Jenny-Lynn Johnson

St. James softball star Jenny-Lynn Johnson is MyHorryNews.com's 2021 Player of the Year. 

As far as sales pitches went, one for St. James shortstop Jenny-Lynn Johnson was pretty stout.

“When you’re putting together an all-area team, everybody is legit. There’s good softball in the area. Everybody has good players,” Sharks coach Adam Jones said. “But what sets her apart is that she’s mentally playing chess and everyone else is playing checkers. She’s so dialed into the game.”

While Johnson’s coach was obviously high on his first-year standout, her production on the field was actually even more impressive than Jones’ words.

After moving from Florida last summer, Johnson hesitantly came out for the team and proceeded to lead the area with a .626 batting average, knock in 31 RBIs, earn nods as the Region VI-5A Player of the Year and Class 5A All-State team and now MyHorryNews.com's 2021 Player of the Year honors. In the process of all that, Johnson helped St. James to the Region VI-5A title.

“I always want to be the best,” she said. “That’s not just in softball but in everything. I don’t take defeat easily. I don’t like losing. I want everything. I want the ball. I feel like if I was going to get in the box in the seventh inning with two outs, I could produce something.”

That confidence was in large part attributed to a move by Jones during the first games of the season.

After having her bat second early on, he quickly switched her to the No. 3 spot, one that was a driving force for the rest of the Sharks’ high-powered lineup. 

“He always said, ‘I know you can do this. Relax and play your game,’” Johnson said. “Him having so much confidence in me helped me have confidence in me.”

It’s something that she’ll carry into her senior season right along with the vast majority of her teammates from this year’s region championship campaign. Johnson said the team has a “paved path” toward more success.

As for Jones, he knows who will be driving.

“We have players who start off hitting .600 through the first six or seven or even nine games. But she did it through the entire year,” Jones said. “You expect her to plateau or level off. She never did. She produced in every single game. She never had an off game. An off game for her was two-for-four. She’d beat herself up and then next game she’d go three-for-four or four-for four. She was just out of the stratosphere.”

MYHORRYNEWS.COM ALL-COUNTY SOFTBALL TEAM

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jenny-Lynn Johnson

School | St. James

Position | Shortstop

Grade | Junior

Year in review | Region VI-5A Player of the Year and Class 5A All-State selection led the area with a .636 batting average and finished the year with 31 RBIs and 34 stolen bases. 

Caroline Davis

School | Green Sea Floyds

Position | First base

Grade | Senior

Year in review | Capped off a distinguished career with the Trojans by hitting .429 with three home runs and a triple. Also had a .919 fielding percentage from her spot at first.

Kennedy Ellis

School | Aynor

Position | Pitcher/outfield

Grade | Senior

Year in review | Class 3A All-State selection and Region VII-3A Player of the Year hit .418 with 15 RBIs while going 7-3 with a 2.08 ERA and 113 strikeouts from the pitching rubber.

Madi Kraus

School | St. James

Position | First base

Grade | Sophomore

Year in review | All-Region VI-5A selection led the area with 45 RBIs while batting .526 with nine home runs, four triples and 10 doubles. Finished season with a .990 slugging percentage.

Kenzie McCoy

School | Loris

Position | Outfield

Grade | 7th

Year in review | Lions centerfielder finished with a team-high .459 batting average and 33 runs scored while also stealing 13 bases and putting up 17 RBIs.

Madison Needle

School | Myrtle Beach

Position | Outfield, shortstop, pitcher

Grade | Senior

Year in review | Five-year Seahawk starter finished her career with 110 career hits after batting .500 as a senior with six doubles and six stolen bases in 13 games.

Haley Owens

School | Green Sea Floyds

Position | First base, outfield

Grade | Sophomore

Year in review | Led the Trojans with a .442 batting average and .529 on-base percentage while hitting seven doubles and a home run and playing three different positions.

Macy Prince

School | North Myrtle Beach

Position | Catcher

Grade | Junior

Year in review | All-Region VI-4A selection hit .407 with four home runs and 14 RBIs while not committing a single error from her spot behind home plate all season.

Peyton Rabon

School | Aynor

Position | Catcher

Grade | Senior

Year in review | Power-hitting backstop finished with eight home runs, including one in the lower state finals, 26 RBIs and a .411 batting average while striking out just twice all year.

Melanie Spielman

School | St. James

Position | Outfield

Grade | Junior

Year in review | Batted .535 with 17 RBIs and nine extra-base hits and stole 20 bases while not committing an error en route to All-Region VI-5A honors for the region champion Sharks. 

Natalie Spiva

School | St. James

Position | Third base, pitcher

Grade | Junior

Year in review | Hit .412 with runners in scoring position and .426 overall with 31 RBIs, six home runs, two triples and 11 doubles. Also won five games from the pitching rubber.

Jay Wrightsman

School | Socastee

Position | Shortstop

Grade | Senior

Year in review | Coastal Carolina University commitment, Class 5A All-State honoree and North-South All-Star section batted .435 with 11 home runs, eight doubles and 35 RBIs. 

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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