Chris Singleton, whose mother was one of the victims in the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in 2015, was selected on Day 3 of the Major League Baseball draft Wednesday, going with the final pick of the 19th round to the Chicago Cubs.
Singleton just wrapped up his junior season at Charleston Southern, where he was an outfielder. He started all 51 games for the team, finishing the season with 18 steals, 38 runs scored, 10 doubles and four home runs. He was among the nation's leaders with 10 outfield assists.
His drafting comes three days before the two-year anniversary of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.
"It's a lot of God and a little bit of me right now," Singleton told the Post and Courier of Charleston. "It's timing itself up perfectly in my eyes, so it's really a blessing.
Singleton's mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, was at the Bible study when Dylann Roof opened fire and killed nine people, including Coleman-Singleton. She was a track and field coach at Goose Creek High School, which Chris had attended.
One day after the shooting, Chris Singleton was praised after making a "love is stronger than hate" speech while on the Charleston Southern baseball diamond.
"If we just love the way my mom would, the hate won't be anywhere close to what love is," Singleton said then.
Singleton was cleaning pools Wednesday when he heard that the Cubs had chosen him. After his father died in February, he and a friend started Moore Clean Pools, to help support the family.
"I was doing one of the pools when my phone rang," Singleton said. "My heart dropped a little bit. I answered the phone and it's been surreal ever since."
Singleton batted .332 with four home runs and 34 runs batted in as a sophomore in 2016. This season as a junior, he hit .276 with four homers and 21 RBIs.
"This is really just the beginning," Singleton said. "I'm prepared to work very, very hard and work my way up each and every day."
Singleton said he knew his mom was very happy today.
"It's not really a sad thought at all," he said. "It's more of a happy thought. I always say, I don't want to let my mom down, and today I think I'm definitely not doing that."