Every time she takes the softball field behind the plate, Maeleigh Tidd carries confidence.
The Brownstown Central senior hates to lose, and when she saw the group of girls at Manchester University on the diamond for the first time she knew she would fit in perfectly.
With a small college setting, a strong pharmaceutical program and a gritty softball team, Manchester proved the best option for the Braves’ catcher.
This past week, among friends, coaches and family, Tidd signed her letter to join the Spartans.
“I’ve always wanted to play college softball, it’s been a dream of mine,” Tidd said. “I first went to Manchester two years ago and started talking to them through travel softball. It just so happened they had pharmacy school, and that’s what I’m going to study. It’s a smaller school, which is kind of what I was looking for, and it just seemed to fit me really well.”
Tidd said that she first got in contact with the Spartans with her Kentucky-based travel softball team the “Bluegrass Blaze.”
While she started playing tee-ball at a young age, Tidd said she started getting more serious when she was 8 years old.
“I give it all I’ve got. I give 110 percent all the time, and I got that from my Dad,” Tidd said. “I think they really need a good catcher and believe that I have what it takes to play there. Maybe not my freshman year, but I think all my mechanics will get better.”
Braves coach Monte Ault said that Tidd should have a good shot of getting playing time with the Spartans.
“Her leadership will translate really well to college,” Ault said. “I’m assuming they’re getting her to play catcher, and if she doesn’t play there she’d play well in the outfield. She’s been dedicated to playing softball for a long time. She plays near 30 games during the summer with travel ball, and we usually get in 28 for high school. She’s going to adjust real well and get along well with everyone.”
Tidd has played under Ault for four years since transferring to BCHS from Seymour in eighth grade.
This season, Ault has given Tidd the OK to call all of the pitches from behind the plate.
“Her attitude and leadership have unbelievably improved from her freshman to senior year,” Ault said. “She doesn’t let things get to her anymore and has become a leader on the team. She’s one of the captains the girls voted in. Mostly, the love of the game is going to help her quite a bit. She’s going to work hard, she’s dedicated to softball and has a good work ethic.”
While softball was key in her decision to attend Manchester, academics came first for Tidd, who holds a 3.8 grade-point average and is a member of National Honor Society, booster club, lettermen’s club and German club.
Tidd said that if Manchester didn’t have a pharmaceutical program, she probably wouldn’t have decided to attend.
For Tidd, the changes are exciting.
“I know the pace is going to be much faster,” Tidd said. “I expect better pitching than what I’ve experienced in high school and maybe as good as travel pitching. I’m going to be playing with a bunch of girls always looking to win. For me, it’s been a huge part of my life, and I’m always striving to win and get better.”
On May 25, the Braves will play Silver Creek in the first-round of the Class 3A Salem Sectional.
“I really expect us to win sectional this year, it’s not a goal — it’s an expectation for me,” Tidd said. “I believe that we have a winning season this year and expect to go far.”