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He is, in a few more ways than one, the consummate baseball player. His hitting approach is precocious. His fielding chops pacifying. His game traditional with a hint or two of new-age swagger.
“I really just can’t say enough about Kal Simmons,” Chatham manager John Schiffner said after his team beat Bourne, 13-3, Wednesday night. “Once he got here he just got us going. He just plays the game. He’s just a baseball player.”
Simmons (Kennesaw State) joined the Anglers a handful of games into the season, and his unshakeable disposition hasn’t gone unnoticed by his coaches and teammates. After helping the Owls to their first-ever NCAA tournament win at the end of his collegiate season, Simmons has nestled in at shortstop and atop Chatham’s order. He currently leads the team with a .400 batting average and has been in the thick of its 29-run outburst over its last two games.
With 12 hits in 30 at-bats across seven games, Simmons’ average is nearing the validity of a seasoned sample size. He’s also scored seven runs, driven in three and struck out a meek three times, and will look to stay hot when the Anglers (7-6-1) host first-place Harwich (10-4) at Veterans Field at 7 p.m. on Friday.
“He’s done a great job at the top of the order,” Schiffner said. “I think we were looking for a leadoff hitter and he came in and gives us that.”
Simmons was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2013, and builded on his freshman year this past spring. Hitting primarily in the leadoff spot, he hit .272 with 73 hits, 46 runs and 26 RBIs. His output — which led Kennesaw State to the NCAA tournament where it fell to Louisville — earned him a spot on the All-Atlantic Sun Second Team and an invitation to the Cape at season’s end.
Now he’s building on his strong sophomore season with a summer that is settling into his grasp. Simmons’ bat and glove have both affected games and shown up in box scores, but it’s his Southern way that is coming to define him.
“You could never tell if he’s 4-for-4 or 0-for-4,” outfielder Ty Moore (UCLA) said. “That’s the best thing about him.”
Broadcast coverage of the Anglers and Mariners begins at 6:40 p.m. with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show. Watch and listen on TRZ Teamline or listen by phone 1-800-846-4700, code 3481. Visit Broadcast Central for more information.