Geneviève Payne (2026); Fast Rising Speedy Utility/3B/SS/CF: Virginia Glory
Virginia Glory Fastpitch Softball
Name: Geneviève Payne
Hometown: Clinton, MD
Grad Year: 2026
Travel Team: Virginia Glory
High School: Bishop O’Connell
Positions: Utility, 3B, OF, SS
Bat/Throw: Right / Right
Overhand Velocity: 59 mph
Exit Velocity off Tee: 65.2mph
Home to First: 2.84
Intended Study Major: Graphic Design
You’re an elite Utility prospect that can play successfully in the infield and outfield. What else should we know about you?
I do more than just softball, but softball is my number 1 priority next to academics. I play guitar, I knit, I make sure to make time for myself that’s not sports related. I try to live a balance life. I try to live life as a spectrum of many things. I care a lot about every human being and enjoy volunteering to help others in anyway way I can.
Gigi playing violin at a recital
How did your softball journey begin?
It began with my father putting a tee in front of me and a bat in my hand when I was 2 years old in the backyard of my Uncle Johnny’s house. I hit the ball with near perfect form (for a 2 yr old my dad said) all the way up the hill. Everyday I tried to hit the ball further than I did the day before. That’s when I began to understand what it means to compete with yourself. I have tried to be 1% better everyday since then.
My first team was when I was 6 years old playing for Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association (NVGSA) team called “Orange Crush”. That’s where I met a really good friend and teammate of mine Baylee Stevens “Mini B” ❤️.
My first travel team was the Virginia Stingrays 10u for coach Michelle Crabill. Coach Michelle was an immediate role model coach to me. She coached me and my teammates hard but somehow made it super fun too! She is one of the best coaches I ever had. I was only 8 years old when I joined the team. I met my life long friends there Alexa ❤️and Annie❤️. That’s pretty much how it all started.
First pic of Gigi playing her first season of softball
Young Gigi and her father
What are your greatest strengths as a softball player?
My greatest ability is how I love to bring a team together and unite them. My greatest physical ability is my hand eye coordination along with my reaction time. Coaches have also told me a strength of mine is game sense. I love to look and hunt to get the second out during a play.
What kind of hitter are you and what are your most recent offensive stats?
I’m a very strategic and situational hitter. I also LOVE to hit with the game on the line. I do whatever is needed for the situation and when the game is on the line I focus on my job and love coming through for my teammates. If my team needs me to lay down a bunt to move a runner that’s my focus, if I’m leading off an inning, my focus is to get on base anyway possible, if the game is on the line and my team needs a base hit no matter what, I hunt a pitch that I know the pitcher is pitching and I just wait and execute on that one pitch to win the game for my team.
Most recently this last summer season in months June and July, I finished with a .351 BA and 20 SBs.
Describe your leadership style and what characteristics do you find in outstanding leaders?
I lead in a way that I try to be an extension of the coach on the field. I always try to guide my teammates on how to make difficult plays easy. I also always try to bring everyone and keep everyone together even in situations where we are losing or are in a tough situation whether it’s on or off the field.
I love how leaders work really hard but with care and understanding. They treat people as God does and always are clear with what they are trying to teach. I also love how some leaders I have played for teach things that can be applied both on and off the field.
You’re obviously very busy with so many activities and events in your life. How do you balance your life and manage your time so effectively?
The way I manage my softball life with my family life and my social life and my academic life is I have a system type of schedule. The strategy of my time management of all these things is that I focus on academics first everyday, then softball, and then social life. When I’m done with school and my school work at home, my focus is 100% shifted towards softball and my preparation (I’m so honored to be a Bishop O’Connell Knight!).
Once I’m done with that, family takes the rest of my day. Spending time with my sister June and my Mom is super important to me. I also have a dog, his name is Robbie and I make sure to spend time with him too. I spend a ton of time with my dad, he helps me stay on track with everything! The sacrifice I take with my way of life is my social life. My true friends understand why I can’t be in every chat, every party, every hangout, or on the phone all the time. That’s why I respect and appreciate them so much!
Describe your Gameday mental preparation and your thought process and mindset in the circle and/or the batters box.
My Game day preparation involves a ton of meditation which the first half is clearing my mind and the second half is focused on my opponent and what I have to do to be successful.
I go in the batter’s box with the mindset of making contact on the ball where ever and whatever the situation is needed for me and my team to be successful. It’s important to me to always plan ahead of my at-bats and to take away a pitcher’s plan to get outs.
What is your favorite sports memory and greatest achievement?
My last game playing for Coach Amy and playing with my teammate Sophie (Coach Amy is her mom) I absolutely love playing for coach Amy and love Sophie ❤️ as a teammate and a friend. I wanted that day to never end and I miss them so so much!
Gigi and Coach Amy (This was her last game coaching the team)
Greatest achievement is winning the Softball Youth 14U Silver Slugger Award of the showcase which is awarded by a vote by all other coaches of the showcase. I finished with a .626 batting average and my team won the championship. I was fortunate enough to play for Coach Abbey Cheek! Coach Abbey assigned me to play every position on the field except shortstop, catcher, and pitcher. I truly love being a Utility player!
