Simmerman sizzling in early part of season
Baseball: Slugger part of the Otterbein-Okotoks pipeline
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 10:28 am
Listening to his teammate helped land the Western Major League Baseball RBI leader in Okotoks.
Okotoks Dawg Jake Simmerman is following in the footsteps of his Otterbein (Ohio) Cardinal teammate Sean Kettering in calling Big Rock Country home this summer.
“Sean is my dude from back home, ” said the six-foot-three 220 pound Simmerman. “We kind of feed off each other back home. He hits three and I hit four in the batting order with Otterbein.”
Kettering, who led the Dawgs with eight homers and 36 RBI in 2013, sang the praises of the Okotoks organization to Cardinal teammates Simmerman and pitcher Adam Collier, both of whom are playing at Seaman Stadium this summer.
“He told Adam and I it was great and he definitely isn’t lying,” Simmerman said. “It’s been amazing so far.”
Simmerman has been one of the few bright spots in the so-far less-than-steller Dawgs’ 3-9 season.
He leads the WMBL with 18 ribbies and his four dingers has him tied with Saskatoon Yellowjacket Bryan Heward.
Simmerman clobbered a pair of homers and drove in seven runs in their 14-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Mavericks on June 5.
The last Dawg to hit two dingers in a game — Sean Kettering last June.
Simmerman hasn’t quite figured out why he is off to such a good start, he just hopes the good times keep on rolling.
“I don’t know why,” Simmerman said with a chuckle. “I’m just feeding of the excitement of the guys and the fans in the stadium.
“There’s a lot of excitement.”
The hard-hitting slugger is part of what has become a pipeline from Otterbein to Okotoks, he is the fourth-player Cardinal in two years to wear the Dawgs’ red-and-white.
Dominic Porretta from Otterbein was a relief pitcher for the Dawgs last season.
Through their connections through Dawgs coaches Val Helldobler and Allen Cox the Dawgs have been able to scout the Ohio-Kentucky area better than Daniel Boone.
“My hitting coach knows coach Val (Helldobler) and he said that I would be a good fit in Okotoks and here I am,” Simmerman said. “This is my first trip to Canada and Okotoks is a great little town.”
Simmerman hit .389 with seven homers and 38 RBI with the Cards — just behind his dude Kettering with nine dingers and 43 RBI respectively.
He will be keeping a close eye on the Cracker Jack work of Dawgs operation manager Pablo Forno and media relations manager Ethan Green.
Simmerman is a sports management major at Otterbein U.
“I don’t have a specific job that I want to get into right now,” Green said. “But I definitely want to work in that area.”
So far, he’s been doing yeoman’s work for the Dawgs’ offence and also a student of the game, said
“He’s been huge for us in big situations driving in runs,” said Dawgs head coach Brett Thomas.
“He is really starting to build an approach to hitting. Before he was just being aggressive and hitting fastballs.
“Now he is starting to really stay back on some off-speed pitches and is starting to become a legitimate middle of the line-up kind of guy.”
Simmerman proved himself worthy as the Dawgs’ clean-up hitter when he smacked a crucial double with the bases juiced in Okotoks’ 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Swift Current Indians Sunday at Seaman Stadium.
“I was hoping it was going out — I was blowing,” Thomas said with a laugh.