« Baseball 2010

Matt Payton

School

Western Kentucky University

Position
Infield
Major
Exercise Science
AVG
.354
R
63
H
84
FLD%
.974
ERA
-
W-L
-
RBI
55

Classroom

Payton has excelled in the classroom in his three-plus years at Western Kentucky University. He holds a 3.82 cumulative GPA as an exercise science major and plans to graduate in spring 2010. A two-time CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection, Payton is also a President's Scholar at WKU. He is a member of the National College Athlete Honor Society Chi Alpha Sigma. Payton plans to open a sports-specific training facility after graduation.

Character

Payton is a tireless worker, both on and off the field, which is evident by both his athletic and academic achievements. He plays baseball with a tremendous amount of desire and heart and leaves everything on the field. He has been one of the leading factors in the rise of WKU baseball, as the team has made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and finished the 2009 season ranked 23rd in the nation. He leads the team with his actions and his words and the players listen to him as he says the right things at the right times. The coaching staff really appreciates having a leader on the field with the character and leadership qualities Payton possesses.

Community

Payton also finds time to be actively involved in the community. He has over 200 hours of community service working mainly around his hometown of Louisville, Ky. He has spent time at the famous Churchill Downs racetrack working with the church to minister to jockeys and workers. He has also spent time cleaning the living quarters of the jockeys. Payton has also volunteered with the Wayside Christian Mission feeding the homeless and cleaning dishes.

Competition

Payton has manned second base and the middle infield for WKU for much of his first three seasons. As a junior in 2009, Payton made 53 starts and led the team with five triples while hitting .307 and reaching base at a .404 clip. His infield defense is well-known around the conference, as he made just six errors in 275 chances in 2009, good for a .978 fielding percentage on a team that finished third in the nation in fielding percentage. His consistent performance and reliability in the WKU lineup has helped the team to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2009 Sun Belt Conference championship.