As a varsity athlete Devyn Burton found out the hard way that the diamond at Wellsville-Middletown cut like a double-edged sword.
Even though playing time was there for the taking, there was no giving it back. The Lady Tigers softball roster was so thin at times there was simply no coming out of most games. That meant regardless of how she felt not only did Burton have to show up for every contest, she'd then have to play every inning like it or not. Call it a trial by fire or a test of endurance, but at the end of it all those circumstances had turned her into something greater than when this process began.
Because of that William Woods University offered her a scholarship, and now that she's just finished her second season with the squad Burton's present may be looking good, but the potential she's been displaying makes it appear as though the best is yet to come.
"Devyn fits well within our team culture. We have high standards for character and citizenship for our program on and off the field and in/out of the classroom," said coach Tracy Gastineau. "After meeting her and talking to her former coaches, we felt she would be a good fit and she has been."
This season, 2019, Burton, an outfielder, played in 25 games for the Lady Owls and started 12, going 11-for-51 for a .216 batting average. The former Lady Tiger also racked up two doubles, a triple, six runs, 15 total bases and three walks. What this equated to was a .294 slugging percentage and a .259 on-base percentage for William Woods.
"I think this is a critical experience for future preparation. We play a game of failure so perseverance and work ethic are starters," Gastinaeu said. "As important is the team aspect - learning to compete and work as part of a team are invaluable assets for life after college."
This year WWU finished with a record of 23-27 overall, 12-12 American Midwest Conference. This included going 8-6 at home, 7-12 on the road and 8-9 in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics contest played in neutral territory.
"Devyn continues to make strides in her reads and confidence in the outfield. During her two years here, she has had some big hits in big moments and those are an indication she is transitioning to the college game," said Gastineau. "More importantly, we want our players to be good students and citizens and Devyn is a part of that culture."
As a freshman Burton's numbers were slightly different as that time around she charted a .352 on-base percentage and a .371 slugging percentage on her way to hitting .309. The Wellsville-Middletown grad. also racked up 30 starts in 34 appearances with 36 total bases, 30 hits, 12 runs, 14 RBI, six doubles, six walks and one steal.
"Devyn is a good teammate and that is often an overlooked characteristic, but so important for team chemistry. During this year I saw a tremendous improvement in her confidence and reads in the outfield," Gastineau said. "Transitioning from the infield to the outfield is not an easy, smooth task but she has made great strides in that area this year. I think you want every athlete to continue to improve in their confidence and ability to overcome adversity.
In the field in 2019 Burton had a .917 fielding percentage. This came on a dozen catches, nine putouts, two assists and one error. Once again in her initial year with the team Burton's numbers tell a completely different story because in 2018 her fielding percentage, probably because of the transition in positions, was .571 according to https://wwwuowls.com with seven catches, three putouts, one assist and three errors.