Manning signs to play softball at Lincoln Trail
FARMERSBURG — North Central had its second softball player this spring be offered a chance to extend her career.
Senior Morgan Manning signed a letter-of-intent on Wednesday to play softball for the next two seasons at Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois.
“Lincoln Trail is a getting a great player,” North Central coach Erica Arnold said of Manning. “What makes this even more special for me is that Morgan is going to play for my old college coach.”
Gary Rodgers is the head man at LTC. He said Manning brings a lot to the field.
“We are getting an exceptional athlete,” Rodgers said of Manning, a starter on last year’s Class A state runner-up team. “She is strong both offensively and defensively.
“We are very excited to have Morgan sign. I see her playing at first base. She is the seventh player we have signed and we hope to sign three more as we return eight players. She is a good student. I tell all the girls that academics come first. I tell them to make good decisions as they are going to be away from home for the first time.”
Manning, the daughter of Rick Manning and Jennifer Ricketts, is currently batting .501 (35 of 69). She has nine runs, 23 RBIs, nine doubles and two home runs.
As a junior, Manning hit .472 with 51 hits, 38 RBIs and 19 runs scored.
She also started as a sophomore. She finished with a .430 average. She had 34 hits, 22 RBIs and 18 runs scored.
All this came after playing in two varsity games as a freshman with two at bats.
“I would have never dreamt back then that something like this could have happened,” Manning said of her freshman season. “But coach Erica (Arnold) and coach Ron (Miller) both told me that if I worked hard I would eventually have a chance to play.
“I spent a lot of time working with Ron, our hitting coach. The coaches have really helped me become the hitter that I am today.”
Arnold said that Manning is a testament to what hard work can accomplish.
“She works so hard,” said Arnold. “It seem like a long time ago when Morgan was a freshman playing JV.
“She has earned everything that she has accomplished. I am looking for her to fit right in immediately.”
Manning has played numerous positions throughout her career. She has played in the infield and outfield and and behind the plate. Recently she has been at third.
“I realistically have to wait to see coach’s lineup card every day to know where I am going to play,” Manning said while smiling. “But that doesn’t bother me because I want to play wherever I can help the team.
“This year alone I have played first base, outfield, third base, catcher and now I am at third base. First base is my favorite position.”
Manning said that she was interested in Huntington College and there is a possibility of transferring there after her stint at LTC has been completed.
“LTC and Huntington were the only places that I really considered attending,” said Manning. “I feel very comfortable going to LTC and if things work out I can play two more years at Huntington.
“I am very thankful for this opportunity and appreciated everyone that has helped to make this possible.”
Photo by B.J. HARGIS
North Central senior Morgan Manning, front, center, is all smiles as she prepares to sign a letter-of-intent to play softball at Lincoln Trail College. She is surrounded by her parents Rick Manning and Jennifer Ricketts. Back, from left, are North Central assistant coach Ron Miller, North Central head coach Erica Arnold, LTC head coach Gary Rodgers and LTC assistant coach Rita Corder.