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Patton gets wish, signs with Itawamba Community College

When Hope Patton was in the ninth grade, she knew she wanted to continue playing softball after her four years with Lafayette came to a close. She even knew exactly where she wanted to go, she just hoped the school reciprocated.

To Patton’s delight, Itawamba Community College did want her to join its team next fall, and the two made it official Friday morning. Patton signed with ICC in the Lafayette High School library.

When Patton was a freshman, she started getting pamphlets in the mail from colleges as most high school students do, and when she received packets from ICC, that is when her interested started focusing soley on the junior college in Fulton.

“ICC sent me some stuff about a camp, and I was like, ‘OK, I’ll go there,” Patton said. “Then apparently, they watched my games from ninth grade that I didn’t know about.”

Itawamba’s interest in Patton was music to her ears as she was wanting to go to school there already due to its two-year Physical Therapy Assistant program. Getting to play softball at ICC on top of earning a degree in the career she is interested in pursuing was a bonus.

ICC is coached by Andy Kirk and former Ole Miss softball player London Ladner.

“I liked their softball field,” Patton said. “I like their basketball court, which is fairly new. I haven’t been to a game yet, but I hope to soon. The science building, that’s the building I mainly toured over there because that’s what I want to go into. It’s real nice. The computer labs are real nice.”

With her future locked in, Patton is turning her attention to her final season with the Commodores, which will begin next month. Lafayette coach Katie Moore knows what Patton, who took over as full-time catcher last season, is capable of from their four years together and is ready to see how she does at the next level.

“People will be surprised,” Moore said. “She played third for me too. Then last year she was going to catch, and she’s done a real good job. … She’s grown a lot, which I think has helped her grow batting. That’s her positive is Hope’s stick. What people don’t realize about her is she’s fast.”

Last season, Patton was third on the team with 23 runs batted in and 30 hits. She also had one home run.