Peyton Yerta made a name for himself as a sophomore

Published 12:20 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Chambers Academy put together a deep run on the diamond this season, advancing all the way to the semifinals. The Rebels had several upperclassmen step up to make the run possible, but several younger guys like Peyton Yerta also made a name for themselves along the way. 

Yerta was dominant as a freshman for Chambers Academy, posting a .464 batting average. However, Yerta found the spotlight in his sophomore season. 

Yerta was dominant as a freshman, but he was also still in his older brother’s shadow. Braxton Yerta was a star on the football field and the baseball field and is now playing baseball at Wallace State Community College. 

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Peyton’s sophomore season marked the first time that he had been the only Yerta on the field. Peyton wanted to outdo what his brother did at Chambers Academy, but he also learned a lot from watching his brother over the years. 

“I just wanted to do better than he did,” Peyton said. “It always was a competition growing up, and I just wanted to fill his shoes and be better than what he was. I learned leadership from him and how to be a good teammate.” 

Yerta struggled to find a rhythm out of the gates, but towards the end of his sophomore season, he became Chambers Academy’s most reliable defender and best weapon on offense.
Yerta finished the season with a .324 batting average, 21 RBIs, one home run and 16 stolen bases. Yerta’s one home run came in the playoffs as he hit a grand slam against Hooper Academy. 

“I just started in kind of a slump to start the season, and I just adjusted and learned from it and got back grooving like I ended last year,” Yerta said. 

Chambers Academy hovered around .500 for most of the season, but somehow the Rebels came together for a deep run in the playoffs. 

Despite the struggles through the early stretches of the season, the team chemistry was strong and the Rebels found a way to overcome the growing pains. 

“All of us have been close, and we just all worked together to be the best we could be as a team,” Yerta said. 

Yerta and the rest of the underclassmen who led the way had to overcome all the struggles of being a young athlete to start the season. That did not stop the coaching staff from pushing them to be what they thought the team could be. 

Dillon NeSmith and Shane Andrews showed up every day and pushed the underclassmen to be better. The pair continually focused on helping Yerta improve because they knew the type of baseball player he could be. 

“Coach Dillon and coach Shane really pushed us this year to be our best,” Yerta said. “Coach Dillon really pushed me to be a better leader and coach Shane just pushed me to be the best that I could be.” 

Chambers Academy’s run to the semifinals was special, but the sophomore class led by Yerta had NeSmith and the rest of the baseball program eyeing new heights. 

Sophomores made up most of Chambers Academy’s lineup this season. The experience that the group gained throughout the playoff run was invaluable, and even better could lay ahead for the group. 

“I think we’re a very special group and could be one of the best senior classes to come out of Chambers Academy,” Yerta said. “I think the sophomores will develop more, and we’ll have some more players come in. That gave us some experience, so during our senior year we’ll have the experience. We’ll just have to put it out on the field.” 

Like his brother Braxton, Peyton also aspired to be a dual-sport athlete. Peyton was expected to play a major role on the gridiron for the Rebels, but a broken leg before the season kept him off the field. 

The injury gave Yerta the opportunity to reevaluate things, and he ultimately decided to focus on baseball for the remainder of his high school career. 

“I plan on going to play college baseball somewhere, and I want to have the best chance of playing college baseball,” Yerta said. “I really want to focus on getting better.” 

Yerta has played in the middle of the infield since his tee-ball days and has developed into a dynamic athlete at shortstop. 

Heading into his junior year, Yerta still has several things he wants to improve upon. Yerta also knows that he will be expected to step up and become even more of a leader next season. 

“I really need to get my velocity up throwing-wise, and I need to get more power in my legs when I hit,” Yerta said.