Brooksville’s Megan Renee Lane officially signed a national letter of intent Friday to play Division I softball next year with the Mercer University Bears in Macon, Ga.
The multi-sport Lane is currently in her third season of weightlifting under Casey Ellis. Though she did not compete last winter, she won the county title at 139 pounds in 2013.
Hernando senior catcher Megan Lane, flanked by her parents Tracy and Scott Lane, signed to play softball at Division I Mercer University on Friday. Back row, from left: Hernando girls weightlifting and assistant softball coach Casey Ellis and head softball coach Kevin Bittinger. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
After weightlifting, she’ll wind up her fourth fast-pitch softball season with the Lady Leopards under skipper Kevin Bittinger.
Bittinger described Lane in glowing terms.
“Other than (Kenzi) Maguire (at River Ridge), I don’t know anyone as explosive in the North Suncoast as Megan,” Bittinger said. “To maintain her batting average with coaches trying to stop her was remarkable.
“With everything she’s done, she still works hard on her game. Her natural instincts are out of this world.”
Without playing in one game as a senior, Lane’s resume is extensive. In 85 career games, she arrives as the school’s all-time leading hitter after 25 seasons, carrying a .473 average.
Lane, who batted right-handed until switching completely to a left-handed slap hitter in 2014, has 139 career hits.
She’s tied the school record with Chrissy Hartley for most career runs scored (113) and leads in career stolen bases (156).
Defensively behind the dish, she converted 207-of-209 chances (.990) and threw out 9-of-13 enemy base runners attempting to steal last season.
The three-time All-County selection was born and raised in Brooksville by her parents: Scott and Tracy Lane.
After de-committing to the University of Central Florida, the 17-year-old Lane boiled down her final choices for college softball to Troy University and Mercer.
Lane’s visits to both schools ultimately sealed the deal.
“At Troy, I felt like I was just another recruit on a visit,” candidly recalled Lane. “But at Mercer, they made me feel like I was welcomed. After talking to the coaches, the players made me feel like I was already a part of the team.”
In describing herself, Lane said, “I’m an athlete. I think I do pretty well because of the genes I received from my parents, especially my speed – that’s valuable in any sport.”
Mercer hasn’t penciled in Lane into any one position.
“They’ve told me they’d like me to play middle infield, but really I will play anywhere they want me to go,” she said.
On leaving Hernando County, “My parents told me once I go up there I can’t come home until next Thanksgiving,” said Lane. “They want me to get used to my new surroundings.”
Lane believes she’s elevated her game, particularly at the plate, saying, “After hitting right-handed as a freshman and sophomore, switching to the left side has helped me out tremendously. As a hitter, it gives me a lot more options to slap or bunt or hit away. That freedom helps me get on base.”
Her biggest concern entering her senior campaign is improving her arm speed.
“There’s always something I can improve on,” pointed out Lane.
Before relocating to Macon, Lane would like to improve on her ACT score and her current (3.6 unweighted) grade point average.
She plans to study business management.
“I’m going to miss my friends, but everyone needs to get out of Brooksville to see what’s out there,” explained Lane. “Eventually, I’ll move back.”
Besides putting in practice time in the weight room and on the diamond, Lane earns some spending cash by giving private softball lessons.
When she’s not playing sports or giving lessons, you can spot her on the beach hanging with her friends.
On what signing with Mercer ultimately means, “This validates what I’ve done so far. It feels like everyone expects me to do well,” she replied. “Before I go I’d love to extend the stolen base record and hit for a higher average. I’d love to hit some homers this year, too. I didn’t hit one last year.”
By the numbers: Hernando High’s Megan Lane (2012-14)
– Compiled by TONY CASTRO
YR GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI .AVG
2012 25 86 25 39 4 1 0 09 .453
2013 30 100 37 40 6 6 2 25 .400
2014 30 108 51 60 7 2 0 13 .556
TOTALS 85 294 113 139 17 9 2 47 .473