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How Emma Summers Got Through A Tumultuous Recruiting Process

emma summers belmont softball.jpg
(Photo courtesy of Belmont Athletics)

Emma Summers had a different college softball recruiting experience than most athletes do. From coaches leaving to programs getting cut, she had to overcome many obstacles to end up accomplishing her goal of playing college softball.

Summers is a pitcher from Nashville, Ind. She played travel ball for Indiana Shockwaves–Perry. She committed to Loyola University Chicago in the fall of her junior year of high school. After a coaching change at Loyola, Summers then committed to Wright State the summer after her junior year. Because of program cuts due to Covid-19, she then committed to Miami University (Ohio) the summer after her senior year of high school. After playing her freshman season at Miami, she decided to transfer to Belmont University, where she plans to stay for the rest of her career.

Summers just finished her sophomore year at Belmont, where she appeared in the circle 34 times, pitching 146 innings and posting a 2.06 ERA with 139 strikeouts.

Softball America caught up with Summers about her recruiting and transferring processes.

Softball America: What happened regarding your commitment to Loyola University Chicago?

Emma Summers: The fall of my junior year, I committed to Loyola University in Chicago and that was my first commitment. I was committed there for a few months, and went on my official visit there. A short while after that, the coach was let go. It all kind of came out of the blue. I hadn't heard from the coaching staff in a little bit and then the next thing I heard from them was that the coach was let go. I decided that I didn't really want to play at a school that I didn't really know under a coach that did not recruit me. I went ahead and decommitted from Loyola after that.

SA: What happened regarding your commitment to Wright State?

ES: A few months later, during the summer after junior year, I committed to Wright State. That was going well. I was really excited to go there and play for Coach (Laura) Matthews. I signed my NLI to go to Wright State, and then Covid-19 hit. With Covid-19 came cuts at Wright State, and they cut the softball program. This was really difficult for me because I met some amazing people, and I was really excited to go there.

SA: How did you respond to that adversity?

ES: So, the next step was finding somewhere else to go. I verbally committed to play at Miami of Ohio the summer after my senior year, and a couple weeks after I did that, I signed my NLI to Miami. Then, a couple weeks later, the coach called me and was like, ‘Hey, you know, I've decided to take another coaching job, so I'm not going to be at Miami anymore.’ That was also really hard because that was the third school that I had been ready to play for.

I was like, ‘Well, what do I do now?’ I felt like it was too late to back out of Miami because I was only a couple weeks away from moving in, so I thought I would just take a chance and see if it would still work out even with a new coach. Unfortunately, I found that Miami was just not the place for me after my freshman year. The coaching change made things difficult, and it's always hard to play for coaches who did not specifically recruit you. So, after a year of being there and a lot of thinking, I decided that it was best for me to go somewhere else.

SA: How did you end up at Belmont University?

ES: I ended up with no doubt choosing Belmont University to play for Coach Matthews again. She would have been my coach at Wright State, and we had formed a really great relationship before their program was cut. I committed to Belmont the summer before my sophomore year. I just finished up my first year there and I know now that it is the place that I was supposed to end up at.

My whole experience with recruiting and having to switch schools so many times was crazy, but it ended up turning out amazing. It was kind of a roundabout way of getting where I was meant to be, but it was awesome to end up at a school I love.


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