One Perryville softball player will have the opportunity to play at the next level. Perryville senior centerfielder Ann-Marie Simpson signed a letter of intent to play softball at Three Rivers College on Oct. 10.
Perryville softball coach Dustin Wengert said that Three Rivers is getting a player that caused headaches for opposing teams throughout her Perryville career.
“She’s going to play a very good defensive outfield, and she’s very quick,” Wengert said. “If you have that quickness, you can cause a lot of havoc, much like she did at the high school level. Three Rivers is getting a high quality player.”
The numbers bear that out as Simpson was a two time all-state player while wearing a Pirate uniform, which included a first-team nomination this past fall. Simpson also flashed her glove from the outfield on many occasions, which led to her earning the Jefferson County Athletic Association Conference Defensive Player of the Year award.
At the plate, Simpson led the Pirates with a .474 average and 37 runs scored this season from the lead-off spot in the lineup. She also added eight triples and 12 RBI.
“She’s shown throughout her time at Perryville to have a strong work ethic and determination to be great,” Wengert said. “I think she has the opportunity to be very successful at the college level.”
Part of that success will come with Simpson’s ability to adapt to whatever role she will have as a part of the Lady Raiders roster.
“Ann-Marie has been a leader for the last three seasons,” said Wengert, who just finished his third season at the helm of the Perryville softball program. “But she doesn’t have to be that leader right away because she is the new kid on the block again. She just has to work into that role and excel in what position they give her and impress her coaches, and teammates. If she does that, then that leadership ability will come natural to her.”
Simpson told Three Rivers Athletics that she feels very comfortable already with her teammates and coaches.
“I’ve played with a lot of the girls that are at Three Rivers and are going to Three Rivers, and I’ve seen the other girls play,” Simpson said. “I know that they play with heart, and they play just the way that I do, which is 100 percent all the time, and they want to win, and they’re all about success and having fun. That’s what I’m all about, so I’m excited about that.”
Simpson won’t be the only player on the Perryville roster to sign to play at the college level. Brittanie Stewart, Brooke Huber will sign this week with Mineral Area College, while Kyla Laurentius will sign with the Cardinals as a preferred walk-on.
For all four of the Lady Pirates, Wengert noted that the biggest challenge will be the step-up in competition from the high ranks to Mineral Area and Three Rivers.
“To quote the Wizard of Oz, they aren’t in Kansas anymore,” Wengert said. “They will go from being a great athlete at Perryville to another great athlete at the college ranks. They have to understand they have to bring their best every day, whether that is at practice or in a game. If they do that, they will be very successful.”