Payton Fox Moves to the Big Leagues

Lauren Harden

Feet planted in the dirt, fingers gripping the metal bat, a fierce and concentrated look on Payton’s eyes she is up to bat with bases loaded. Moving her foot back and forth in the dirt she is prepared for the pitch about to soar her way. The pitcher winds her arm back and releases it with a heavy arm towards Payton. Timing her swing exactly right, she swings at the ball with heavy contact, and it flies through the air past two defenders. Throwing her bat to the ground she runs with the wind at her back to first, second, third, and finally back to home base. She secures a home run for the Royals, helping lead her team to the defeat of their opponent. 

Payton Fox is a senior that plays on the varsity softball team. She will be attending Ball State University in Indiana this upcoming fall to continue her academic and athletic career in softball. 

As a student athlete that plans to continue her career in college, her future coaches expect preparation before she comes on campus. Out of school and travel sports, athletes put in the extra work to be at the top of their game for their future college teams. Payton shared how she “does hitting lessons outside of school” with her trainer Toby Ricard who has been working one on one with Payton for four years. Payton also shared how she “gets in reps at home in [her] basement off the tee.” The challenging work done outside of practices and tournaments are crucial for athletes as they transition from high school to college as they will be training every day to represent their school. 

When asked about the expectations from her college coaches, Payton shared that they prioritized, “not getting hurt and getting good reps especially from a good pitcher.” With the school and travel season, coaches want to make sure their future recruits are staying healthy and not getting hurt so when they get to campus they are not set behind and ready to get into training. 

Getting into a school is another aspect. As many know, as a student athlete you must keep your grades up, which influences your future in collegiate sports. Payton is an honor roll type of student, always having high grades, classes, extra curricular’s and more. When she mentioned the impact academics had on Payton’s recruitment, she answered, “I feel it made me more desirable because my high academics drew coaches towards me. I am not a student that they would need to worry about getting bad grades and falling behind when I get to campus.” 

Being an all-star athlete in high school that will continue their career to college is not something that happens for everyone. When asked, Payton shares the emotions she feels knowing she is going to play at the collegiate level. “I am very excited to just be able to keep playing.” There is a relief but also a chip on her shoulder as she knows she has her future set for her. Payton shared that, “it is less stressful not having to worry about recruitment in general, but also you have to prove to other people that you deserve to be able to go where you’re going to play.” 

Payton Fox will be graduating in May of 2023 and will be continuing her athletic and academic career at Ball State University locally here in Indiana.