Mary Claire Johnson is sticking with the Bears, signs with Southwest MS softball

Published 1:29 pm Saturday, March 11, 2023

West Lincoln fans will tell you — “once a bear, always a bear.”

There’s an extra bit of truth in that statement for senior softball standout Mary Claire Johnson. Johnson signed a letter-of-intent this week to continue her academic and athletic career for the Southwest Mississippi Community College Bears.

Watch Johson play softball for coach Anita Thornton or basketball for coach Alissa Adams and you’ll see an athlete that goes all-out with her effort and intentions. She’s vocal in her communications with her teammates and has been counted on to lead from a young age.

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Johnson had to miss some of the early season softball games while playing at the guard position for a West Lincoln girls’ basketball team that finished 23-2 and made the MHSAA 2A quarterfinals.

On the hardcourt, she’s a slick shooting wing that opposing defenses work to stop.

On the softball diamond, Johnson runs down balls as an outfielder and uses her speed to get on the base paths while needing to make just minimal contact near the top of the lineup for coach Anita Thornton.

West Lincoln is 7-2 thus far in 2023.

“Mary Clarie is a special player that works hard and has a great attitude,” said Thornton. “She is a leader on and of the field and is one of those players that you want to have on your team.”

Southwest is off to a 10-8 start in 2023 for coach Shea Johnson. Johnson is in his eighth year as the head coach in Summit and the Bears are coming off back-to-back seasons of more than 20 wins.

Sophomore Madi Smith (Brookhaven Academy), freshman Kayci Beth Wallace (Bogue Chitto) and freshman Anne Claire Sistrunk (Lawrence County) are players from the area that currently play for the Bears.

“We’ll definitely miss Mary Claire next year, but I’m excited to see what role she’ll play for Southwest,” said Thornton. “Thanks to Coach Johnson for giving MC this opportunity and I can assure you that he’ll not be disappointed in what she brings to the team.”