After posting a 21-5 record on the season, the Rowan University softball team is ranked 21 out of 25 on the NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll. Over the weekend, the Profs defeated Rutgers University-Newark in a doubleheader, 10-0 and 12-0 each in five innings.
Freshman standout Payton MacNair led the way for the brown and gold once again, providing six hits, three RBIs and four runs scored.
In all four games that Rowan played last week, MacNair totaled eight hits, with three being doubles, two triples and a homerun. She is also batting .442 on the season. All of her success at the plate has allowed her to be named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Rookie of The Week for the third time this season.
Coach Kim Wilson reflected on MacNair’s contributions this season.
“She’s done a great job. Early in the season we had her at third base, she played some time at short [stop] and then she really excelled at short,” Wilson said.
After starting off the season at third base, MacNair has found a home as the leader of the infield at shortstop. In addition to playing shortstop, MacNair also bats leadoff for the Profs.
“I definitely feel more relaxed being the leadoff [as the season has gone by] because I’m getting used to the pitching and know what is expected of me,” MacNair said. “I’m more confident in myself as well, which has a lot to do with me being more relaxed.”
As the season has progressed, MacNair has become more confident at the plate, and her statistics are what she has to show for that. She leads her team in many categories, including in triples with four, total hits (of which she has 38), runs scored (of which she has 29) and a .674 slugging percentage.
Wilson also described MacNair’s presence at the plate this season.
“Hitting-wise she’s done a great job, she’s taken the time to mechanically get sound and she sees the ball very well,” Wilson said. “She’s a really good athlete, so it’s all coming together when we need her to.”
Everything’s coming together for MacNair just in time for the NJAC tournament, which is set to start on May 4. MacNair is doing everything she can to prepare herself and her teammates for more NJAC play.
“I’ve just been getting in extra reps on my own time and making sure I’m staying focused at the plate,” MacNair said.
Wilson feels prepared with the NJAC tournament quickly approaching.
“I think we’re getting better every day, I think we’re doing the little things right at this point,” Wilson said. “I’m looking forward to playing everyone again.”
As for MacNair, she believes that although statistically the Profs have been dominant this season, there are always things to improve on.
“We’ve been pretty solid all around in my opinion, but we could always improve on hitting,” MacNair said. “It’s also tough playing doubleheaders, so I think we need to keep our energy the same throughout both games and not letting the long day affect our energy.”
The team is closing out the regular season with doubleheader matchups against Rutgers-Camden, in which they won both games 1-0 on Tuesday, and a game against Montclair State University on Saturday. They are looking to finish 19-1 in conference play with their only loss being against The College of New Jersey.
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