Bovard manager Mike Johnson a baseball fanatic
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mike Johnson doesn't allow his age, 43, to prevent him from playing competitive baseball with the younger players.
In fact, the Hempfield Township native plays on four teams during the year and all of the teams are very good.
He was player/manager of the Bovard team that won consecutive Indiana County League titles. It was the first time in his 24 years of playing for Bovard that the team celebrated a title.
He also played for another Bovard team in the Pittsburgh Baseball over-28 League that lost in the league championship game to a team from Pittsburgh earlier this month.
He's playing for Dino's in the Latrobe/Derry over-40 League, and Johnson expects to challenge for the title.
Next month he'll be headed to Fort Myers, Fla. to play for another Pittsburgh-based team in the Roy Hobbs World Series. Pittsburgh was the winner last year, and Johnson pitched during the tournament.
“I was hoping for the trifecta,” Johnson said about winning the three league titles. “We came up a little short.”
But it's the Bovard team in the Indiana County League that puts a smile on Johnson's face. His versatility allows him to play all over the infield. He also pitches in relief, and last year in Fort Myers, his fastball was clocked at 85 mph.
“I used to throw 89-90 when I was younger,” Johnson said. “Then I had shoulder problems. I do a lot of exercises, and the shoulder hasn't been an issue.”
Bovard has been one of the top teams in the Indiana County League the past five seasons. Johnson has been able to assemble plenty of talent from around Greensburg.
“We've received a lot of support from the Bovard Fire Department, the community and Flash,” Johnson said. “They like to watch us play, and Flash makes sure the field is always ready to play. We've also had great sponsors in the Ash Club and Tom's Bar. I know the players from both teams are appreciative of their support.”
Johnson, a 1987 graduate of Hempfield Area High School and a 1991 graduate of Indiana (Pa.), has played for Bovard since he was 20.
He's also coached at Westmoreland County Community College with Mike Draghi, and was an assistant and then head coach at Pitt Greensburg.
Currently, he helps good friend Tim Buzzard at Hempfield.
“I love the game,” Johnson said. “I like going to the Pirates' games and college games.
“Baseball is like a hobby for me. It's my passion. When I play or coach, it doesn't feel like a job.”
Johnson said it is pretty much baseball all of the time except for November, December and early January.
He said a loving and understanding wife, Bridget, and a daughter, Shawna, are his biggest supporters and they allow him to continue to play.
“They are there for me, and I'm there for my daughter when I watch her cheer at football and basketball games,” Johnson said.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-836-5095.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Peat adds to Stanford offensive line legacy
- NFL Draft preview: Thin crop of offensive tackles available
- Penguins Insider: Series has enough gamesmanship
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Pirates notebook: Fan struck by foul ball released from hospital
- Shooting reported at Webster Avenue bar in Hill District
- Step up in class doesn’t hold back Deer Lakes baseball team
- Rangers enjoy benefits of strong start
- Steelers open daunting season at Patriots, play 5 prime-time games
- Dinner in Minutes: Stir-fry beef dish flavors leftover rice
- Savor salmon’s wild side of distinctive flavors, textures