Rising Star: Payton Tolle prepares for freshman season with Wichita State baseball

Payton Tolle prepares for Wichita State baseball by playing in Sunflower Summer League.
Payton Tolle prepares for Wichita State baseball by playing in Sunflower Summer League.(KWCH)
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 11:49 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Payton Tolle just graduated high school and is an incoming freshman pitcher for Wichita State. But to prepare himself for college-level baseball, Tolle joined the 316 Wichita Sluggers in the Sunflower Summer Baseball League where he’s already smashing it out of the park.

Playing first base with the Sluggers, Tolle said, “It’s pretty cool just to listen to the older guys, get some experience, hear what they’ve been through, kind of get an idea of what college ball is going to be like.”

After graduating high school just months ago, the Bethany, Oklahoma native, Payton Tolle is trying to sharpen his skills headed into his freshman season with Wichita State baseball.

“The coaches have been helping me a lot with hitting because the pitching is a little different than high school,” said Tolle. “So being able to listen to the coaches and even the players.”

The 316 Sluggers coach Jake Johnson said, “The game isn’t, it’s not really sped up for him. I guess you could say a lot of high school kids aren’t as big as him, he’s a big boy. This league’s good. But really just integrating with the college guys and understanding what it takes to be a successful college player.”

“They can teach me the ins and outs of what happens just around Wichita but also with the baseball team. So just being able to pick their brains about stuff and being able to ask them questions,” said Tolle.

Being one of the only high school grads in the summer league, Tolle was named to the All-Star team.

Tolle said, “I couldn’t believe it whenever I saw my name on the list. It was just like, ‘Wow!’ There are so many guys in this league that are studs and I don’t think that I’m that great, I’m just out here having fun.”

“This league is good and for him to be a high school kid and come in here and perform at that kind of level, he’s an impressive talent and I’m telling you, the sky’s the limit for that kid,” said Johnson.

Tolle also qualified for the All-Star Homerun Derby, which he won. Earlier this season he hit one out of the park at Eck Stadium, possibly a sign of things to come next season with the Shox.

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