Simp­son con­cludes softball ca­reer at Sal­is­bury

McDonough grad­u­ate now set to start teach­ing

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­

After years of learn­ing an abun­dance of lessons on the softball field and in the class­room at Sal­is­bury Univer­sity, Port To­bacco na­tive and McDonough High School grad­u­ate Molly Simp­son is now set to em­bark on a ca­reer of teach­ing them.

Simp­son re­cently con­cluded her softball ca­reer at Sal­is­bury by be­ing named the East Coast Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Di­vi­sion III South player of the year. The se­nior sec­ond base­man bat­ted .444 with 14 home runs, 55 RBIs and scored 59 runs as the Sea Gulls fin­ished the sea­son with a 37-6 record.

Simp­son, whose older brothers Gary and Chris Simp­son were also Sal­is­bury grad­u­ates, was one of four Sea Gulls se­niors to make the All-ECAC first team. Simp­son had pre­vi­ous been an all-con­fer­ence first team choice in 2014.

“Be­fore the sea­son, I just told my­self to re­lax and have fun be­cause it was go­ing to be my last sea­son of com­pet­i­tive softball,” said Simp­son, who is trad­ing in her glove and cleats to be­gin teach­ing sixth grade math at Calvert Mid­dle School in Prince Fred­er­ick. “I’m not one of those play­ers that looks at the stats, but all year long peo­ple kept telling me how well I was do­ing. But the stats didn’t mat­ter to me be­cause we were win­ning and I was hav­ing fun.”

Simp­son’s suc­cess as a se­nior was partly in­spired by a hum­bling fresh­man sea­son. Sal­is­bury ad­vanced to the NCAA Di­vi­sion III play­offs and, although Simp­son trav­eled with the team, she was not among the play­ers who were dressed for the post­sea­son. It was a mi­nor set­back, but one that she learned from.

“We had 25 play­ers on the ros­ter my fresh­man year and all of us could not go to the play­offs,” Simp­son said, “so I was one of the play­ers that didn’t dress for those games. I was at ev­ery game and it was a fun time, but it was def­i­nitely hum­bling not be­ing able to play.”

Simp­son cred­its Sal­is­bury head coach Margie Knight for help­ing to im­prove in all as­pects of her game, es­pe­cially after tran­si­tion­ing from third base to sec­ond base prior to her ju­nior sea­son.

Simp­son rapidly be­came com­fort­able in her new role and her con­fi­dence at the plate soared over the past two sea­sons.

“Coach Knight was a big rea­son for my suc­cess and my ac­co­lades,” Simp­son said. “I wasn’t even aware that I was in the run­ning for player of the year. When they told me I was sur­prised. I mean, my team­mates and my coaches kept telling me how good I was do­ing all sea­son, but it wasn’t even some­thing that I was look­ing at. I just loved be­ing around my coaches and my team­mates.”

Simp­son played softball at McDonough and also played for the South­ern Mary­land Shock­ers from the 14-and-Un­der squad through the 18-and-Un­der team. Dur­ing her days with both teams she be­came ac­cus­tomed to fac­ing nu­mer­ous po­ten­tial NCAA Di­vi­sion I and Di­vi­sion II play­ers in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence, which helped her make a quick ad­just­ment to Sal­is­bury.

“We al­ways played a lot of good teams in SMAC,” Simp­son said. “Those teams in Calvert County were al­ways re­ally good. It was a lit­tle but of a jump go­ing to Sal­is­bury, but I felt like I was ready after fac­ing a lot of those girls from North­ern and Hunt­ing­town. They were al­ways re­ally good.”

Sim­spon noted that a big part of her col­lege ca­reer was bol­stered by her fam­ily sup­port. Her fa­ther, Gary Simp­son, and her un­cle, Don­nie Mis­ter, rarely missed a game and her mother, Molly Simp­son, and grand­mother, Mary McGinty, were also fre­quently in at­ten­dance. McGinty even brought an added mea­sure of cheer.

“My fam­ily sup­port was just in­cred­i­ble,” Simp­son said. “My fa­ther and my un­cle Don­nie were at al­most ev­ery game. They hardly ever missed me play. My mother came to a lot of games and my grand­mother was like the adopted team mom. She would bring Holy wa­ter and bless the field be­fore ev­ery game. It was re­ally some­thing to see.”

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