It’s rare that a player can completely change the trajectory of a program, but Coastal Georgia’s Paige Alt was one of those players.
Like every senior across the country, Alt’s final campaign was cut short, but she’d already cemented a spot among Mariner greats, perhaps even taking over the mantle of greatest in program history.
“Paige had arguably the best four-year career as a student athlete as any softball player has ever had here at Coastal Georgia,” said Mariners head coach Mike Minick. “She will leave Coastal Georgia after four years with a 3.88 GPA and a degree in education.”
The Schaumburg, Ill., native committed to Coastal Georgia ahead of the 2016-17 season and immediately made her impact felt as a true freshman. Coming off a 21-23 season, the Mariners improved to 35-21 in Alt’s first season with the freshman setting single-season records with 11 doubles, a 19-6 record, 1.55 ERA, and 119 strikeouts, earning her a spot on the Southern States Athletic Conference’s All-Conference second team, All-Freshman team, and All-Tournament team.
It would be just a taste of what was to come from Alt.
Alt played in 164 games, and she’ll leave the school at or near the top of every offensive and pitching category in program history.
Alt is Coastal Georgia all-time leader in hits (164), RBI (101), doubles (38), home runs (20), slugging percentage (.537), wins (48), ERA (1.68), and strikeouts (321). She’s also third in runs scored (68), her career average of .336 ranks sixth all-time, and her on-base percentage of .390 ranks ninth.
As a sophomore, Alt reset her own record for single-season low in ERA at 1.44 while maintaining a .311 average and leading the team with six home runs and 10 doubles, earning her first team All-Conference honors.
But the accolades really began rolling in following a junior season that saw Alt lead the team with a .364 batting average, 55 hits, 37 RBI, 12 doubles, and 10 home runs, which were also a Sun Conference-high. She was equally as devastating on the mound, tallying a 15-9 record and two saves with 94 strikeouts and a 2.10 ERA over 159.2 innings.
With Alt leading the way, Coastal Georgia captured its first TSC regular-season championship, and for her trouble, she was bestowed TSC Player of the Year honors, spots on the All-Conference first team, the All-Academic team, the NAIA Region 1 First Team, and named a NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athlete.
Alt was on pace to eclipse even that performance as a senior. Through 19 games, she was hitting .455 with 25 hits, five doubles, and 19 RBI from the plate while crafting a 1.33 ERA and a 6-2 record, striking out 31.
“She will leave as the leader in almost every offensive and pitching category in school history,” Minick said. “She was The Sun Conference Player of the Year as a junior. In 19 games before our season was canceled, she had the highest batting average and lowest ERA she had ever had. Paige was well on her way to back to back POY awards.”
In addition to her career records, Alt sits second to Olivia Husted in hits and home runs in a single season. Alt’s dominance on the mound is second to none though, as she is first and second in single-season wins; second, third and fourth in single-season ERA; and first, second, and fourth in strikeouts.
“She was a team captain and team leader that always played and gave her best effort despite numerous injuries in her career. She will be sorely missed but never forgotten. A lot of her school records will stand for a long time,” Minick said.