PORTLAND - Portland senior Mac Fitzgerald will continue her softball and academic career at Tennessee Tech University.

Fitzgerald, the daughter of Amanda and Billy Fitzgerald, inked scholarship papers Thursday afternoon in the school library in front of family, friends, and coaches.

“I chose Tech because it felt like home,” she said. “I love the coaches, the program, and the campus. The offered me after they saw me in a summer tournament.” 

Fitzgerald was discovered in Birmingham, Alabama when playing in a summer tournament for her travel ball team, Team Mojo. 

“The great thing about Mac is when the game is on the line she slows the game down and makes it easy,” travel ball head coach JT Turnbow said. “Her sports IQ is so far ahead of most girls her age she positions herself well. She is a great kid. She will transition to college well because of speed and power. I think she will transition to a middle infielder in college and bat at the top of the lineup because of what she can do at the plate.”

Fitzgerald has been a starter from day one stepping in the circle for the Portland Panthers softball team. 

As a junior, she earned Most Valuable Player honors in Sumner County. During her junior campaign, she batted .489 with an on-base percentage of .511. She recorded 51 RBIs, 27 stolen bases, 8 home runs, and 64 hits. In the circle as the team’s main pitcher, she threw 127 innings, recording 67 strikeouts, and a 2.9ERA. 

“From the first time she walked on the field as a freshman, we knew she was going to be one of those kids that come in and play immediately,” Portland head coach Vanessa Tomlinson said. “Her growth from freshman year to this year has been phenomenal. You can play her anywhere in the field and feel comfortable that she will do her job. She is such a smart player and does a great job every game. I have no doubt she will excel at the next level.” 

With Most Valuable Player honors under her belt in the county, there is still one team award that has eluded Fitzgerald.

“I am going to make it very clear to the team that the goal is to win districts,” she said. “It’s going to take a team effort and I think we can do it.”

Fitzgerald also wants to add the District MVP hardware to her mantle but she says team goals are more important. 

“I credit my parents for teaching me a team-first attitude,” she added. “They have always pushed me to do what is best for the team no matter how I feel about a situation. I’m thankful for them for teaching me that.” 

The senior standout personifies what it means to be a student-athlete. She currently holds a 3.75 Grade Point Average and is in the top 10% of her graduating class. She is currently enrolled in multiple dual-enrollment classes and plans to obtain her Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) license before graduation in May. 

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse,” she said of her career choice. “I’ve explored other options but none of them excite me the way that being a nurse does.” 

The Lady Panthers and Fitzgerald will soon begin preparation for the 2020 season. 

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