DECATUR, Ala (WAAY) -  There were plenty of athletes signing National Letters of Intent today as the early signing period gets underway.  And while most of the attention is on the basketball signees, one of the best stories comes out of the gym, and onto the diamond.

Peyton Barthel, coming off an outstanding junior year on the softball field, signs her letter of intent to continue playing ball for the Gamecocks at Jacksonville State.  Barthel becomes the first athlete ever from Decatur Heritage Academy to sign a letter of intent to play at a division 1 school.

"It makes me so excited," said Barthel at her signing today.  "It's more than I can even dream of.  I'm just so thankful that I was blessed with this opportunity.  Without my coaches, I would not have been able to do all that I've done.  They've helped me at the skill level, mental level,  physical, and every aspect, they've been so much help.  I just really appreicate all that they've done.  I wouldn't have been able to do it without them for sure."

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