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Ex-policeman working Extra Innings

September 19, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - Richard L. "Rick" Johnson said his mother always hoped he would be a bank teller someday. Instead, Johnson decided that law enforcement was the career for him.

And a long career it has been, starting as a clerk at the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., for three years, then back to his native Greencastle, Pa., for a 4 1/2-year stint with the borough police, and then to the Hagerstown Police Department in 1980.

His official retirement date is Oct. 1 but he already has worked his last day with the department.

"I'll miss the friendships and the people you meet on the job," Johnson said.

But that is tempered by his excitement at what his future holds.

Now 53, Johnson has bought the Extra Innings franchise for this area. He and his son, Matt Johnson, 22, are going into business together.

"I'm the owner and Matt will be my general manager," Johnson said. Matt Johnson recently graduated from Bridgewater College in Virginia.

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A building in the Huyett Business Park has been leased and renovations are under way. The address is 16038 Business Parkway.

The warehouse has more than 20,000 square feet with 30-foot ceilings. There will be five indoor multipurpose tunnels, three automated batting cages, a training room, full pro shop, professional instruction, private and group lessons, and baseball and softball conditioning clinics.

In addition, there will be private party and meeting rooms, team and group rental rates, and membership packages, Johnson said.

Involved with his son's sports for many years, Johnson said this move seemed like a natural for both of them.

"Matt has always been a sports standout, so we traveled a lot to games and tournaments," Johnson said. "This area is really big in softball and baseball, and year-round training is really needed here."

After doing some research, Johnson found Extra Innings, which began in Massachusetts in 1996. Johnson's franchise was the first in Maryland, but he said another Extra Innings is set to open soon in Bel Air, Md.

This is a change of pace for Johnson as he looks back over his police career, and remembers the highs and the lows.

"There are some unsolved cases that still bother me," Johnson said. "It's always nice to bring closure to relatives."

For more information about Extra Innings in Hagerstown, go to extrainnings-hagerstown.com.

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