Walter Johnson crowned Athlete of the Week

Blugold Baseball team member receives recognition for performance

Liz Curtin

More stories from Liz Curtin



Walter Johnson goes over his history with baseball and how he got here

Walter Johnson recently received Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Kwik Trip Athlete Of The Week for his performance on the Blugold baseball team from April 10 to 16. 

This marks the second time this semester that a member of the baseball team has received this title after Matt Moore. 

Johnson is a second-year business finance student from Minnetonka, Minnesota who plays First Base on the Blugold team. He received other accolades back in high school like batting average champion, an Outstanding Player in the Tournament award in 2019 and more. 

The team has won two games this season, the most recent on April 14 when Johnson made four hits. During the four most recent games against UW-Platteville, he had a total of nine hits and three home runs.

The team hasn’t played since with their past three games being either postponed or canceled. Their next game will be a double-header against UW-Stout on April 26.

He currently has a batting average of .439, an on-base percentage of .487 and a slugging percentage of .682. His coach, Charles Bolden, said Johnson has made a lot of improvements. 

“He’s a kid that’s always looking to get better, really coachable and really open to just learning new things all the time,” Bolden said. 

Johnson said he’s been playing baseball since he was six and was inspired to pick up the sport after receiving a baseball bat as a gift and through watching Minnesota Twins games. 

“I always thought Target Field was the coolest field. I remember I always wanted to be able to play on it one day,” Johnson said. 

He explained if he had made it to state finals in high school then he would have played at the stadium but for now it’s just a dream. 

During the start of his baseball career, Johnson said his mom was very supportive by going to all of his games, buying his equipment driving him to and from until he was able to. In addition to baseball, he said he used to play hockey as well but quit to focus on Baseball in college. 

He said he almost quit baseball in his freshman year of high school because he was afraid of quitting little league and moving on. 

During his high school senior year, he explained that a friend of his broke their arm and was unable to play baseball afterward which is why he tries to “enjoy the moment.” He said he is very thankful to not have had to go through any major injuries like that.

When looking for colleges, Johnson said he was drawn to Eau Claire by the school and the opportunity to play on a newly formed baseball team. 

Now, on the Blugold baseball team, Johnson has made friends and hung out with members of the team which he says has a strong bond. Bolden has noticed how much Johnson’s personality has brightened up the team. 

“He’s high energy for sure. A guy that you know has got a big smile and somebody that you know is a selfless person. He’s always looking to help other people,” Bolden said. 

Bolden explained he’s also happy with the consistency that Johnson has displayed throughout the games.

Bolden said he wants more members of the team to receive WIAC Athlete Of The Week for their hard work and they can achieve that by being consistent and thinking positively.

“It’s a game of failure, so not allowing the failures to beat you up, keeping a good attitude, and just looking to get better all the time,” Bolden said.

Johnson’s teammate David Janssen, a third-year marketing analytics student, noticed Johnson has made a lot of progress this year. 

“Every time he goes up to bat you always know there’s a chance he could hit a home run or have a big hit,” Janssen said. 

In addition, Janssen explained that Johnson also does a lot for the team and is very selfless. 

“He’s always been an upbeat guy trying to make everyone laugh and he is always happy,” Janssen said.

Johnson says some of the strategies he’s employed to improve his game is he tries to maintain good mental health and used to meditate once or twice a week. 

“I’ve learned that baseball is more of a mind game than a physical game when it comes down to every detail of every game,” Johnson said. 

Bolden said Johnson’s mindset is one of his strengths. Johnson said he hopes to keep playing after college, continuing what he’s done since he was a kid.

“I would say to my little self to just enjoy the moment because you never know when it’s gonna end,” Johnson said. 

Curtin can be found at [email protected]