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Fortenberry leads nation in wins but strives to stay humble

May 11—Pitchers often tune out the crowd when on the mound. However, for Weatherford College sophomore Robert Fortenberry, there is one exception to that rule.

"A person who inspires me to be better is my dad. He is at every game that I pitch and is always there ready to talk to me about how I did, no matter the outcome," Fortenberry said. "He is my number one supporter, and seeing him there in the stands impacts

me more than he could know."

Well, he probably has an idea if he keeps up with his son's statistics. The Frisco Wakeland product was leading the nation in victories heading into the postseason with a 12-0 record, which is also a new school record for the Coyotes, eclipsing All-American

Ryne Rodriguez's record of 11-0 set last season.

In his two seasons as a Coyote, Fortenberry has fashioned a 22-1 record. He was recently named the Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year, along with teammate Cade Crossland.

Unlike his presence on the mound, Fortenberry is humble at learning of his accomplishments.

"I wasn't aware I was that close to the record, but that is very cool to hear about," he said.

And he is reluctant to take the credit for his success.

"A lot of my success has come from the people around me. Last year it was the stellar offense giving me a lot of run support every single week," he said. "This year it's much of the same, with good run support and all the pitchers around me helping me get better

by the week."

At Wakeland, Fortenberry was a four-year member of the varsity and helped lead the Wolverines to four straight district championships. Among his individual accolades, as a sophomore, he was named Reliever of the Year for District 9-5A and selected to play in

the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game.

His highlight at Wakeland was striking out 17 batters in seven innings while pitching a two-hit victory. As a Coyote, his highlight came this season when he tossed a one-hitter in a shutout win over Cisco.

Fortenberry has committed to play for Mississippi State University in the tough Southeastern Conference next season. Of course, he is also hoping for a chance to play professionally.

His current major is business. However, he's seriously considering a switch to kinesiology.

At the time of this article, the Coyotes were chasing a second consecutive berth in the NJCAA Division I World Series, where they finished third in the nation last season.

"I couldn't be more happy or proud of everyone on these teams the last two years," Fortenberry said. "Everything we've accomplished has been because of the great coaching we've received and because of the work we are all willing to put in daily."