Lady Blue Tide softball player Caitlyn Wingate signed to play for South Georgia State College during a ceremony at Long County High School Friday.
Long County softball coach Brian Thomas told the group gathered in the school’s cafeteria that Wingate represented the squad well and grew by leaps and bounds this past season.
“Over the last 15 to 18 months she has improved her skills so much and she has worked so hard and I am incredibly proud of her,” Thomas said.
Wingate played in 28 games this past season with 34 hits off 85 plate appearances, netting 25 singles, five doubles, three triples and a home run.
She had 13 RBIs, scored 21 runs and had an on-base percentage of .452. Wingate also pitched 25 innings, walking five and getting 24 strikeouts.
Wingate said she liked the SGSC campus, which is an hour from her home. She said it is not too large, yet no too small.
Wingate said she plans to study psychology and will work to play infield and pitch for the SGSC Lady Hawks. Before signing, a teary Wingate thanked her friend, Harley Dawson, for pulling her into softball nine years ago.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do without you next year there,” she said, voice cracking. “Thanks to my parents who always supported me … Thank you all so much.”
“It’s the happiest day of my life,” her dad, Mike Wingate, said. “I am proud of her and she’s worked hard and deserves this.”
He said they plan to travel to as many of her college games as they can, and said he thinks his daughter will stay on course. His advice for her is to focus on her studies, enjoy playing and to surround herself with people who will support and guide her in the right direction.
“Stay true to herself,” mom, Kelly Wingate, added noting her daughter has great work and school ethics.
She said her daughter would like to teach and coach softball. Playing college ball and getting a degree gets her closer to her goals.