For the last 10 years, Rio Americano has had one of the nicest baseball fields in Sacramento, all thanks to Assistant Varsity Coach Richard Johnson. Johnson works on the fields during school, preps the fields before games, and cleans up after.
“I started when my son was in school here,” said Johnson. “After he graduated I kept taking care of the fields because I just enjoy it.”
Johnson truly has a passion for working the field, and has been doing it since 2005.
“I started out on JV, and eventually moved up to Varsity,” said Johnson. “My favorite part of the job is dragging the infield dirt on my tractor.”
Johnson puts so much work into the field and his efforts are much appreciated by the players and coaches.
“He’s put Rio on the map as having one of the best fields in the area,” said Senior first baseman Andre Balthazard. “Once I played on the Varsity field, I immediately knew that’s it’s one of the best i’ve ever played on. The fact that he’s out there almost every day means so much because most other schools in the area don’t have someone who cares as much about the program as Rich.”
Although his efforts on the field are incredible and much appreciated, Johnson brings much more to the team.
“Rich’s impact on the team goes far beyond what he does for our fields,” Head Varsity Coach Alec Smith said. “Rich is an emotional leader. When he speaks, we all listen.”
“Everytime I step on the field I feel like Rich has my back,” said senior Max Allard. “He also brings another sense of baseball knowledge because he’s experienced so much in baseball. He is valuable to our team in so many ways.”
Johnson has devoted his life to field management.
“I’m a part of the Sports Turf Management Association,” said Johnson. “It’s a group that works on various sports fields at high school, amaetur, college and even pro levels.”
Johnson means so much to the team and his passion and effort that he puts toward the baseball program makes him the heart and soul of the team.