By Barry Dalton
Emmy Johnson of Community R-VI signed a letter of intent to play softball for the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla on Thursday. Feb. 4.
“She wanted to go to Rolla. She’s our brainiac,” said Traci Johnson, one of the grandparents who attended the signing. “It’s pretty amazing. She’s an awesome softball player and she’s very smart.”
High School Principal Bob Curtis said Johnson is one of three seniors who will play for a university sports team this school year–two in softball, including Johnson, and one in basketball.
“For one class, I mean for 24 kids, we’ve got three of them that are going on scholarship to play athletically,” Curtis said.
Johnson played mostly catcher for the Lady Trojans but will be a utility player for the Missouri S&T Miners. She was able to develop her multiposition skills on her traveling team, the Diamond Wildcats of Jefferson City.
“If you’re going to play in college, you better have multiple positions, because if you have a junior or senior ahead of you, you’re probably not going to play for a while,” said Darrel Hyatt, one of her Wildcats coaches. “She played catcher, outfield, second base for [the Wildcats], third base.”
A representative from the Miners’ athletic department was unable to attend the signing due to that university’s COVID-19 protocols, but that didn’t deter Head High School Softball Coach Carey Thomas.
“I said [to Emmy], ‘We’ll still do a signing. There’s no reason that we can’t do a signing just because the coaches can’t come. You sign the letter, we’ll celebrate you.”
Thomas said that Johnson has been the team’s catcher for the last three years.
“She’s going to be some big shoes to fill for sure,” Johnson said of the athlete who was second team all-state this school year as well all region, all district and all conference.
“Rolla is actually the very first place I visited. I’m majoring in biological sciences,” said Johnson. “This year was fun, we won the conference again, and it was just a good time to be with friends. I feel blessed, just growing up in a community that supports softball and is supportive of me to go play softball [at S&T].”
In addition to aunts and uncles and brother and sisters and grandfathers and grandmothers, Johnson’s great grandparents, Dale and Wanda Davis of Montgomery City, were able to attend the signing, just like they did many of the games she played.
“That’s my great granddaughter. She’s absolutely wonderful,” said Wanda. “I go to all of her games that I can get to. She’s a very smart girl. She was advanced a grade in elementary and she went all the way.”
Johnson’s great grandfather, Dale, played some ball when he was young. When asked if he gave his great granddaughter any tips, he said with a smile, “She didn’t need any.”