Mesquite ISD softball Coach Heather Fortenberry-Beaty was recently awarded the Hall of Honor at Poteet High School.
Fortenberry-Beaty was the 2003 District Newcomer of the Year and led her team to Poteet’s first state finals as a freshman. During her sophomore and junior years, she was named as the back-to-back District Pitcher of the Year. In her senior year, she became the District MVP in 2006. Fortenberry-Beaty earned a scholarship to play at the next level and competed for University of Texas at Arlington.
The 2006 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year had a team best 2.33 ERA and went on to lead the team in several categories throughout her career. After graduating, Fortenberry-Beaty returned to Mesquite ISD and has served at North Mesquite and Poteet as a softball coach and special education teacher.
“I planned on going to law school, and that fell through when I started missing softball,” Fortenberry-Beaty said. “I started subbing and got a job to teach at North Mesquite and coached there for a year and then came back to Poteet and have been here for nine years.”
Fortenberry-Beaty has given her appreciation to her family and friends for their continuous support through her career and now the Hall of Honor award.
"I always had a large cheering section no matter where I went, and it’s been extremely joyous getting to celebrate with those people that had a big impact on my softball career, and it’s been so cool,” Fortenberry-Beaty said. “You don’t ever think about things like this happening, you just get out there and you play. The outpouring from the community, my softball community and family have given me their support and congratulations and it gives me a smile on my face.”
The Mesquite ISD has continued to be a tight knit group of people to Fortenberry-Beaty. Her family also has worked in the school district throughout the years and that has cast an impact on Fortnberry-Beaty.
“I can remember the very first year that the Mesquite girl’s softball complex opened up, and my grandpa was on the City Council at that time. I remember that from an early age and getting to play my whole career from beginning to end at that place in Mesquite and then of course getting to come back and coach at that place has been very cool and a unique experience,” Fortenberry-Beaty said. “The people that work in this district support one another. That’s been very influential as well is just the support from those groups of people.”
About two years ago, Fortenberry-Beaty suffered an injury that had the possibility of her not being allowed to pitch again. She had two surgeries on her shoulder, and this award has allowed her to reflect on her softball career.
“I think at this particular time having the induction it refilled my heart with that joy and that love. I do miss the sport. It's kind of sad when you don't get to make the choice not to play anymore or not to coach or not to pitch any more,” Fortenberry-Beaty said. “It was important to me. I think that it will always be my first love, and it will be the thing that pushes me to be better and that’s a valuable lesson that softball has taught me.”