COVINGTON, Ga. — A glass half full. That seems to describe senior Makinzie Johnson’s personality on and off the softball field at Alcovy High School.
Whether it’s at a practice or at a game, Johnson always seems to don a smile or share laughs with her teammates. In fact, fellow senior Ashlyn Hoy summed up Johnson as a “ray of sunshine.”
Having such a personality is a no brainer for Johnson.
“Would you rather have a sucky attitude or would you rather be happy?” Johnson said. “I’d rather be happy and make mistakes than be mad and make mistakes.”
Johnson highlighted that, despite the look, there are instances where it’s difficult to maintain such a persona.
“There have been so many times I have been like, ‘You know what, I can’t do this anymore.’ Then just taking a deep breath most of the time and knowing that, even if something were to go wrong, I’m not perfect,” Johnson said. “I make a lot of mistakes. But knowing the Lord’s here with me and I have this family and great friends around me is the best thing you can ask for.”
Johnson began channeling her positivity through softball at 4 years old.
For the first six years of her childhood playing days, Johnson’s dad was her coach. Her earliest softball memories are at Earl O’Neal Complex in Conyers.
Then, Marcus Smith — who is currently an assistant coach for the Lady Tigers — was Johnson’s travel ball coach. So, she was playing recreation league softball in addition to playing on the travel ball circuit.
This game is so much more than just a game. Developing your character, your mental toughness and, not only physically, but you’re out here going through so much…Makinzie Johnson
Johnson accentuated her desire to first come into the sport that has also fueled her career to this point.
“You come to a point when you’re younger where you develop a love for the game,” Johnson said. “You develop relationships with the coaches, families and friends. That’s where you grow as a person.”
Johnson continued her softball career as a Veterans Middle School Lady General. When she was coming through, sixth graders couldn’t play sports, so Johnson served as a manager for the softball team. The next two years, Johnson helped the team on the field.
In Johnson’s eighth grade year, the Lady Generals advanced to the championship game and finished second.
Johnson enjoys more aspects of the game than just the wins and losses, though.
“This game is so much more than just a game. Developing your character, your mental toughness and, not only physically, but you’re out here going through so much,” Johnson said. “You’re coming out here when you don’t want to be out here. It’s so much more than the sport is. Every girl that has played to the standard that we’re playing here, you’re not going to hear somebody say, ‘I’m just out here to be out here.’ You have to have some love for the game.”
Johnson has played all over the field to help her team. Her first position was shortstop, but she has also been a first and second baseman.
Her middle school days is when Johnson stepped into her primary role at third base.
Head coach Miranda Lamb called Johnson’s defensive play in that position as being a “vacuum.” Evidence of that can be found in Johnson’s .933 fielding percentage in her junior year.
Johnson mentioned how supportive her head coach has been in her high school career.
“To hear that Lamb had played third and she was with me. She was texting me when I made the team and made a comment like, ‘I know a few things about third. I got you,’” Johnson said. “So I was like, ‘This is it. This is my spot. That’s where I’m supposed to be.’”
Throughout Johnson’s four-year Lady Tiger career, the program has experienced great success. They ended a seven-year playoff drought and captured the first region title since 2015 a season ago.
Johnson has played a pivotal role on the team. In fact, Johnson recorded a .351 batting average, had four home runs and 34 RBIs in addition to her defensive play.
Now, Johnson and her teammates aspire to do more in 2023. The Lady Tigers enter the new season on Aug. 4 at Apalachee. Then, Region 3-AAAAAA play commences on Aug. 17 at Forest Park.
When the games begin, the Lady Tigers are aiming for a run in Columbus. And, coming up short in the Super Regionals last year has only fueled that desire more.
“At the end of that game last year, I wanted more,” Johnson said. “I knew that this upcoming season we were going to push harder. We’re going to move forward. We’re not losing.
“We’re not only going to make it. We’re going to compete.”