Leading in multiple offensive categories so far the season Orange County native Alexis Sullivan made an early impact in her first year with Howard Payne University.
Sullivan transferred to HPU last season following a successful JUCO career at Midland College and recently extended her hitting streak to three games after going 2 for 4 with two RBI against American Southwest Conference foe LeTourneau over the weekend.
“It’s great coming in from JUCO. I think that was a good starting point for myself and my career,” Sullivan said. “Coming to a bigger university and having such a big impact right away is awesome and a great opportunity. I’m happy to be here.”
Sullivan has a .333 batting average over 81 appearances. She also has a team-leading 19 RBIs as well as a team-leading 28 doubles to go along with her two home runs. Sullivan said transitioning from JUCO to Division III has not been easy with DIII starting as much as three months later than junior college. However, Sullivan said the lack of opponents only made her hungrier for an opportunity to get back on the diamond.
“We didn’t have all of those preseason games in the beginning. I was definitely hungry for the season to come,” Sullivan said. “I really wanted to produce as soon as I got here and I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Sullivan said her coaches and teammates also made her transition much easier. While stepping into a program with already established players, Sullivan’s team-building exercises helped focus the players to make their contributions where they can. With this mentality, she never felt as if she was usurping another player. Now deeply ensconced in the Lady Jackets in a short period of time, Sullivan said that her team is ready to make a run at the conference tournament, having won five of their last eight games.
“We want more than anything to make it to the conference tournament,” Sullivan said. “As soon as we get to the conference tournament, it’s anyone’s game. Anyone can take it. Anyone can win. Our goal right now is just to make it there. Once we get there, it’s a whole different ball game.”
Sullivan currently majors in psychology with a minor in kinesiology. She hopes to go into sports psychology after her playing days. Although far from finished with school with plans to pursue a Ph.D, Sullivan said she is already using her own experiences and how she mentally overcame adversity as a basis for how she will work with athletes in the future.
“I definitely want to be involved in the game. Coming from such a competitive division in JUCO it was a reality check,” Sullivan said. “I knew I was mentally tough going into it, but I didn’t realize how mentally tough I would have to be to compete at such a high level. Coming into DIII, it was the same thing. You have to have a high level of mental toughness or this game will tear you apart.”