by Cerwin D Haynes
(photo courtesy of University of Texas Permian Basin)
East Los Angeles College softball first baseman Puatausaga "Pua" Johnson (whom was featured yesterday in our Ask A Husky article series) has accepted a scholarship offer to play for the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) for the 2020-2021 school year. The 2018 South Coast Conference First-Teamer was hitting .407 (16th in the SCC) when the 2020 season was suspended, and her 16 RBI trailed only Eliza Flores (20) for best tally on the team.
Head Coach Erika Blanco is elated to have one of her top players transfer onward. "I'm really proud of Pua on her signing," says Coach Blanco. "I've had the pleasure of watching Pua grow into a leader on and off the field. She's one of the most goal driven, dedicated, passionate, and determined student-athlete that's walk through our doors."
Coach's praise of Johnson off the field can, in one way, be exhibited by her commitment in the classroom. Pua was one of 10 SCC players named to the 2020 3CFCA All-State Academic Team, having earned a minimum 3.5 GPA with 24 units completed after her initial season of competition.
Blanco is confident of what the Cedar City High School (Utah) graduate will bring to UTPB. "Texas is very lucky to have a player with this much talent and skill joining them in fall," coach exclaims. "Pua will make an immediate impact on and off the field for them."
The sophomore first baseman was one of the key driving forces behind a surging Huskies squad that had just begun to take off as play stopped. ELAC was 12-6 and had won five in a row to climb to second place in the SCC standings. "I felt very confident approaching the weeks laid ahead for us," said Johnson during her Ask A Husky interview. "Facing our other opponents, I envisioned us having a major breakthrough..." Johnson also mentioned that she had done extensive research on UTPB Falcons' program and felt that the opportunity was right for her. Permian Basin is an NCAA Division-II member, and plays in the Lone Star Conference.
"Pua will be missed not only for her talent but more so for her spirit and energy she brought every day these past 2 years," concluded Coach Blanco. "We wish her all the luck in this next chapter of her career."