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Athletics at CR : Baseball Last Updated: Aug 12, 2014 - 4:23:24 PM


CR pitcher Kenton Johnson headed to Sioux Falls
By Jackie Christensen
Aug 12, 2014 - 4:22:43 PM

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College of the Redwoods sophomore pitcher Kenton Johnson will continue his baseball career at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota next fall.
The 6-foot, 1-inch, left-handed starting pitcher, who graduated from McKinleyville High School in 2011, accepted a partial athletic scholarship to join the Cougars last week.
“All I know is they don’t have any left-handed pitchers so I’ll have a good opportunity to earn a spot in the starting rotation,” said Johnson, who also went 4-1 as a starter over the summer with the newly-formed Humboldt B-52’s, adding a 30.2 consecutive scoreless inning streak with a 1.23 ERA. “I’m just going to go into it with the same game plan I’ve had which is to keep the ball low and stay healthy. If I can do that I should have a pretty good shot.”
Johnson, who graduated high school the same year CR announced it would be temporarily suspending the baseball program for two seasons due to budget cuts, decided to test the waters at Monterey Peninsula, where he spent two seasons, red-shirting the first and losing a year of eligibility the second despite pitching in only one game.
“He didn’t have a place to play college baseball locally so he went to Monterey,” said CR head coach Bob Brown. “When he came home we were very excited to have him back, but, unfortunately he lost a year of eligibility and we could only get him for one season.”
For Johnson, it was just a case of wrong place at the wrong time.
“My second year (at Monterey) they had a really strong sophomore group and I basically just got to watch as we went on to win the conference,” he said. “Even though I wasn’t playing a lot, I was still learning a lot, and I think overall sitting out gave me a lot of mental toughness.”
That mental toughness would be put to the test immediately his sophomore season with the Corsairs.
In his opening start, which Redwoods lost to Mendocino 1-0, Johnson went seven strong innings with eight strikeouts, allowing only three hits.
It was one of seven games CR lost by only one run, and to make matters worse, Johnson had to be sidelined because of a shoulder injury just a few games into the season.
“It was a real set back for him,” Brown said. “But, at the same time, I think it motivated him.”
Although Johnson finished the year with an 0-5 record and a 5.62 ERA, according to coach Brown, his stats don’t really tell his story.
“For whatever reason, when he threw, we just didn’t give him the defensive or offensive support he needed,” Brown said. “His record is not at all indicative of the type of competitor he is. He was our most consistent pitcher and someone who stood out right from the start. Every time he took the mound he gave us everything he had and that’s really all you can ask.”

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