Senior Ebonee Echols and freshman Charla Echols have been playing softball together since they were little kids. At Michigan State, they have been given the opportunity to play side-by-side once again.
The Georgia natives were raised around the game. Ebonee recounted how it has always been a part of their family, with members playing in college and recreationally.
“I would say softball is all we know. Ever since we were born, that’s all we’ve been taught; all we’ve seen,” Charla said. “Pretty much our whole family plays softball or some kind of sport. It would be weird if we didn’t play.”
Ebonee chose to play softball at MSU because of the team atmosphere. With Charla playing alongside her, the team is now an even larger support system.
“I chose MSU because it was like a family environment,” Ebonee said. “As soon as I was walked on the field ... I just felt like I belonged here. They all accepted me. I felt like I wanted to be a part of being a Spartan.”
With the slight influence of her sister, Charla knew MSU was the school she wanted to attend.
“Of course some of it was because my sister is here, but the campus is really pretty. That really drew me in,” Charla said. “I really like the girls we play with and the coaching staff. I feel like they’re trying to get the best out of us every day.”
Before coming to MSU, Ebonee and Charla had the opportunity to play together for a season in high school. Charla recalls it as one of her favorite softball memories with Ebonee.
“Her senior year of high school and my freshman year, I got pulled up to varsity. I played third base and she played shortstop that game,” Charla said. “I think that was just a big moment for our family in general. My mom was emotional just seeing both of her girls playing the same side of the infield. It’s just something they’ve always dreamed about, and us too, being able to play together.”
With Ebonee playing left field and Charla as catcher for the Spartans, the girls competed in a friendly rivalry.
“I think we both like playing together, but it definitely is somewhat of a competition. We both want each other to do our best, but of course I don’t want her to do better than me and she doesn’t want me to do better than her. It’s just a family thing I guess,” Charla said as the sisters laughed to each other. “We’re always for each other’s best interest.”
With each other’s well-being in mind, Ebonee and Charla help each other through the stress placed on them, because family is “always going to have your back ... no matter what.”
Knowing that there is always a supporter in the dugout or nearby, Ebonee and Charla believe that playing softball together has only made their relationship stronger.