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Home | Tag Archives: Courtney Clayton

Tag Archives: Courtney Clayton

UTEP Softball’s Clayton Named NFCA All-Region South

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More awards keep coming as The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced UTEP softball great Courtney Clayton to the 2018 NFCA Division I All-Region South second team on Thursday.

Clayton, who recently graduated with a health promotion degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, earned her second postseason accolade after being named All-Conference USA first team on May 8.

The NFCA All-Region honor is Clayton’s second as she was named to the 2016 NFCA All-Region South third team.

The native of Cornelius, Ore., led the Miners in just about every offensive category. Clayton’s senior season proved special as she led the team in batting (.413), at bats (172), hits (71), runs (42), doubles (15), triples (four), home runs (eight), RBI (32), total bases (118), slugging (.686) and on-base percentage (.455).

Clayton’s .413 batting average is currently leading C-USA and has a chance of winning the batting title, while it is the fourth best single-season batting average in school history. Clayton’s 71 hits are ranked third in C-USA, while her 2018 total is ranked third most hits during a single season in program history. Clayton is also the only Miner to produce multiple 70-plus hit seasons, as she tallied a program record 79 knocks in 2016. Clayton also joins Camilla Carrera and Chelsea Troupe to record multiple .400-plus average seasons.

Clayton produced great numbers during the season and really stepped it up the last five games of her collegiate career. Clayton hit .588 (10-17) with eight runs, three RBI, two doubles and a home run against Texas Tech and LA Tech. During the LA Tech series sweep, Clayton went a combined 7-for-10 with a home run, six runs and three RBI.

Clayton started all 210 games during her career, while her 210 consecutive starts ranks second all-time in program history. Clayton finishes her UTEP career ranked no. 1 in assists (386), at bats (688), sacrifice flies (eight) and most times reached base on error (32). Clayton ranks second on the program’s hit’s list (251) and double’s list (53). Clayton’s 26 career home runs rank fourth, while her 118 career RBI also rank no. 4.

Clayton joins other C-USA student-athletes as Florida Atlantic’s Emily Lochten (first team), Mia Olson (second team), Madisyn Palmer (second team) and Tatum Buckley (third team), and UTSA’s Bailee Baldwin (second team) were announced to the NFCA All-Region South team.

Clayton also joins Carrera, Troupe and Stacie Townsend as repeat NFCA All-Region honorees.

Clayton Collects Five More Hits During Contests at Southern Miss

HATTIESBURG, Ms. – UTEP senior Courtney Clayton is climbing UTEP softball’s all-time charts as she registered a 3-for-3 performance in game one, including a double, while producing two more hits with a solo home run in game two.

But the Miners (11-20, 1-7 Conference USA) fell 8-0 [6] in the first game and 3-1 in game two at Southern Miss (13-20, 3-5 C-USA) despite a solid pitching performance from junior hurler Julia Wright on Saturday afternoon at USM Softball Complex.

The series finale is Sunday with a noon MT start.

Clayton’s five knocks give her 220 in her career, moving past Chelsea Troupe (219 hits) and now ranking no. 2 on the program’s all-time hit’s list. Camilla Carrera leads the all-time list with 260 hits. Clayton also registered a double in game one, as she now has 46 – two behind Troupe (Carrera leads with 57).

Clayton also registered a pair of multi-hit games, upping her total to 66 multi-hit games (Carrera leads with 74). Clayton hit her 23rd career home run in game two and is now tied with current UTEP softball graduate assistant Kawehiokalani Netane for no. 5 on the all-time list. Clayton also has 101 career RBI, needing two to tie Kiki Pepi (ranked seventh on list).

UTEP 1, USM 3 (Game 2)
Wright, who made her 12th start of 2018, tossed a strong 6.0 frames against Southern Miss. Wright allowed six hits and struck out a pair, but Golden Eagles’ pitcher Samantha Robles continued her dominance of the Miners in a complete-game winning effort.

USM took a 2-0 lead before Clayton went yard with her team-leading fifth home run during the fifth inning to make it a one-run contest.

But the Miners’ offense only produced four hits in the contest. Mallorie Cross singled in the third inning, her first hit since Feb. 10, while Ilena Santos also singled in the third.

UTEP 0, USM 8 [6] (Game 1)
The Miners tallied four hits, led by Clayton’s 3-for-3 effort. Cortney Smith registered the other hit, a single during the fourth frame.

USM pitcher Jillian Johnson tossed 6.0 innings and struck out three during the victory.

