SP Fortune signs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 27, 2012

South Panola fastpitch third baseman Meri Morgan Fortune (front, center) signed a letter of intent to play softball at East Mississippi Community College on Thursday. With her as she signs are (front row) her parents, Cassie Arnold and stepfather Jay Arnold; (back) South Panola head coach Ashleigh Hicks and East Mississippi Community College head softball coach Kate Neely. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Fortune signs with East Mississippi

By Angie Ledbetter

Meri Morgan Fortune has been playing softball since the age of five and Thursday the senior’s dream came true as she signed a national letter of intent to play fastpitch for the East Mississippi Community College Lady Lions in Scooba. Attending the signing to support Fortune were family, friends, coaches and teammates.

“This day means a lot to me,” said Fortune. “I get to take a step up and continue playing.”

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Fortune always thought she’d play college ball somewhere.

“I did think I’d play somewhere because I set high goals for myself.”

The Lady Lions was her choice for many reasons.

“I really like them and they were very welcoming,” Fortune said. “I had a really good feeling about them and I knew it had to be God because I really didn’t know where I was going. I thought I was going to Northwest but changed my mind.”

Fortune said being away from home will be hard.

“I know it’s going to be hard but I think I’m going to get used to it when I start having fun.”
As a senior getting ready to leave her team, she leaves a message.

“Always set high goals for yourself and never give up,” she said.

Head fastpitch Coach Ashleigh Hicks said Fortune’s signing was a big part of the program.

“It shows where our program is and it’s moving forward,” Hicks said. “We’re producing kids that can move on to the next level.

“All of our kids work extremely hard and Fortune started with us in the eighth grade and she’s been a hard worker since then. She got better and better every year and I think this is just another step in her career.”

This signing is also a reflection on the hard work the coaches do, Hicks said.

“This is the fruit of our labor to me and it’s an exciting time,” she continued. “We work hard to win but you also work hard for your kids to go further than just high school if they want to. I not only try to teach them softball but life lessons.”

The Lady Lions won the first ever MACJC North Division Championship in fastpitch last year.