Tuesday, 11 June 2019 21:40

Chappell looking forward to the 'experience' of competing in Powerade State Games

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Rising junior Payton Chappell will play in the Powerade State Games in Charlotte next week. Rising junior Payton Chappell will play in the Powerade State Games in Charlotte next week. Michelle Parrish — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond Senior High School softball player Payton Chappell will get the opportunity to showcase her skills this summer in the Powerade State Games of North Carolina.

The rising junior third baseman for the Lady Raiders tried out for the PSG late last month and got the call last week that she will be representing the Region 4 team during the June 18-19 tournament.

Held at UNC-Charlotte and Hornets Nest Park, the two-day affair will give rising high school players the opportunity to play in a showcase tournament for college scouts. The Powerade State Games, which is in its 33rd year of operation, aims at promoting good sportsmanship and competitive play amongst some of North Carolina’s best underclassmen athletes in nearly 30 different sports.

It’s Chappell’s first time trying out, and she was the only Richmond athlete to go out for this summer’s games. She’ll be coached by Jeff Sprenger, who is Ardrey Kell High School’s head softball coach, and Chappell is one of 15 players on the team. She’s also the only Sandhills Athletic Conference player on the team.

“I wanted to tryout because I knew Paige Ransom tried out last year and made it,” Chappell said of her fellow rising junior teammate at Richmond. “She said that it was fun and I honestly just wanted to see if I had enough talent to make the team.

“It’s very exciting to make a team like this and I feel if I do well playing on the Powerade team, it will boost my confidence going into my junior year,” she added. “I also think that it could help me with college because I have a chance of getting noticed.”

Last summer, Ransom was the lone Richmond softball player in the tournament, but was joined by now graduated baseball players Cameron Carraway and cousin Jake Ransom.

During her sophomore season with the Lady Raiders this spring, Chappell served as a second leadoff batter in the No. 9 hole and earned her first All-SAC selection. She batted .320 with a career-high seven home runs and 18 runs batted in. She also served as a cornerstone on the infield at third base.

Two of her biggest performances this season came in April, the first in a 7-0 win over Piedmont High School when she went 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs. Two weeks later in the third round of the Beach Diamond Invitational at West Brunswick High School, Chappell cranked her first career grand slam in an 18-0 win over East Bladen High School.

Chappell tried out at the final two sessions at Ardrey Kell in mid-May. During one of her hitting drills, she sent five balls over the fence in the 20-pitch at-bat, which helped catch the eye of Sprenger.

According to the PSG website, six regional teams will meet in Charlotte in the coming week for a four-game tournament. Pool play will begin on Tuesday, June 18, followed by a bracket tournament on Wednesday, June 19, to determine the gold, silver and bronze place teams.

The PSG are for underclassmen only, as members of the graduating classes of 2020-2022 may compete. Athletes must have played varsity softball for their high school team this past season.

This summer, Chappell is also playing travel softball for South Eastern Carolina (SEC) and she sees the opportunity to play in Charlotte as not only a chance to spend more time on the diamond, but a way she can immerse herself with some of the best competition in the state.

“I’ll be playing with and against a lot of girls who have a lot of talent, which I think will make me an overall better athlete,” Chappell shared. “I think it will also give me a chance to see what we’ll be up against this coming year at Richmond and what teams might be like in the playoffs.

“I really just want to have fun and be able to say I was a part of this experience,” she closed. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and taking in new information from other coaches that could help me later on.”

ROSports will follow up with Chappell following her PSG performance.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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