Johnson Selected USA Softball Japan Cup Team

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Kentucky softball player Molly Johnson was selected to represent the USA Softball Women's National team program at the Japan Cup in Sendai, Japan, July 31-Aug. 2, the Amateur Softball Association of America announced Monday afternoon.

Johnson was one of 16 players selected to the Japan Cup, one of three events for USA Softball this summer.

"This is such an honor for me," Johnson said. "This opportunity is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to suit up alongside the best players in the country. I'm ecstatic to represent the United States this summer."

The three teams were comprised after a selection camp last week in Chula Vista, Calif., and the rosters will represent a new era of USA Softball as there are only eight returning players from the 2008 Olympic team.

Johnson joins USA Softball veterans Jennie Finch, Lauren Lappin and Natasha Watley to the 2009 Japan Cup team. She will also suit up alongside fellow SEC softball players Courtney Bures (Mississippi State), Stacey Nelson (Florida), Brittany Rogers (Alabama) and Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) in Japan.

"I couldn't be happier for Molly," said Kentucky coach Rachel Lawson. "To see an athlete's hard work and dedication pay off in a way that she is afforded an opportunity to play on a world's stage, is a moment that every coach feels honored to have witnessed."

Johnson is one of just five collegiate underclassmen to earn selection to the Japan Cup team. Valorie Arioto (Cal), Stacie Chambers (Arizona), Alissa Haber (Stanford) and Brittany Lastrapes (Arizona) join UK's star as players with remaining collegiate eligibility.

Kentucky's rising senior was named UK's first All-America selection after leading the Wildcats to the program's first NCAA tournament appearance. Johnson was also selected to the Southeast All-Region team in addition to her All-SEC First team honors. The versatile player from Tucson, Ariz., has started 164 consecutive games for Kentucky at three different positions: shortstop, third base and catcher.

Despite only suiting up for the Blue and White for three seasons, Johnson is arguably the best player to ever go through Kentucky's program. She ranks first in the career record books in a number of categories including batting average (.395) and slugging percentage (.648). Additionally, she ranks in the record books in the following categories: hits (sixth), runs batted in (fifth), doubles (second), triples (seventh), home runs (third), total bases (fourth), stolen bases (fourth) and assists (fifth).

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