UTEP hurler Kira McKechnie got the start, her 12th of the season, and tallied three K’s in the process.

Raise the Pick: UTEP Softball’s Courtney Clayton

Courtney Clayton has known most of her life that she wanted to play softball.

She started playing T-ball at age 4, and that was when she decided to follow in her family’s footsteps and play softball.

“I absolutely loved it,” Clayton said. “Pretty much my whole family is a softball family. Both my aunt and my mom played in college. My grandpa played baseball (in college) and was amazing. I was always on the tractor with him at the games, dragging the field. I’ve been around softball my whole life, but the cool thing is I never felt pressured to play. It was always just a love that I’ve always had.”

That love for the game – and hard work – helped her earn a Division I athletic scholarship to play second base on the UTEP softball team. She’s now gearing up for her senior season.

UTEP almost didn’t get Clayton except for a twist of fate, and having a top-notch nursing program.

Tobin Echo-Hawk, then the head coach at Portland State, recruited Clayton, who had chosen Portland State mostly because she would be 20 minutes from home. Echo-Hawk then took the job at UTEP and Clayton wasn’t sure about following her.

“I didn’t even know where El Paso was at that point,” Clayton said. “I was just so overwhelmed with emotions.”

She began visiting UTEP’s website and eventually decided to visit El Paso and UTEP on a recruiting visit.

She instantly fell in love with the city and its supportive fans after running into a few of them at a local eatery. It also helped that UTEP has a nursing program and Portland State did not.

“I just felt like my heart was so warm,” Clayton said of El Paso and its Miners fans. “They were just so sweet and made me feel so welcome. I think that’s one of the biggest things that still to this day is so unique about El Paso. You go anywhere and have sports stuff on and you get loved on by everyone.”

Once she took the field for the Miners, Clayton made her impact felt. As a sophomore, she was named C-USA Player of the Year.

“I couldn’t think of a more deserving kid,” Echo-Hawk said. “She has definitely put in the work, so it is nice to see it pay off.”

And her success has only continued since then. As a Miner, she set multiple single-season records in 2016 with 79 hits, 21 doubles, 190 at bats and 28 multiple-hit games. For her junior season she hit .416, third best in program history, and scored 45 runs, fourth best in program history.

She also has been named to several year-end teams along the way:

  • 2016 All-C-USA first team, NFCA All-Region South third team
  • 2016 C-USA All-Academic team
  • C-USA Academic Medalist (2015, 2016), NFCA Scholar-Athlete (2014-15, 2015-16)
  • 2015 All-C-USA freshman team

Off the field, Clayton is working toward a degree in health promotions with an eye toward a master’s in nursing. Originally she wanted to be a veterinarian until a high school health project and a One Direction music video impacted her.

“I came across a video of a pediatric oncology unit and they did this video to ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ by One Direction,” Clayton said. “It’s about your inner beauty, and they had these children who had cancer dance in the video. It’s a fun video but it really hit me in a way that made me say, ‘I want to do that. I want to be a part of that. I want to work with children who have cancer.’ It was an epiphany moment for me.”

She is grateful for the opportunities UTEP’s Division I scholarship has offered her.

Attending UTEP has allowed her to grow. She says she is naturally a homebody, and being thrown into a new place by herself made her grow and experience things that she might never have experienced if she had not left home.

“I’ve met amazing people here and I’ve had the opportunity to play the sport that I love and get my education paid for,” Clayton said. “It’s definitely something that would have been hard for me to do on a single income if I wouldn’t have gotten a scholarship. I’m so incredibly thankful.”

***

Raise the Pick: This is the fourth article in a series about UTEP student-athletes who share their unique stories and how athletic scholarships have made a difference in their lives. Each of these students reflects on the value of their UTEP experiences and the opportunities they create for the future.

Visit minerathleticclub.com to read more about how student-athletes Raise the Pick and how you can make a difference.

Author:  Leonard Martinez – UTEP Communications

Seven UTEP Softball Players Garner NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete Honors

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – UTEP softball’s Pamala Baber, Courtney Clayton, Mariah Ellis, Kaitlin Fifield, Allie Johnson, Kaitlin Ryder and Ruby Sanchez put in work in the classroom to earn National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athlete honors for the 2016-17 academic year on Tuesday.

For Clayton and Ryder, it’s their third NFCA honor, while Baber, Ellis, Fifield, Johnson and Sanchez are first-time honorees.

The Miners are part of an announced record of 7,351 softball players across seven membership divisions to earn the prestigious achievement.

