out.”

Johnson, too, thinks the Muleriders landed a hard-working player.

“I might not make every play,” she said. “But if I make a mistake, I’m going to make up for it.

“And I’m probably not going to make it again.”

Easter expects to see big things out of Johnson when spring rolls around.

“I want determination and great leadership,” Easter said. “That’s one thing I really dwell on, being a good teammate.

“She’s a great person, but I want her to grow and be a better person.

“I expect high things from her.”