Elmore County senior Payton Stephenson signed to play college baseball on Wednesday morning.
Stephenson, a multi-sport athlete at Elmore County, signed his National Letter of Intent with the University of Montevallo, a Division II school in the Gulf South Conference. The star infielder was awarded 90% of a scholarship, one of the largest scholarships the school has ever offered a player.
“It feels really great to after all the hard work I’ve put in,” Stephenson said. “I want to thank all of my coaches and teammates for believing in me and giving me this moment.”
It was an easy decision for Stephenson to sign with Montevallo.
After a camp in Troy, Montevallo reached out to him and was impressed with the way he performed. Stephenson said their recruiting coach told him he’d never seen athletic ability like Stephenson displayed, and they really liked him.
The school offered him the scholarship shortly after, and he committed on October 21.
“Ever since they offered me, it’s been uphill from there. Their coaches have really stayed in touch and treated me like family. They gave me one of the biggest scholarships in school history, and I think think I can get to the next level there.”
The prospect of getting drafted and playing professional baseball was one of the biggest selling points for Stephenson. Montevallo has had 19 players drafted from the program since 1981, and five have been drafted in the last eight years.
That includes players drafter inside the Top 10 rounds, and most recently a player drafted in the 19th round in 2019.
Along with the draft picks, Montevallo has been extremely successful under head coach Chandler Rose, who has been leading the program for 13 years.
Last season, the Falcons posted one of their best seasons yet with a 36-15 overall record, good for a .706 winning percentage. They went 18-11 in conference play, and finished the year a whopping 24-3 at home.
They ended their season in the conference tournament, but look to be even better this season.
I know they have multiple draft picks and guys playing professional baseball,” Stephenson said. “They’re going to be competing for the national championship this year. I’m looking forward to getting there.”
Stephenson still has one more season to improve on his game, but he could be a player that makes an instant impact at the next level. The infielder possesses a very flashy glove in the field, and he can swing it with the best of hitters.
As a junior last season, he was named to the All-County team after recording a .414 batting average, .539 on base percentage, 36 hits, 10 doubles, three triples, 26 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases in 28 games.
He was second on the team in batting average and stolen bases, and led in total hits.
“I think I can bring a lot of the table in college,” Stephenson said. “I can make the plays in the field and I’ll just do whatever the team needs and asks me to do.”
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