Chase Johnston didn’t play much as a junior.
He was determined to get better so he could change that this spring.
And that has happened for the senior catcher, who has played a part in the Mason baseball team being back in the semifinals of the Dean Shippey Capital Diamond Classic for a second straight year.
Johnston had a pair of big hits two weeks ago that has the Bulldogs still in contention for their first Diamond Classic title in school history
And it was the work Johnston put in during the offseason that has given him an opportunity to make big plays for Mason, which will try to extend its season when it faces Holt at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Cooley Law School Stadium in a Diamond Classic semifinal.
That work included spending plenty of time at MPS Baseball Academy in Mason.
“I went to MPS about five days a week and batted just because last season I didn’t bat as good as I would like to,” Johnston said. “That was one of the reasons I didn’t play as much as I had in the past (last year). I made sure that this season I was going to be prepared and I wasn’t going to come out and have a bad showing. I think it had a lot to do with preparation in the offseason.”
That journey made delivering a pair of run-scoring hits in the final two innings that aided Mason’s comeback from a five-run deficit in a Diamond Classic-opening win over Haslett special for Johnston, who is signed to continue his baseball career at Kalamazoo Valley. And Mason coach Scott Berman has enjoyed seeing Johnston rewarded this spring for his persistence and commitment to improving.
“He worked, really, really hard this offseason,” Berman said. “He didn’t play much last season even though he was a captain. He has been an emotional leader and he has been one of our consistent hard hitters. It couldn’t happen to a better kid. His hard work that he put in all year and putting up with not playing last year and being frustrated and then to be here in this moment (is big).”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
(at Cooley Law School Stadium)
DeWitt vs. Grand Ledge, 5:30 p.m.
Mason vs. Holt, 7:30 p.m.