With a strong career at the plate and a solid presence in the field, it’s no doubt senior shortstop Peyton Hedrick will leave behind a strong legacy when she graduates this season.
Hedrick is nearing the completion of four healthy seasons in which she has been named to two first team All-Southland Conference teams, one second-team and will wait to see if she receives any post-season honors this year.
Hedrick attended North Forney high school starting in 2010. She became a four-year letter winner and was a team captain. In her career, she batted above .500 and totaled 13 home runs with 152 RBIs. Her team also won district three years out of the four she attended.
When it came time for Hedrick to start thinking about commitment, Head Coach Bobby Reeves said he was already scouting her and in fact knew her already before even high school.
“I’ve coached against her mom, she’s coached about 30 years of college ball,” Reeves said. “I watched Peyton at a young age and thought she was gonna go play for her mom, but she got out of the business before Peyton got out of high school, so we had a chance to get her, and I was excited the day she said she wanted to commit to ACU.”
Hedrick then started her ACU career in 2015, during the second year of the Wildcats’ Div. 1 transition and has given stability at the shortstop position ever since. Although her team finished at 14-33 overall and 8-19 in conference, she would quickly become recognized as a great player, individually being named first team All-Southland Conference at the conclusion of the season.
In her first season, she finished second in the conference in batting average at .432. She also finished in the top-ten of other categories including home runs (12), RBIs (45) and hits (67). The National Fastpitch Coaches Association also honored her as she finished in the top-25 for freshman of the year and tabbed her with a spot on the All-South second team.
Her team turned it around in Hedrick’s sophomore season finishing at 26-21 overall and 16-8 in conference. She also continued her success statistically hitting for a .331 average with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs. The conference honored her once again naming her second team All-Southland.
When her junior season rolled around, Hedrick arguably put together her best campaign of her three seasons. Her team finished 33-22 overall and 20-7 in conference with wins against the University of Iowa and Texas Tech. She led the conference with 15 home runs, 52 RBIs, .765 slugging percentage and 137 total bases. Her .374 batting average was also good enough for seventh on the conference leaders list.
Once again, Hedrick earned post-season honors by being named to the All-Southland Conference first team and was also given a spot on the NFCA All-South second team.
With her senior season still in progress, her team sits at 20-21 overall and 12-9 in a cluttered conference race. The veteran shortstop has hit for a .274 average along with five home runs and 21 RBIs this season.
With only a few conference games remaining, Hedrick only has one goal in mind.
“We want to take this conference tournament, it’s a free for all at this point,” Hedrick said. “We’re one of the top teams, and right now we’re starting to peak up higher, we’re working our way up, we’re hoping at the conference tournament everyone is at their best and we go in and take that tournament.”
With this season’s results still pending, Hedrick has totaled a career .353 average, 44 home runs and 155 RBIs which will certainly leave her a legacy as being one of the best softball players to pass through ACU.
With graduation coming up, Hedrick said it’s been a sentimental semester.
“It’s been very different thinking about how my career is finally about to be over,” Hedrick said. “It’s been a quick semester of college, just like the rest of my semesters, but we’ve been trying to slow down softball and sit back and enjoy it. I’ve had a great group of girls and great coaches.”
After Hedrick graduates, she plans to earn her master’s degree here at ACU and will become a graduate assistant for the softball team during that time.
The regular season games that remain in her career include a three-game road series this weekend against Central Arkansas starting Friday at 5 p.m., a single game against Texas Tech in Lubbock Tuesday at 6 p.m. and a three-game series on the road against Stephen F. Austin next weekend.