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Fogle leads the way, signs with Georgia Southern
Flanked by her parents Sonja and Jeremy Fogle, Effingham County High School senior Marie Fogle signs a letter-of-intent with Georgia Southern University. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

As the lone senior on this year’s Effingham County High School softball team, Marie Fogle carried much of the leadership mantle. Early Wednesday morning, the Lady Rebels catcher put a cap on her career.

Fogle signed a national letter of intent with Georgia Southern University, joining former Megen Smith. Fogle chose GSU over Armstrong Atlantic, North Carolina-Wilmington and Brevard College, among others.

“I was more nervous about deciding what school to go to get a chance to play,” she said.

Fogle took an official visit to the Statesboro school and said it felt like home.

“The girls are great, the coach is great, and they have a great program for my major (physical education),” she said.

ECHS coach Tesh Pace said she was proud of Fogle for pursuing her goal, something “she has known what she has wanted to do since she was 10,” mom Sonja Fogle said.

“The more we can push on to the next level, that’s what we’re here for,” Pace said.

Pace also praised the work of coaches Jim Simmons, Brett Griffin and Matt Huntley in helping Fogle, who also has played with the Effingham Angels traveling team, becoming the first player in that organization to sign a college scholarship, according to coach Ty Rietkovich.

Leading the 2007 Lady Rebels was left largely up to Fogle, according to Pace.

“It was in her hands how she wanted the team to go at it,” she said.

Said Fogle: “It was hard knowing everything revolved around me, and I had to step up and be the leader. Everybody looked up to me. I liked it, even though I missed my other senior teammates.”

The Eagles went 29-32 last year under sixth-year coach Natalie Poole, falling in the Southern Conference Tournament championship in extra innings to Furman.

The Eagles won the 2006 SoCon crown and advanced to the NCAAs for the first time in school history.

Fogle likely will be a utility player for the Eagles, who will lose only three seniors off the 2008 roster.

“I might catch every now and then,” Fogle said, adding she expects to play the infield and the outfield. “As long as I get to play.”

Pace said Fogle is also a good baserunner.

“She’s smart on the bases,” she said. “She’s not satisfied with one base. She wants that extra base.”

Having Smith already on the GSU team helped, but it wasn’t a deciding factor for Fogle.

“I love her to death,” Fogle said. “But I chose this because of me.”

Sonja Fogle is, understandably, delighted with having the chance to see her daughter play college softball. Because of work schedules, the Fogles — Sonja and Jeremy — didn’t get to see many of Marie’s high school games.

“I’m excited,” she said. “She’s going to be playing where we can get to see her play.”