Havelockís Mercedes Hargett has a head for academics. She also has the power to hit a softball a long way.

Havelockís Mercedes Hargett has a head for academics. She also has the power to hit a softball a long way.

Hargett signed her national letter of intent to play softball at Winston-Salem State on Friday at Havelock High School.

"When I visited, I absolutely loved the campus," Hargett said. "I loved the students there. They are real friendly. I loved the team. Itís just a real welcoming campus and environment."

Hargett said she also considered offers from St. Augustine and Norfolk State.

"When it all came down to it, the education at Winston-Salem State had so much more opportunities for me," she said.

Hargett has been involved with the sports medicine program at Havelock High for three years.

"I love it. Itís the greatest thing ever," she said.

She plans to major in exercise science and minor in sports medicine at Winston-Salem State.

"It covers everything from athletic training to sports medicine to physical therapy," she said. "I could even major in that and get a minor in teaching and teach P.E.

"I want to do something with athletic training. I like what I do on the field with sports med here. Thatís what I look to do in the future and make a career out of it."

Hargett said the Winston-Salem State softball program had a lot to offer as well, coming off a 32-19 season and its second straight Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship.

"That was also a factor for me. I really like that," she said of the programís success. "Of course, nobody wants to be part of a losing team."

She also enjoyed meeting with the players during her recruiting trip.

"I felt like I can fit in," she said. "I talked to the girls, and I feel like I can really help out."

Hargett hit .414 last season in helping the Rams to a 22-5 season that ended in the fourth round of the playoffs. She had 28 RBIs, 25 runs scored, a .759 slugging percentage and four home runs, one of which was the first ever hit out of the Nash Central softball stadium during the second round of the playoffs.

"I was so excited about that," Hargett said of the home run. "When I hit the ball, I knew the fence was really tall and really far out. By the time it went over, I was already rounding second base because I didnít know that it went out because the fence is so far and so tall, and nobody had ever hit it out before me, so I was the first one. I was really excited about that."

With such offensive numbers, Hargett has been an all-Coastal 3A Conference player the last two years and was named to the N.C. Softball Coaches Association all-state team last year.

"I work a lot with batting," she said. "Batting is my favorite part of the game, but itís just natural. Iím just naturally strong. Itís just the way Iím built."

She thanked her high school and travel ball coaches as well as her mother, Cynthia, for helping her.

"Sheís supported me so much all the time," Hargett said. "My momís been there the whole entire time, and I really love her for that."