NCAA Division I led the way with 1,843 student-athletes earning a 3.5 grade-point average or higher.

UTEP Softball’s Clayton Named C-USA All-Academic

IRVING, Texas – UTEP softball junior Courtney Clayton was named to the 2017 InTouch Credit Union Conference USA Softball All-Academic Team league officials announced on Wednesday.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Health Promotion major earned a spot on the academic team and is one of 14 student-athletes named to the exclusive list. Clayton fashions a 3.87 GPA, while being named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and recognized as a C-USA Academic Medalist for the third year in a row.

The Cornelius, Ore., native hit .314 (50-159) with four home runs and 21 RBI in 2017. Clayton led the squad in runs (29), while tallying seven doubles. She only struck out five times to rank in the top half of the nation in toughest to strikeout. Defensively, she recorded 109 putouts and 83 assists.

Clayton recently reached the 100-run club on the program’s all-time list. She’s the sixth player to accomplish the feat as she has crossed the dish 101 times. Clayton also ranks no. 5 on the program’s all-time hit’s list with 180 and is ranked tied no. 4 with Stacie Townsend in career doubles (38).

Last year, Clayton was the first Miner to be named to the academic team since Colleen Hohman received the honor in 2014.

UTEP Rallies to Beat UTSA, 7-6, in 10 Innings; Moves One Game Up in C-USA West

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – In a wild game two contest, Courtney Clayton and Cortney Smith each slammed solo home runs and Kiki Pepi gave UTEP the go-ahead lead in the 10th on a solo shot, lifting the Miners to a 7-6 victory after trailing 3-0 early in the game on Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Softball Field.

“It was a battle all day and it’s one of those where after the first game we could’ve just laid down and chalked up a bad day,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “The kids were just resilient; kept fighting and kept coming back with their backs against the wall. That is all I ask of them and they did a great job today.”

It was a great triumph following a Miners’ (9-24, 4-7 Conference USA) game one, 8-1, loss to the Roadrunners (13-22, 3-8 C-USA). With the game two win, UTEP moves one game ahead of UTSA in C-USA West and snapped a five-game losing streak in the process.

“Sometimes life doesn’t care what happens to you,” Echo-Hawk said. “It’s all about how you respond because no one will ever feel sorry for you. You just need to keep fighting because it’s easy to quit and make yourselves victims. Short-term memory also comes into play. A few of our girls were having bad games and then came up with big hits.”

UTEP racked up 26 total hits in the two games, including a season-high 17 hits in the second contest – tied most during the Echo-Hawk. Clayton went 3-for-5 as it was her 12th multi-hit game of the season and no. 54 of her career, while Pepi (3-for-4) and Taylor Sargent (3-for-6) tied their career highs in hits.

Kaitlin Fifield won her first game of the season, as she threw a career-high 10.0 innings. Fifield now has 23 wins in her career, ranking behind Kelly Curan (24) and Danielle Pearson (25) on the program’s all-time list.

The series finale is Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. CT/Noon MT.

UTEP 7, UTSA 6 [10]
The Roadrunners took an early lead, scoring three runs in the second inning. But instead of rolling over, the relentless Miners fought back.

Smith started the comeback when she connected on her seventh home run of 2017, a solo shot over right center on a 2-1 count to get within two runs (3-1). It was Smith’s first home run since March 4 at Texas Tech. Smith finished the contest 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs.

UTEP then took a 4-3 lead in the sixth on five hits. With one out, Ariel Blair used one of her two hits to single to left. Clayton and Kaitlin Ryder singled to center on back-to-back at bats to load the bases for Smith. The sophomore singled in Blair to bring the Miners within a run. Pepi, who tallied three RBI in game two, singled to right center, plating Clayton and Ryder to give her squad a 4-3 lead.

In the bottom sixth, UTSA tied the contest 4-4 after Kaley Pyles knocked in Bailee Baldwin, who led off with a single to right. Pyles, though, was thrown out at second base for the second out. Taylor Oberg doubled, but Fifield forced Angelica Nino to ground out to Smith to end the inning.

After a scoreless seventh, the runs started the cross the dish during the nail-biting last three frames.

Smith reached first after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Pepi advanced her teammate to second on a sac-bunt and then Sargent doubled down the left field line, plating Smith for a 5-4 advantage.

But the Roadrunners would answer in the bottom eighth. Baldwin doubled to right field off the fence with one out and Hailey Garza singled down the left line, advancing pinch runner Erica Sanchez to third. Pyles, as she did in the sixth, came up with another big hit that scored Sanchez to tie the contest 5-5.

