By Joey Chandler
The entire Shelton State Community College softball team showed up to watch left-handed pitcher Alyssa Clayton sign with Lindsey Wilson College, an NAIA Div. I program in Columbia, Ky. Clayton will play her sophomore season with the Buccaneers, and report to Lindsey Wilson in the fall.
"I love softball," Clayton said. "It's my passion, and I'm excited for two more years of it."
After the ceremony, Shelton State's players lined up one by one to take photos with Wilson. The players smiled for the camera in front of Clayton's new Blue Raiders gear, and many expressed sentiments on how much they'll miss their teammate next year.
Clayton said she's met some of her best friends playing for Shelton State, and it was the same sort of family-type atmosphere she experienced while visiting Lindsey Wilson that made the school a perfect fit.
Last season, the Blue Raiders were 50-11 and finished fifth in the nation in the NAIA.
"It was more of a close-knit family, and that's where I've grown up from," Clayton said. "I lived in a small town, and I'm used to being close to everybody in my town, and they really made me feel like home."
A 2013 graduate of Pisgah High School, Clayton pitched 1192⁄3 innings in 24 games last season for Shelton State. She finished 14-5 and had a 1.81 ERA, placing her fifth on the all-time career list.
Clayton had two saves, struck out 87 batters, allowed 84 hits and averaged 5.09 strikeouts per game. Her opponents batted .186 and she was named to the NJCAA Region XXII/ACCC All-Tournament Team.
She was a part of three state championship teams during her career at Pisgah.
"Alyssa pitched great for us last year," Bucs coach Buddy Boyle said. "She missed a month with a fractured rib, and came back and was a huge contributor for us down the stretch in the ACCC State Tournament. She threw in six of our eight games, and went 4-0 with a save. Alyssa has above average velocity and spins the ball well and gives us a chance to compete and stay in a game."
Reach Joey Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0223.