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Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Phillipsburg girls knock off TMP at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Hays High girls snap losing skid -2/15/2015, 2:21 PM

Hays High stunned by Liberal at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger women's streak halted at Pitt State -2/15/2015, 10:26 AM

Tiger softball 1-3 to start season -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger men fall at Pitt -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tigers drop to 0-2 with losses to Mines, Regis -2/15/2015, 1:10 AM

KU coach kicks off tour in Hays -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

K-State guard Johnson laughs off hecklers at W. Virginia -2/13/2015, 10:13 AM

The Tigers' do-it-all Shaw -2/13/2015, 11:10 AM

Samac staying on court, providing big games for Tigers -2/13/2015, 11:09 AM

Wichita State baseball players see winning as antidote to distractions -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals, Herrera agree -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Royals purchase contract of Derek Gordon -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

KU's Ellis near 1,000 points -2/13/2015, 10:12 AM

Hoxies' record just a matter of time? -2/12/2015, 3:26 PM

New coach, new season for FHSU softball -2/12/2015, 11:25 AM

Tigers look for better pitching in 2015 -2/12/2015, 10:14 AM

Shox roll to win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

Kansas State rally again falls short at W. Virginia -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

FHSU wrestling rolls to dual win -2/12/2015, 10:04 AM

2015 Eight-Man All-Star rosters -2/11/2015, 11:54 AM

Indiana State backcourt thrives with new characters -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Scott City rolls over TMP -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Jayhawks cruise past Texas Tech -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Kansas State braces for Mountaineers' full-court press -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Salina Central outlasts Hays High -2/11/2015, 10:24 AM

Tigers' Lehman earns seventh MIAA honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

FHSU's Samac earns MIAA men's honor -2/9/2015, 1:56 PM

KBCA rankings, Feb. 9 -2/9/2015, 1:47 PM

Big day for Plainville grad Dani Winters -2/9/2015, 11:24 AM

Cowboys' Forte plays through flu -2/9/2015, 10:17 AM

At KU, Smith played on scout team -2/9/2015, 10:16 AM

North Carolina coaching icon Dean Smith dies at 83 -2/8/2015, 5:19 PM

Wichita State easily beats weakened Missouri State -2/8/2015, 4:52 PM

FHSU men hold off Hornets -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

TMP's Rhoades third in Phillipsburg -2/8/2015, 8:58 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
'Hojo' settles in to DH spot for Tigers

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'Hojo' settles in to DH spot for Tigers

Published on -2/20/2014, 10:15 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Horace Johnson goes by multiple names. His full name is Horace Ryan Johnson and went by Ryan until his senior year of high school in Raymore, Mo. Then, his teammates found out his actual name was Horace, a family name.

Johnson first attended Seminole State (Okla.) College before he came to Fort Hays State University last season. At FHSU, coach Steve Johnson calls Johnson "Hojo." Johnson also wears a necklace that his mom gave him. It's a paseo that says "Hojo."

"They started calling me Horace, so I wasn't going to fight it," he said. "I was just like, 'OK, you can call me that.' Then, it just kind of stuck and then Hojo came along."

Johnson doesn't mind any of the names.

"I could go up to the same person and introduce myself twice and the first time be Horace and the second time be Ryan."

"Whoever is playing better," he added with a smile. "If Horace is playing better, that's who I am. If it's Ryan, that's who I am."

Regardless of his name, Johnson is one of NCAA Division II's top designated hitters and a rarity in recent Fort Hays history.  

Last spring, Johnson started 30 of the Tigers' 45 games at DH and delivered a .336 average with nine homers and 34 RBIs.

Since 1997, Johnson had the most starts at DH by a Tiger since Josh Gilstrap had 55 in 2002 and 32 in 2001, according to FHSU sports information research.

Johnson did strike out a team-high 38 times, but also carried a .395 on-base percentage and .587 slugging percentage.

He collected first team all-MIAA at DH and was first and second team all-Region by two different services.    Johnson earned second team preseason All-American DH honors this spring.

"He did a great job at DH," coach Johnson said. "I am hoping this year we see what we have been seeing in practice that he has really matured as a hitter. When he was good last year, he was as good as anybody."

Johnson and junior Cooper Langley were expected to split time at first base and designated hitter this spring. Last weekend, Johnson started two games at DH and one at first as FHSU went 1-2 in a season-opening road series at Texas A&M-International. Johnson leads the team with a .545 average (6 of 11) with two doubles.

On Friday, FHSU opens a three-game home series against Pittsburg State University (1-2).

The home opener is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Larks Park.

"Last year was a lot of fun," Johnson said. "Even as a DH, which is kind of a different part of baseball, because you are not in the game. You sit on the bench more than you play, but it's hitting. Hitting is fun. It's the best part of baseball, in my opinion."

2013 marked the first year Johnson had been a full-time DH at any level. In the last several seasons, FHSU has used the DH in different ways. In 2010, catchers Sloan Soulia and Ryan Majercik split time behind the plate and at DH.

In 2011, Johnson's first year as coach, J.C. Ochoa, also a first baseman, started 26 of 51 games at DH. In 2012, Mace Krol, also a first baseman, was DH in 25 of 53 contests.

Gilstrap, Jeff Frase (37 starts in 1998), Ian Van Kooten (30 starts in 2000) and Johnson are the lone Tigers to start more than 29 games at DH in the last 16 years.

Southwest Minnesota State University's Steven Kremer, who finished second to Johnson on one all-region team last spring, had just 27 starts at DH.

"Every team dictates what you do," coach Johnson said. "Sometimes, you don't have the option to have a pure DH. It's where you put an extra bat, and it kind of depends on the day. Sometimes you are blessed to have enough big bats at certain positions that somebody has to become a full-time DH.

During downtime, Johnson cheered on teammates, ate sunflower seeds, watched the game and thought about at-bats. Following the World Series last fall showed Johnson the importance of a DH.

"David Ortiz, it's exciting to watch him this year in the World Series," Johnson said. "He carried his team, so even though you are not on the field, you are still helping your team. It's definitely changed the way I look at baseball. But it's difficult."

Johnson had some struggles last fall. He had 13 multi-hit games, including the team's only 5-hit contest, and tied for the team lead with 10 multi-RBI contests. But he also struck out at least twice in nine contests. For this season, the coaching staff talked with Johnson about consistency and having productive outs by seeing a lot of pitches or hitting the ball hard.

"There were the slumps," coach Johnson said. "The only thing that happens with maturity with hitters is you cut down your slumps. You don't make your best better. You cut down on your worst. I can see him hitting for a higher average this year. I can see him with more productive at-bats."

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