Payton Bush, Randall baseball, Sr.
On the diamond: Bush has been a spark plug in the leadoff spot for Randall since the beginning of District 4-4A play, and that was never more evident than last week, when the Raiders stayed unbeaten in district with a pair of victories over fellow Canyon ISD schools and clinched a playoff spot. In a 9-1 win over West Plains, Bush led Randall’s offense with two his and drove in two runs with a double. Against Canyon to close the week, Bush singled to right on the first pitch he saw to lead off the bottom of the first for the Raiders. He eventually scored the first run on the game, and in the second inning, he reached on a ground-rule double with two outs to spark a three-run inning as Randall went on to win 9-5. Bush is back playing second base now after replacing the injured Kole Dudding at shortstop, and he leads Randall with a .449 batting average and 37 runs scored, and has stolen 17 bases without being thrown out.
Coach Cory Hamilton: “There’s been a number of times this year when he leads off with a single or a double and he’s obviously on base and it generates offense behind him. He gets things going and he’s aggressive on the base paths. He’s looking to be moving and he’s got bats behind him that are going to drive him in. Any time you turn your lineup over you want your toughest outs especially late in the game to come to the plate. He’s such a clutch performer. He’s gotten so much stronger in the offseason. Payton’s a two-time all-state player who had a great sophomore and junior year. It’s hard to beat that but on pace to do that right now. We’ve needed him at shortstop. Payton’s started multiple games at third. He can play the outfield and pitch. It’s his competitiveness without a doubt. He breaks the game down.”
Bush: “Once Kole got hurt it was definitely a big role to step up into because he’s a big part of this team. First-pitch fastball I’m looking for every game and I get it most of the time and send it right back up the middle. Before this year I’d lever liked leadoff in my life, so I had to get used to it and now I love it. If they give me a first-pitch fastball I’m definitely going to be aggressive in attacking it. I’ve learned you’re going to get a lot more (at-bats) in the leadoff spot. I’ve been getting five or six ABs a game and I get a lot of chances to score runners. I wasn’t real comfortable (at shortstop) at first and I definitely made a lot of mistakes. If I get a leadoff hit it sparks the momentum of the game and it gets up on our side. I have a lot of freedom to steal. It’s definitely a big part of my game.”
Favorite band or musician: Lil’ Baby
Favorite social media platform: Snapchat
Favorite athlete: Mike Trout
Bet you didn’t know: Is an accomplished poker player
Parents: Jason and Christie Bush