WEST MADISON — It was said over and over again. Scott High School’s Allyson Johnson is not just a great girls’ softball player, but she is a great student, leader and role model in her school and in her community.
“West Liberty is lucky to get Allyson,” said Josh Brumfield, Vice Principal and athletic director at Scott. “Not only is she a great softball player, but she is great student and person as well.”
There is nothing more exciting for a coach than to see one of their players move on to the next level.
“We are so proud of Allyson,” said her assistant coach Rodney Miller. “We have come a long way with a lot of hard work.”
Miller said it all started back in the old A.S.A. league, when Allyson was only 6 years old.
“She won more championship back then than just about anyone,” Miller recalled. “She is a 6-time champion in A.S.A.”
Allyson’s travel ball coach Ronnie Burdette with the West Virginia Wild Ones and his wife, Bev, were in attendance, as well as her Lady Skyhawk teammates, coaches, school officials, family and friends.
“She has the whole package as an athlete,” said Bev Burdette. “But she is also a super, all-around, good kid. We know that she is going to go far in life.”
Madison Middle School vice principal A.B. Brown also spoke about his experience with Allyson.
“We are just so proud of Allyson,” Brown said. “She has worked hard for this and we love her and wish her the best.”
Scott girls’ softball head coach D.A. Harless said the first time he saw Allyson she was only 6 years old.
“He comes this little cotton-top on the field with her catcher’s helmet on sideways, her chest protector and shin guards covering her body and she was dragging along saying, ‘I’m hot…I don’t want to play,’” Harless recalled. “We said, ‘Who is that kid?’ Someone said that is P.J. and Bonnie’s daughter. I didn’t think she was going to make it as a softball player, but boy did she prove us wrong.”
Harless said Allyson is not only a role model to her teammates and other students, but to his own daughter as well.
“My daughter hangs out with Allyson a lot and she even acts like her a lot on and off the field,” he said. “I am so proud of Allyson. The hard work she has put in since she was a little girl has paid off. I feel like she looks at me as a part of her family and I do her as well.”
Harless said Allyson’s parents deserve so much credit for their daughter’s success on and off the field.
“I want to thank everyone that came today,” Allyson’s mother Bonnie Johnson said. “You don’t know how special all of you are to us. We would not be here without all of you. We are a softball family and we love all of you.”
Bonnie Johnson said just within the last few months she has noticed her daughter becoming an adult.
“I love her dearly and I wish her all the happiness in the world, while making all of her dreams come true,” she said.
Then, in a very emotional moment, Allyson’s mother spoke of a belt her daughter was wearing and a prayer cloth her daughter was carrying at the ceremony.
“She is wearing the belt her late-grandfather Joe Johnson got from Mexico and she also has a prayer cloth that my late mother gave her long ago,” Bonnie Johnson said. “She keeps this prayer cloth with her most of the time and we always remember that every day is special. So don’t let a day go by without telling the people you love that you care about them, because one day they may not be here.”
After that, a tearful father tried to speak about his daughter.
“There is not a lot I can say after that,” P.J. Johnson, Allyson’s father, said. “It’s been a great ride.”
Bonnie Johnson said through her daughter, she and her husband have been able to travel to places they otherwise would not have been.
“It’s so wonderful to make so many new friends and go so many places,” she said.
Bonnie Johnson also told a story of Allyson’s other grandmother running into a woman that knew Allyson.
“She said when they were talking about the girl that plays for the Scott girls’ softball team the woman said, ‘Are you talking about Pig?’”
Pig is Allyson’s nickname, and many around the state that know about Scott High’s star softball player don’t know her real name.
“They just know her by the name Pig,” her mother said with a laugh. “We think that’s really funny.”
Allyson said when she was about 7 years old, her paw-paw came to see her pitch at an A.S.A. League game.
“It was the first game he had come to and at the end he said, ‘That’ll do, that’ll do little pig,’ from the movie ‘Babe,’” Allyson recalled. “My dad thought it was funny and the nickname stuck.”
Allyson said she began softball as a catcher, then a pitcher, then played centerfield before moving to shortstop where she has played most of her high school career.
Her high school and travel career stats show her to be a great hitter. Last year, her batting average was .500 with an on base percentage of .672. She hit 16 doubles, 3 triples, 4 homeruns and drove in 28.
In 2011, she was named 1st team All Cardinal Conference and All Academic team, All State Honorable Mention and awarded the high school team’s captain.
In 2012, she was again named All State Honorable Mention and 1st team All Cardinal Conference and All Academic team and she didn’t strike out in the entire season.
Allyson will be on the field this spring for her senior year and she has high expectations.
“I think we are going to do everything that we want, which is going to the state championship game and winning it,” she said.
Allyson has a maturity level not seen in many high school teens today.
“I don’t do any illegal things or party or stuff my mom and dad would not be proud of,” she said. “I know that my teammates and friends look to me as a role model and leader and that is something I don’t take lightly. I want to be a good example for them and help them in any way I can.”
Allyson was also recruited by West Virginia State, Fairmont, Radford U in Va., and Glenville.
“I picked West Liberty because it seem very family-oriented,” she said. “I wanted to go somewhere that I was really, really wanted and they made me feel that way.”
Allyson said she will be majoring in criminal justice/pre-law.
“I am either going to become a lawyer, or I am going to try to become a detective and move into the U.S. Secret Service one day,” she said.
After Allyson thanked everyone for attending the ceremony and finished speaking, her assistant coach Rodney Miller kissed her on the head and said, “That’ll do, that’ll do little pig.”