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Pine-Richland's Johnson commits to Kent State for baseball

| Sunday, July 16, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Another week of the summer baseball season passed, and another Pine-Richland rising junior committed to a Division I program.

Outfielder Josh Johnson was the latest Rams player to accept a scholarship offer when he committed to Kent State. Johnson joins classmates Matt Wood (Penn State) and Troy LaNeve (Vanderbilt) in committing to Division I programs before the start of their junior years.

For Johnson, there was little hesitation on the decision.

The first time he saw Kent State was his freshman year, when he went to participate in a baseball camp for the Golden Flashes.

He said the member of the Mid-American Conference has been his top choice since.

“I kind of wanted to make my decision this summer just to have it locked in. Kent State has always been that one college for me,” Johnson said.

“They've been on me since my freshman year, and it just seems like the right fit for me there, based on the coaches, the campus and everything.”

To get noticed by the Kent State staff, Johnson focused on improving his 60-yard dash time, which is considered an important measurable for college coaches when scouting for high school outfielders. Beyond that, the rising junior said he spent countless hours refining his swing and lifting weights.

His commitment comes after a season in which he helped Pine-Richland win a WPIAL Class 6A championship. Johnson's .317 batting average was second best on the team.

Though he has accomplished a considerable amount in a short amount of time in high school, Johnson said he's ready to keep working hard.

“I have the scholarship in my room, and I just keep looking at it,” Johnson said. “That's my motivation now. I want to go out there and keep working so that I can do the best that I can. I want to make myself better each and every day.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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