Coach Abbey Cheek and Gigi who won the Silver Slugger Award
Gigi after winning two Player of the Game awards in a tournament last Summer
How do you handle adversity and even failure?
I treat it as a learning opportunity and treat failure as I treat success. I think and learn about how I felt at the time when the failure was happening, why it was happening, how I reacted, and why I couldn’t fix it at the time so I make sure I adjust to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I also make sure I have my time to be open to how I feel about it so next time the situation occurs I remember how it feels and do everything in my power to show my adjustment and be as successful as I can for my teammates.
How would your teammates and friends describe you?
They would describe me as energetic and the “mom” of our friends. Outgoing, empathetic, and caring.
VA Glory - Long
"Gi is the loudest most uplifting and supportive teammate I’ve had. She also has a super strong arm and uses it to makes great plays from the hole at shortstop."
--- Quote from Gigi's best friend and teammate Annie Van Dyck
Who is your role-model and or idol and why?
My dad (Jamien Payne), because he made it to his goal of playing in college and pro (minor/independent) baseball. I have seen him put in the work and seen what it takes to grind to where you want to be. He is my blueprint.
Gigi and her Dad on Fathers Day
If you could spend a day with any softball player, former or current, who would it be and why?
Coach Bella Norton for sure! Because she is currently a coach at University of Virginia. I would love to learn what a day is like as a college coach. She also has gone through the process of playing HS/travel ball to playing at a Power 5 school to coaching a travel team to being a college coach at a power 5 school. This is exactly what I want to do! A day will not be enough time to spend with Coach Bella.
What is your softball dream/goal?
My dream and ambition is to inspire people that watch softball and watch me play to want to work and achieve their goals in life. Also to play college at the highest level, win championships with my team, and ultimately give back to the sport by becoming a coach for youth and coach the team as they grow over the years.
When deciding on what college team to play for what are the most important things you’re looking for?
I would love to play for any college that has a really good graphic design program, the coaches and teammates are outgoing, and the dynamic of the practices are fun, energizing, challenging, and will make me and all my teammates better. Something that is important to me too is if I can see myself living on the campus. I feel like the college has to feel like my second home. Also, if the college has great professors that I can learn from and be challenged by.
What gets you hyped or ready before a game?
Listening to music and dancing with my team to a playlist I created the night before.
What is your favorite jersey number and why did you choose it?
#1 Most of my family members have birthdays at the first of the month, including me, my sister, and my cousin Amaya Payne who is like a sister to me!
What other hobbies do you have to balance out softball and your personal life?
I like to draw, knit, I play guitar, piano, and I love to play violin. I just recently joined my high school’s (Bishop O’Connell) track team too, as a sprinter. I also spend a lot of time on graphic design projects! I design all the Instagram posts of a club at school I’m in called Health is Wealth. Health is Wealth is a group of people that raise awareness to health issues that people struggle with everyday. I was also voted in my high school’s Student Council Association as an Advisory Representative.
At home, I love to bake. I also play video games like Sims, Fortnite, Minecraft, Destiny, and Need for Speed. I also watch Anime in my down time.
Who would you like to thank for your softball achievements and support?
I would like to thank all my coaches, especially Michelle Crabill, Suzy Willemssen, Abbey Cheek, Sundar and Meg Cook, Amy Overholt, and Katrina Johnson.
I would like to thank all my past and current teammates especially, Olivia (Liv) Holmes, Alexa Harvey, Annie Van Dyck, Mya Cook, Callie Lissenden, and Skylar Eichelbaum
I also would like to thank my entire family especially, my mom Nicole Payne!
"What I love about Gigi is how she is fearless and gets after it. She loves challenges and embraces the mindset of, "struggle means I am getting better." Gigi has the dedication and drive to reach whatever goals she sets for herself. It will be fun to watch her journey unfold. Her future is so bright!"
--- Head Coach Suzy Willemssen, VA Glory Fastpitch Softball
Additional Info About Gigi
Walk up Song: Yeah! (feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris)
Favorite Food: All Japanese (especially Sushi)
Favorite Song: 8 by Billie Eilish
Favorite Music Artist: Billie Eilish
Favorite Sports Team: Dallas Cowboys
Favorite Sports Celebrity: Montana Fouts
Favorite Movie: The Conjuring 2
Favorite Sports Movie: Remember The Titans
Favorite TV Show: Jujutzu Kaisin
Favorite Book: Whisper
Favorite Travel Spot: Destin, FL
Favorite Quote: “Soon, when all is well, you’re going to look back in this period of your life and be so glad that you never gave up” by Brittany Burgunder
Gigi and Head Coach Melissa Inouye at Fordham Softball Clinic
Published by Andrew Jacobs; L&LS Mid-Atlantic/East Coast Evaluations; December 9, 2022