Standout Rockridge Softballer Signs with Western Illinois University


Western Illinois Softball added Payton Brown on Sunday, bringing Missouri Valley experience and a powerful bat to the squad. In 2024, Brown finished her freshman campaign with the Redbirds of Illinois State. 

Brown, an infielder from Taylor Ridge, Illinois, where she attended Rockridge High School, put together a fantastic four-year career with the Rockets. A four-year letter-winner, Brown won three 2A State titles with Rockridge, in her sophomore, junior, and senior years. Payton was named All-State on three occasions, with two of those being first-team selections. In addition to her All-State Selections, Brown was tabbed to MaxPreps’ 2023 All-America team.

Her senior season was capped with a state-record 27 home runs, the most hit by any player in a single season in IHSA history, and her 54 career home runs rank fourth all-time in Illinois. 

The incoming sophomore has played five years of travel ball with Heartland Havoc 05, picking up multiple honors including being named Most Valuable Player at the Perfect Game Elite 40 Scouting Showcase. 

In 2024, Brown appeared in 36 games and made five starts for Illinois State. Facing Michigan, Brown got her first career hit, a two-RBI single. She stole four bases on five attempts on the year, finishing the year with two hits. 

***Courtesy of Western Illinois University***

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