Forgoing MLB Draft, Rancho Santa Fe baseball star headed to Notre Dame

Last month during Torrey Pines High School’s graduation, 18-year-old Jake Singer said goodbye to the friends and athletes he’s spent most of his time with throughout his esteemed baseball career.

“Graduation was pretty surreal,” Singer said from his home in Rancho Santa Fe. “It doesn’t start to hit you until you walk into the stadium and see everyone around you.”

For Singer, graduating from Torrey Pines marked the end of one chapter and the beginning of another one. As a standout on Torrey Pines’ varsity baseball team, Singer has now set his sights on playing for Notre Dame’s prestigious baseball team. This, after he was drafted in the 38th round of Major League Baseball’s draft by the Colorado Rockies last month.

“I played on a travel team for a coach who was a scout for the Rockies and we developed a relationship,” said Singer of his potential foray into the Rockies’ ranks. “He liked what he saw in me and reported me to his superiors.”

When Singer was drafted by the Rockies in early June, it caught him totally off-guard.

“It was surreal and something I didn’t expect,” he said now, looking back.

Singer was then faced with a difficult decision: attend Notre Dame, as he had been planning to do since he accepted their invitation to play ball for them last fall, or pass up that opportunity to try his hand in the minors.

Singer chose the former, passing up the chance to trek to Colorado in lieu of Notre Dame’s South Bend, Ind., campus.

“Even before I was drafted, I decided in my head that I was going to go to school no matter what,” he said of his decision. “I just see so much value in getting a degree. Playing a sport professionally comes with a lot of variables.”

As of now, Singer’s plan is to attend and play for Notre Dame for the next four years, obtain a degree, and aim to be drafted again after he graduates in May 2019.

It’s no wonder that the powers that be at both Notre Dame and the Colorado Rockies had their eye on Singer, who recently came off a surprisingly successful senior season.

“This last year playing for Torrey Pines has been awesome,” said Singer. “We had a great group of guys and were able to win the League. Being able to do that with the kids I grew up with has been the highlight of my career in baseball so far. No one would have predicted this.”

One of the highlights of the season for Singer was a walk-off hit against Torrey Pines’ archrival, La Costa Canyon.

“We played 12 innings against them and to come out on top was incredible,” he said. “There was so much emotion in that game. Everyone on each team really wanted to win.”

Throughout his baseball career in North County — which includes Torrey’s varsity team and a stint with the Solana Beach Cardinals ­— Singer has been a third baseman. When he heads to Notre Dame, however, he isn’t sure what position they’ll slot him in, but he’s not too worried.

“I’ve played third all throughout high school, but I can play any position.”

Regardless of what happens in Singer’s athletic future, he said he’ll forever cherish his humble beginnings in the North County scene.

“This group of guys meshed and played really well together,” he said of his former Torrey Pines teammates. “Moving on to Notre Dame and not playing with them anymore will definitely be bittersweet.”

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