LOUISVILLE, Kent. — No one has had a debut with Oklahoma Christian's softball program quite as impressive as Jaiden Johnson's was this past weekend, and she picked up another honor on Wednesday recognizing her excellence.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association chose Johnson as its NCAA Division II player of the week, the second time in as many seasons that an OC player has received that honor following the season's opening week. Kaylie Upton did so in 2019.
Johnson, a utility player, had a spectacular start for OC while playing in her hometown of Las Vegas in the Desert Stinger. In the five games, she hit .625 (10 of 16) with three home runs (including a grand slam), two doubles, 13 RBIs, 11 runs scored, a .684 on-base percentage and a 1.313 slugging percentage. She also stole seven bases in as many attempts.
The Eagles went 4-1 in the tournament, finishing third overall despite playing arguably the most challenging schedule of any team in the event, with games against three foes that made last season's NCAA Division II tournament. OC routed all three, beating Central Washington 11-3 in five innings, San Francisco State (Calif.) 17-4 in five innings and Western Oregon 14-9.
Johnson set a single-game school record with eight RBIs as the Eagles rolled past San Francisco State on Saturday, recording two run-scoring singles during a nine-run first inning and later adding a grand slam and a solo home run. She earlier was named as the Lone Star Conference's hitter of the week and made the Desert Stinger's all-tournament team.
"Jaiden had a great first weekend as an OC Eagle," OC coach Shanon Hays said. "Besides being an offensive force, she is a true utility player who can play any position well. That allows us to do a lot of things with our lineup and she can really throw behind the plate. She also can steal bases, which is a great benefit for your three-hole batter. She's been a great addition to our squad."
Johnson is the fourth OC player to receive a NFCA national player- or pitcher-of-the-week honor since the Eagles began competing at the Division II level with the 2013 season. Kala Ratliff (2014) and Upton (2019) won weekly hitting awards, while Shea Coats (2015) received a pitching award.
Two other OC players have received national player-of-the-week honors from the website “FastpitchNews.com”, both last season — infielder Brie Dunckel and pitcher Madison Hagood. Dunckel received her honor the same week Upton received hers from the NFCA, giving the OC program the rare status of having two national hitters of the week in the same week.