When Brownstown Central senior Erin Singleton heard from her hitting coach that Manchester University’s softball team was looking for a middle infielder, she jumped on the opportunity to reach out.
Singleton touched base with head coach Sara Emerich, asking questions about the Manchester program while also talking about herself as a player. Emerich like what she heard and invited Singleton to a camp on campus.
So Singleton attended the camp, met the girls on the team and then took an official visit the day after.
“My visit went very well,” she said.
This was around last October, and by the time late December rolled around, Singleton had her mind made up and officially texted Emerich that she is choosing Manchester to play softball collegiately.
On Feb. 9 in the Brownstown Central High School trophy room, Singleton, surrounded by family, friends and coaches, officially signed her national letter of intent to Manchester.
“My shoulders feel so relieved,” she said. “I’m excited to start playing where I don’t have to worry about somebody watching or if I’m good or not. The decision is made, and it’s exciting.”
Singleton has been playing softball since she was 6. She said it has always been a plan of hers to play the sport at the next level.
“I love the game,” she said.
Her strengths are playing in the infield, which was why this opening at Manchester intrigued her.
“Fielding-wise, I’m very influential in the middle infield. It’s a lot of speed. I’m very athletic, and that’s what a lot of coaches look for is a lot of athleticism,” Singleton said. “I also have a pretty decent bat, which I thank my hitting coach for.”
Singleton prefers shortstop over second base because she enjoys the leadership responsibilities that come with being the shortstop. She’s also open to being placed anywhere on the defensive side of the ball to help her team.
“I’m also a utility player, and I’ll play any position they need me to,” she said.
Erin grew up playing softball side-by-side with her sister, Emily, who recently committed to play softball at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Emily signed her national letter of intent on Nov. 3.
“We push each other a lot,” Erin said. “It’s always good to have a workout buddy. I have someone I can go throw with at any time. We used to be a pitcher-catcher duo, so having that was pretty beneficial.”
When Erin was narrowing down her decisions, she also considered Roosevelt University in Chicago and Huntington University, but she felt like Manchester was the best fit for her.
Being close to home wasn’t necessarily a must-have for Erin, but she admitted it’ll be nice to be able to come home on the weekends or any time she needs to.
In addition to playing softball at Manchester, Erin will be studying political science with the pre-law program. It’s a major she recently decided on, too.
“I volunteered at the hospital, got all this experience in the medical field and then realized it’s not really what I wanted to do,” Erin said. “I got an internship with judge (AmyMarie) Travis, got real-time experience in the courtroom, learned terminology and yeah, I kind of fell in love with it.”
But before Singleton gets to Manchester, she still has one last softball season at Brownstown Central and one last travel season this summer.
The Braves will be coached by first-year coach Darren Bryant, who took over after Monte Ault retired last spring.
“We’ve been hitting it hard in workouts, getting conditioning and hitting in,” Singleton said. “We’re going to have a really good team this year. I’m super excited for sectional. It’s going to be huge for us. We’re going to really focus on getting a sectional championship and then seeing what comes after that.”
Official practice starts in about three weeks for softball, and then Singleton and the Braves will hit the ground running.
Sooner than later, Singleton will turn her prep softball career into her collegiate softball career, just like she always planned.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “Manchester is a tight-knit community, which is what we have here at Brownstown. I’m leaving one home to another home.”