Johnson to return for another softball season

Kentucky softball did not have a single positive COVID-19 test and did not have a single scheduled game disrupted by the pandemic, something senior outfielder Lauren Johnson of Owensboro was proud of.

“I would say I learned the most about how to be resilient. I have never lived through a pandemic. It was remarkable to see what we can do. I had to find places to work out and hit,” Johnson said. “Softball has always been a big commitment for me but in COVID I had to find ways to do things because there were so many restrictions.

“Our team as a whole, we were committed and never even quarantined. We showed UK softball was really great rules followers.”

Johnson hit .344, drove in 41 runs, and stole 12 bases this season for Kentucky, which finished 43-16 after being eliminated last week in the Super Regionals by No. 3 Alabama. She played multiple positions for coach Rachel Lawson.

“We showed we have fight in us and never gave up,” Johnson said after the second Super Regional loss. “Alabama is a dominant team. I am so incredibly proud of our team. All season we played great softball. We always found ways to come back and score, that’s what I am most proud of.”

This could have been her final game but the Daviess County High School product will come back for a super senior season in 2022.

“I got accepted to graduate school at UK and will be playing another season and using my extra (COVID) year,” Johnson said. “We can use this moment to keep moving forward and prove that UK can play softball.”

Johnson thinks college softball teams are proving they are elite athletes and was thrilled to have ABC-TV air a Washington-Oklahoma Super Regional game won by No. 1 Oklahoma.

“I remember growing up, if I wanted to see a (college) softball game me and my dad had to drive to Lexington,” Johnson said. “Now little girls get to watch our games instead of having to drive hours to see a game. Now they are playing on ABC. That’s mind-blowing.”