In the ninth with two quick outs, Clayton launched a towering solo shot over left on a 1-2 pitch to give the Miners a 6-5 edge. It was her first dinger since March 11 at North Texas.

But the contest would not end there as UTSA tied the score in the bottom ninth. Lindsey Stewart led off the home half with a single up the middle, while proceeding to steal second base. Celeste Loughman reached on a bunt single and also followed by snagging a base to put runners at second and third with no outs. Rylee Rodriguez grounded out to Smith, but Randee Crawford tied the contest with a sac-fly hit to center in which Stewart scored. Fifield then forced Sanchez to pop out the second base as Clayton made an over-the-shoulder catch to halt the game-winning run from scoring.

The 10th inning drama was set up for Pepi, who had not homered since March 1 at NM State. Pepi saw seven pitches and finally connected on the eighth pitch, a liner over left on a 3-2 count that put the Miners ahead for good.

Fifield used only five pitches in the bottom 10th as the final three batters went down in order to conclude the epic contest. Fifield helped her cause on the defensive side when she recorded four assists from the circle.

The 10-inning game was the longest since the Miners fell at Florida Atlantic on April 19, 2014 in 11 frames. Saturday’s extra inning nail-biter is tied for fourth longest in UTEP history. The longest was a 13-inning affair on May 7, 2009 against the East Carolina at the Conference USA Tournament in El Paso with UTEP coming out on top 4-3. The Miners played 11 innings twice, as the second was on April 7, 2013 at UCF. UTEP and Southern Miss went 10 frames on April 16, 2011, while another 10-inning contest happened on March 20, 2007 against no. 5 Arizona State – an 8-7 Miners’ win.

UTEP 1, UTSA 8
The Roadrunners scored five runs the second inning to pull away from the Miners. Crawford connected on her sixth home run of the season, a solo shot and Loughman doubled in a pair of runs in the second.

Loughman gave her squad an 8-0 lead after she hit a three-run home run over right center.

The Miners received a RBI single from Taylor Sargent in the fifth; Brianna Red scored the run in the pinch-run situation for Kiki Pepi, who drew a walk to lead off the inning. It was Sargent’s first RBI since Feb. 25 when she connected on a two-run single at UC Riverside.

The Miners connected on nine hits on the day, led by Courtney Clayton, Cortney Smith and Taylor Sargent who each finished 2-for-4. Sargent tallied her first multi-hit game since March 18 against Middle Tennessee.

UTEP Softball’s Clayton & Ryder Named to Conference USA Preseason Team

IRVING, Texas – UTEP softball juniors Courtney Clayton and Kaitlin Ryder were selected to the 2017 Conference USA Preseason team on Wednesday as voted by the league coaches.

It’s the first time since 2010 in which a pair of Miners (Camilla Carrera and Chelsea Troupe) were voted to the preseason squad.

Clayton, the 2016 C-USA Player of the Year, hit .416 (third best average in program history) and set a pair of records last season. The Cornelius, Ore., native tallied a program-record 21 doubles and racked up a single-season best 79 hits. Clayton led the team in runs scored (45), connected on seven home runs and ranked second on the team in RBI (35).

Clayton also led the squad in slugging (.658), on-base percentage (.438), triples (two) and total bases (125). Defensively, Clayton recorded the second-most assists (119) during a single season in program history.

Ryder saw much success in 2016 as this is her first on-field accolade. The Chatsworth, Calif., native ranked second on the team with a .350 batting average after hitting .241 her freshman season. Ryder’s patience at the plate was evident after leading the team and ranking in the top 10 in C-USA with 23 walks. Ryder ranked second on the squad in runs scored (31), slugging (.521), on-base percentage (.437) and tied second in hits (57).

Ryder hit six dingers and grinded out eight doubles, including a triple.

The efforts of both student-athletes helped surge the Miners into the C-USA Tournament for the first time since 2010, while the program fashioned its first ever winning league record (13-11) in 2016. During the first round of the postseason, UTEP rallied to defeat FIU, 5-4, for its first postseason victory since 2009.

After the Miners found themselves down 4-2 against the Panthers, Ryder came up with a clutch, three-run home run in the fifth inning. Ryder finished the contest 2-for-3 with four RBI (career high), while Clayton went 1-for-3 and was on base when Ryder went deep.

The 2017 season will commence in Tempe at the Kajikawa Classic against a pair of Pac-12 programs. The Miners will open against Stanford and host school Arizona State on Feb. 9.

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