Junior catcher and third baseman Payton Alsobrooks has had a passion for softball since she first started playing tee-ball at 4 years old.
An Arizona native, Alsobrooks said she decided to come to Lehigh because she wanted the perfect balance between strong academics and athletics.
Her head coach, Fran Troyan, played an important role in her college decision because she felt a strong connection with him, she said. She mentioned that he, along with the rest of the coaching staff, has been a supportive presence in her personal life as well.
“Every coach brings a different element that adds to my game and has helped me grow as a player,” Alsobrooks said.
During the fall, Alsobrooks’ season was disrupted by a back injury that prevented her from playing. She said as an upperclassman, not being able to play the whole semester was tough, yet she is back and ready to fight during the spring.
Though Alsobrooks excels as a starter for the Mountain Hawks, her impact is most felt as a model teammate, said sophomore infielders Carley Barjaktarovich and Melissa Fedorka.
“She is always there to pick you up when you’re down,” Barjaktarovich said. “When she’s in the dugout, she’s always loud, lifting people up — which is super helpful to everyone up to bat.”
Barjaktarovich said even when things don’t go Alsobrooks’ way, she remains positive and keeps working harder, not allowing adversity to get in her way.
Fedorka echoed that sentiment and said that, as a teammate, Alsobrooks is one of the best at listening and giving advice. Fedorka said Alsobrooks is always present to give a morale boost.
“As a player, she is adaptable, competitive and is a great communicator,” Fedorka said. “She brings her all to everything softball related, whether it is optional hitting, a lift, a practice or a game.”
Barjaktarovich said coming back from an injury, Alsobrooks has been working hard and is excited for her future. She said she anticipates that Alsobrooks will continue building on her momentum from a strong sophomore season.
Barjaktarovich plays next to Alsobrooks as a shortstop, and said it’s fun having a positive energy next to her. Fedorka agreed and said Alsobrooks has the potential to make a big impact in 2020.
“Between her outstanding defense at third base, her ability to be productive at bat in every game and her ability to bounce back from any adversities, I think that she is going to have a super successful season,” Fedorka said. “I know that she is going to play a big role in this year’s team.”
As a sophomore, Alsobrooks started 52 games, hitting for a .248 average and scoring 20 runs. In one series against Lafayette, she went 8 for 12 with 4 RBIs.
Through her journey from playing tee-ball to starting on a Patriot League team, Alsobrooks said she continues to strive to be the best.
“My personal goal for this season is to constantly work on being the best teammate by contributing, whether it’s making a small play or being loud in the dugout,” Alsobrooks said. “I want to be the best teammate, on and off the field, and continue to strive to be the best.”
As for her team, she said the players have a strong dynamic this year and collectively feel that this is their year to win the Patriot League Championship.
Alsobrooks and her team will travel to Raleigh, North Caroline, to play in the NC State Invitational this weekend from Feb. 28 to March 1.