Whitesboro’s Ashley Johnson – Athlete Spotlight Presented by McCurtain County National Bank

By Nick Hampton

If you need a good tip on a place to eat in Oklahoma City you might ask Ashley Johnson. As a member of the Whitesboro basketball and softball teams, she’s made four trips to the state capitol over the past two years. And as the only senior on the Lady Bulldogs slow pitch team this spring, Johnson hopes to make it trip number five. But let’s go back to the start for Ashley.

“I started playing T-ball almost from the time I could pick up and ball and throw it,” she said. “I like both softball and basketball but probably softball a little more because I’ve played it longer and just feel like I know more about it.”

Being the lone senior puts leadership responsibility squarely on her shoulders but she feels she’s up to the task.

“I need to make sure everyone is game-prepared with a good attitude. I like to lead by example and show the girls what to do rather than come off as bossy. But on the bench I can really be vocal. We really get into it during a game,” laughed Johnson who has signed to play softball next year at Carl Albert.

Her trips to OKC started her sophomore year when the Lady Bulldogs went to the state tournament in slow pitch but lost in the opening round. The following spring they went again, this time winning their first ever state playoff game and making it to the semifinals. That was followed by a memorable trip to state in fastpitch last fall.

“That was a great few days,” recalled Johnson. “We beat Duke in the first round 5-1. Then we played Leflore which is an area team that we had played earlier and knew a lot about.  We hit the ball well and won that game 7-3. That put us into the state finals against Kiowa and they were just able to hit the gaps against us while everything we hit was right at them it seemed and we lost 6-1.”

And earlier this month Johnson make the long bus ride to Oklahoma City yet again, this time with the basketball team as they played but lost to Varnum in the first round.

First year coach JoAnn Scarberry is high on her only senior.

“Ashley works really hard and will try to do anything you ask of her. She’s got a great glove defensively in the outfield for slow pitch and at shortstop for fast pitch. She hit well down the stretch and was a big part of our making the state finals in fast pitch.”

In school Ashley is part of a committee started by baseball coach Kevin Romine that checks on homeless in the area and helps provide food and shelter. She’s a staunch follower of the Sooner softball team and admired the play of the Romero sisters, Sydney, an All-American at OU and her sister Sierra who was an All-American at Michigan.

With seven starters back for the slow pitch season and a strong senior leader in Ashley Johnson, chances are the folks in Oklahoma City will be seeing the Lady Bulldogs again real soon.