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Former West Stanly softball standout named CC All-Conference

As her teammates from last season travel to Greensboro to vie for a state championship, former West Stanly standout Payton Whitley continued her career this spring as a freshman at Belmont Abbey College.

Photo courtesy of Belmont Abbey Athletic Communications /
Former West Stanly standout Payton Whitley led Conference Carolinas this season as a freshman with 13 home runs.

Playing at the NCAA Div. II level, Whitley’s efforts earned a spot on the Conference Carolinas All-Conference first team.

Whitley played in 39 games for the Crusaders this season, leading the team with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs and a .775 slugging mark. She batted .340 for the season posting a .421 on-base percentage.

The college freshman said “It means a lot to represent West Stanly at the next level, and to prove what kind of talent can come from our small county.”

Leading the conference in home runs as a freshman along with her team-best marks were big accomplishments, she added.

“My coaches and I were constantly working on my swing, and just working on myself as a hitter overall helped me reach this accomplishment,” Whitley said.

This season, Belmont Abbey finished seventh in the 11-team conference (10-10) and a 21-22 overall record, but Whitley said she sees a lot coming from her team in the future.

“We all have our minds set on the same goal and we are determined to reach it. I believe that we will go far next season,” Whitley said.

Whitley also received the Most Outstanding Female Freshman Award while also making the dean’s list with a 4.3 grade-point average. Her academic plans are to graduate in 2022 with a degree in psychology.

Sports Editor Charles Curcio can be reached via email at charles.curcio@stanlynewspress.com, 704-983-1361 or via Twitter (@charles_curcio).

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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