Abbott Elevates Cardinals

STILLMAN VALLEY-Junior Payton Abbott won her first 11 decisions of the season for Stillman Valley's softball team.

There's only one thing going through the mind of one of Abbott when she's in the circle.

"Throw Strikes, don't give up on the count," says Abbott.

"If she goes in and gets down 3-0 in a count, she hasn't given up on that batter. She's going to battle back," says senior shortstop Karissa Dobson.

Abbott is focused, determined and always calm in the circle.

"If the umpire maybe makes a questionable call she'll just smile about it, brush it off and go on to the next pitch," says head coach Shawn Byers.

Although she likes to throw a curve or a rise, Abbott enjoys mixing it up.

I like all of my pitches, so I can really go to whatever pitch because I like them all."

Her pitching is key for the Cardinals, but what she does in the batters box is just as impressive.

"She's an awesome hitter," says Dobson. "I know people are always talking about her pitching but she's constantly hitting the ball for us too."

"I just want to make contact," says Abbott. "I don't really place it or hope for a homerun or anything. I just hit."

"Payton is an all-around player," says Byers. "She not only pitches for us but she also hits the ball very, very well. And when she's not pitching, she plays shortstop so she does a little bit of everything for us."

Outside of the high school season, Abbot plays for the Wasco Diamonds. Year-round work is what it takes to be a college athlete.

"I always had the dream of playing in college," says Abbott.

"I talked to her when she was a freshman and said, "What do you want to do after high school?” she said, “Oh I want to play college softball," says Byers.

Abbott will play for Western Illinois University, but she wants a State Championship first.

"We're very determined. We're just going to take it one game at a time though because we know we have competition and got to get through conference first."

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