USF pitcher leaving mark in 1st year with team

Young star has started her Bulls career strongly.

Redshirt freshman pitcher Payton Dixon poses in front of the team's logo before an afternoon practice (Andrew Stuetz/Toronto Observer) 

TAMPA, Fla. – In her first season with the University of South Florida women’s softball team, Payton Dixon is making a name for herself.

The Redshirt freshman pitcher never let the big moment get to her after starting in the Bulls’ season opening victory over Michigan.

“I was a little nervous because it was my first game here,” Dixon said, before the team’s afternoon practice. “But after watching Georgina [Corrick] and everybody play last year, I knew it was my time to shine and show them what I had.”

With a 12-4 record and 1.47 ERA in just over 90 innings pitched so far this season, the Smyrna, Del., native recognized she couldn’t do this all on her own.

“I’m dependent on my team to make the plays behind me,” Dixon said. “I know they have my back.

“[I’m also] relying on my pitching coach in helping me with my spin and my movement, and asking my catchers when all my stuff is working and if it looks good, so I’m ready to go.”

Pitcher Payton Dixon waits for instructions from catcher wearing her team shirt with a ball and glove in her hands
Payton Dixon focusing on pitch selection in practice (Andrew Stuetz/Toronto Observer)

The two-time Delaware State champion played a highly competitive 2019 softball campaign with the ROCK Gold Team under Rick Waye going 16-2 with a 0.68 ERA while also hitting .412.

Describing her as a force to be reckoned with, the 37-year coaching veteran recalled how good a person she is, and what an important teammate she was.

“What I liked about Pick [Peyton] was she was probably the most unassuming player I ever had,” said Waye in a phone interview. “She was a great teammate and boy, was she a talent.

“She came out of nowhere. I threw her against the best and she would just lock them up – I mean, she was nasty.”

Bulls’ head coach Ken Eriksen who has also been head coach of Team USA for 10 years backed Waye’s comments, speaking highly of his Opening Night starter.

“She’s at the level right now where Georgina Corrick was her freshman year,” Eriksen said in the dugout before the team’s Wednesday afternoon practice. “Payton’s got the capacity to learn really, really quickly and she’s proven that so far.

“I think she’s got 12 wins right now at this point in the season, and for a freshman to come in and do those types of things says a lot about not just her ability on the ball field, but her capacity to understand the teaching part and then put into play. She’s a huge part of what we’ve got going on right now.”

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Posted: Mar 22 2023 7:36 pm
Filed under: Softball Sports