Johansen leaves a legacy at Tualatin
Without a doubt, the Tualatin High School softball program has produced some very good players throughout.
Players such as Lauren Grill, Emily Sorem, Taylor Alton, Lovena Chaput, Carlyn Re, Tera Evans, Holly Ray, Amanda Reser, Tracy Strohecker, Christina Cooke and current Timberwolf head coach Jenna Wilson, just to name a few, have shined bright on the diamond at Tualatin.
Another name likely belongs on that list, and, an argument could be made, that name very well could belong somewhere near the top of that list.
Emily Johansen, a Tualatin High School senior, saw her storied four-year career with the Timberwolves come to a close Saturday with a 5-4 loss to Sheldon in the Class 6A state championship game, held at Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene.
And what a career it was.
For her career at Tualatin, Johansen, a slugging first baseman, hit for a .466 batting average (159 hits in 341 at-bats), with 48 doubles, three triples, 29 home runs, 122 runs scored and 143 RBIs. She also has 82 career walks, while striking out just 12 times.
The .466 batting average, 159 hits, 48 doubles, 29 home runs, 143 RBIs and 82 walks are all Tualatin career records.
Johansen also holds Tualatin single-season records for home runs, with 15, and RBIs, with 47, which she set last year as a junior, when she helped the Wolves go 30-0 and win the Class 6A state championship.
This year, as a senior, when she was named the Three Rivers League Player of the Year, Johansen hit for a .566 average (43 hits in 76 at-bats), with 12 doubles, six home runs, 37 runs scored and 38 RBIs. Maybe Johansen's most incredible stat from the past season is that she walked a school single-season record 43 times (many of those being intentional walks), while striking out just once.
"It's meant so much," Johansen said after Saturday's title game, referring to her four years at Tualatin. "The coaches have been amazing, and it's been fun going through this — every game, every battle — with this team."
Johansen blasted a two-run, first-inning home run in Saturday's state championship game. That should come as no surprise, as she also seemed to step up in big games, such as the 2018 state title contest, when she hit a two-run, game-tying home run in the bottom of the fifth inning in the victory over Clackamas.
But, it's more than Johansen's big-game heroics and impressive statistics that has made her special to the Tualatin squad.
"Oh, I'm going to cry," Tualatin junior pitcher Tia Ridings said when asked what Johansen has meant to the Timberwolves. "She means a lot to this team, and to us, individually. She's a very supportive teammate."
"She's meant so much to us," Tualatin junior outfielder Sydney Wagner said. "She's put in so much work for our team. She's just so good — I just don't know what else to say."
"Oh my gosh, not even as a player, I just love the girl," Tualatin junior shortstop Bella Valdes said. "She's a great role model and a great leader. She pushed me to do better each game."
This year, Johansen made a different kind of sacrifice for the team. When Valdes was injured back on April 24, Johansen moved from her familiar spot at first base to take over at shortstop. And, what makes that more improbable, and more impressive, is that Johansen is left-handed.
"Bella got hurt, and someone had to step up," Johansen said. "It's all about the team, and what's best for the team. (Junior) Savannah (Braun) came in and played at first (base), and did amazingly for how ever long we needed her to, and then she went back and did a great job in the outfield."
"She's amazing," Valdes said of Johansen's play at shortstop. "She's never played the left side of the field before, but it was great to have her step in, and she really stepped up. It was amazing."
Johansen will continue her scholastic softball career at Portland State University.
"I'm really looking forward to it," she said.
Valdes made her return to shortstop during Saturday's state championship game.
"I broke my third and fourth carpal bones in my (left) hand," Valdes said of her April 24 injury. "I was sliding into second and slid on top of my hand and broke those two bones. It was really frustrating for me. I started base-running, which was good, and I finally got back out there at shortstop."
Valdes, maybe more than anyone else, was hoping that the Wolves would make a return trip to the championship game this season.
"At the doctor's, they told us five weeks," she said of the injury. "And so, I looked, and five weeks away was the Wednesday before state, so I knew I'd come back for the state game. I wasn't telling people, but I knew, deep down, that I was going to play. I'm so glad I got to play again. This is where I wanted to be."
Tualatin will be losing three seniors from this year's team — second baseman Andrea Gomez, outfielder Lily Marshall and Johansen — to graduation.
"They're so great, and they put so much into it for us," Wagner said of the seniors. "I'm sad to lose them next year."
Still, the Wolves have the potential to return a strong group of players in 2020, as they could vie for a third-straight trip to the Class 6A state championship game.
"She definitely should have a strong returning group," Ridings said. "We're only losing three seniors, and we know what it takes to get here. We definitely have this in our sights for next season."
"Tia and I have been here since freshman year, so we're ready to come out better than ever," Valdes said. "Hopefully, we can have a good run at it like we did this year."
"I'm hoping," Wagner said with a smile. "I'm ready for next season — let's go."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.