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JM’s Tucker to play softball for WLU

GLEN DALE — Paytyn Tucker has been a key cog in the John Marshall softball lineup for the last several seasons.

Still with her senior season to come, Tucker is focused on doing all she can to help the Monarchs make a run at the coveted West Virginia Class AAA state championship in May.

Her focus can be strictly on softball and wrapping up her senior year academically because she’s officially cast her college lot.

Tucker recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and softball careers at West Liberty University.

“During the recruiting process, West Liberty quickly rose to the top,” Tucker said. “It’s a school where I can get a quality education, I am close enough to home where my family and friends can watch me play and it’s far enough away that I can learn to live on my own.”

Like all members of the senior class, Tucker lost her freshman season when spring sports were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s clearly made up for that lost season.

As the Monarchs’ lead-off hitter and a ‘slapper,’ Tucker is coming off a junior season in which she hit at an impressive .400 clip with 38 hits. She had a .477 on-base percentage and a .986 OPS. She drove in 12 runs, connected on eight doubles and scored 30 runs.

“I made my biggest improvements during the offseason between my sophomore and junior seasons,” Tucker admitted. “I was more of a role player as a sophomore, but I knew I wanted to play in college, so I made the decision that I was going to do whatever it took to make it really hard not to be in the lineup.”

Clearly, that work paid dividends.

Tucker was named to the Second Team All-Valley squad as well as Honorable Mention All-State in Class AAA.

Accolades, however, aren’t serving as motivation for Tucker as she prepares for the spring of 2023.

“The greatest thing about softball is it’s the ultimate team sport,” Tucker said. “I’d rather be part of a championship team that plays together rather than winning individual awards.”

Along with her preparations for her final prep season, Tucker is aware that moving up from the high school ranks to the collegiate level will be an adjustment, too. For her, she believes it starts with the mental side of the game.

“Ella Cooper is my mental performance coach and she has helped me beyond words,” Tucker said. “Ive learned that I can’t control what other people do or say, but I can control how I respond to it and be ready at all times. The mental side of the game is still my biggest area to continue to improve.”

Along with softball, Tucker is a member of the National Honor Society, Drug Free Club, National Technical Honor Society, Outdoor Club and Legacy Club.

Paytyn, who plans to major in psychology, is the daughter of Eric and Tamara Tucker.

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