By Adam Gore/LetsGoICC.com
HATLEY, MS — Itawamba Community College head baseball coach Rick Collier announced the signing of Hatley High School standout pitcher and shortstop Russ Johnson on Wednesday.
“Russ is a guy we knew we wanted to sign early,” said Collier. “He’s one of the better middle infielders in the area and is a two-way guy that we look for him to be able to contribute on the mound as well.”
Johnson batted .429 with a .545 on-base percentage with 38 RBI, 8 doubles, 2 triples and a home run while successfully stealing 34 bases on 35 attempts to help the Tigers win a school-record 25 games and a Class 2A North State runner-up finish last season.
“I’m really excited to be able to play on the next level,” said Johnson. “I’m just ready to work hard and do whatever I can to help the team win. ICC is a great school that is close to home. I’ve been to a lot of camps in the past and I’ve always enjoyed being around the coaching staff and the players.”
On the mound, he finished his junior season with a 2.24 ERA with an 11-2 with 2 saves in 16 appearances with 65.2 innings pitched to earn Division 1-2A Co-Player of the Year and All-Area honors while being named All-Division for the third-straight season.
“Russ brings it day in and day out,” said Hatley head coach John Harris. “This is big for our program. Hopefully all his teammates can see the rewards from all the hard work we do as a baseball team.”
Johnson’s dad, Russ, played for Hall of Fame baseball coach Roy Cresap at ICC in 1984-85.