SouthLake Christian's Jared Fortune has had eye-popping numbers the last few years, while at the same time leading his Eagles to the NCISAA 2A state semifinals twice in three seasons.
Now a senior, Fortune hopes to keep up his pace to help the talented Eagles achieve their ultimate goal - to win a state title.
The dynamic 18-year-old was named all-state last season after batting .448 while hitting 15 homeruns and 45 RBIs. Fortune is a jack-of-all trades for SouthLake, being a pitcher while also playing first, third and shortstop, as well as in the outfield.
"He's gifted," said SouthLake coach Rich Landis. "He has the ability to play most positions. I never have to hesitate to move him around. ... He always rises to the occasion."
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Landis is lucky to have more than one versatile player on his team, as seniors Nathan Sharp and Travis Hallman can also play all of the infield positions.
And with senior Sam Remick behind the plate and plenty of pitchers on the staff, the Eagles have the talent to compete for a title.
With the core of the seniors having played together since they were 9 or 10, Fortune said they can use that to their advantage on the field.
"We have great chemistry," he said. "We know how each other play; we already know what each other likes to do."
Getting so close to the championship game the last few years has been tough for Fortune and his teammates.
"Each year it gets more depressing," said Fortune, explaining that despite the losses, they've gained experience they hope helps them in May.
"I really have a good feeling about our season."
Landis said as Fortune has matured, so has his focus on doing anything to help the team win.
"When kids have that, good things happen to them," said Landis.
Fortune worked hard in the offseason to get bigger and better, throwing and hitting nearly every day during the offseason.
That's already paying off, as Fortune is pitching the fastest he ever has. Topping out in the low 80 mph range last year, he's thrown 88 mph early this season.
But he's just as dangerous away from the mound, as Fortune is a proficient fielder and a proficient batter, being able to hit consistently both inside and outside of the plate, which makes him a tough batter to figure out for opponents.
"Pitchers don't know what to do with him," said Landis.
Fortune has also grown into a leader, but not a very verbal one.
"I usually don't talk a lot. I usually do my own thing," he said, explaining that instead he leads the way through example.
Getting off to a fast start is important for Fortune, as he believes that his momentum can spread across the dugout.
"If somebody on the team starts hitting well, that spreads like a disease," he said.
Fortune hopes to play college ball next year, but he's taking the process slow. He wants to play for a strong program where he can still make an immediate impact. Fortune said Gardner-Webb and Brevard College are his top two schools.
But for now his focus still remains on a state title.
Fortune's coach doesn't mind his team setting their sights high.
"Goals are sometimes lofty, but this one is very achievable," said Landis. "With our experience, depth and leadership, we should be in that championship game."
Landis is glad to have Fortune on board for the Eagles.
"When it's time to play, he loves the game and always performs at a high level," said Landis. "There's a determination about him that many athletes never have."