Spring-Ford’s Simmons definition of all-around player, earns Mercury All-Area POY award

His overall body of work speaks volumes about the type of baseball player Cam Simmons is.

And it could have a lot to say about how much more of a player he will be.

Simmons recently closed out his youth and scholastic careers with a solid senior campaign at Spring-Ford. The climax was his being named The Mercury’s Player of the Year, for what he accomplished — and what he helped the Rams accomplish — during the 2015 regular and post-seasons.

With barely any time to bask in his accomplishments, Simmons faces another level of baseball. In a couple weeks, he will be heading to the University of Virginia, the recently-crowned NCAA Division I College World Series champions giving him a scholarship to continue his academic and athletic careers there.

“Every level you move up, it gets harder to have consistent success,’ Bruce Brobst, Cam’s high-school head coach, said. “Dealing with it can wear on you. The challenge for Cam will be how he deals with the extra work.’

If his senior season offers any indication of things to come, Simmons will fare well in Charlottesville.

Described by his coach as a “multi-talented player who can run, hit and throw,’ Simmons flourished in a campaign that was his second as a Spring-Ford starter. He compiled a .452 batting average with 22 runs batted in; while also seeing duty as a pitcher, Simmons put together a 3-1 record and 0.96 earned-run average with 27 strikeouts.

“The stuff Cam does on his own helps his play,’ Brobst observed. “His physical fitness, weight training, voluntary workouts, going to batting cage and getting swings.’

His performance was lauded twice by the Pioneer Athletic Conference, which named him a first-team outfielder on its all-league squad and its Player of the Year. He admitted the second award did not come as a complete surprise.

“I thought I had a good chance,’ Simmons said. “I put together a good body of work. I knew I was right up there at the top of the league.’

It didn’t surprise Brobst, either … not after three years of watching Simmons’ speed, his hitting for average, base stealing, running balls down and driving in runs from the three-spot. His biggest individual hitting performances were games against Owen J. Roberts, where he went 4-for-4 with a home run; and Pope John Paul II, where he had a 3-for-3 performance.

“His talent is the first thing,’ Brobst said. “As a sophomore, he didn’t start. Then he made second team all-PAC as a junior.

“If we needed him to steal a base, run a ball down in the gap, he’d do it. When you consistently have that kind of game … the word gets around who’s hitting the ball, and teams look out for that player.’

On the Spring-Ford pitching staff, Simmons resumed the role of number-two starter he assumed as a junior. His most stellar mound outing was an April 14 game against Phoenixville, where he fanned 11 Phantoms while throwing one-hit ball in a 2-0 victory.

“Cam was our number-two guy, and he did well for us,’ Brobst said. “That just adds to the list of things he can do. He has many talents.’

Simmons’ performance as both an outfielder and pitcher helped Spring-Ford go 12-6 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s regular season, then win the Final Four playoffs with a 7-2 victory over Owen J. Roberts. The Rams made it to the second round of the District 1-AAAA playoffs before being eliminated by Pennsbury, 8-2.

“Considering what we had to go through (injuries, other issues), it’s definitely not what we planned,’ Simmons, a member of the 2013-14 Ram team that got as far as the semifinals of the PIAA’s Class AAAA playoffs, said. “Guys had to step up for injured players. I felt a bit of the pressure, but my teammates and I were able to get wins.’

Simmons first got involved with area baseball in the Spring-Ford Youth Athletic League, member of a team that qualified for the 10-year-old Cal Ripken World Series. He then moved up to Spring City’s American Legion Baseball Prep League program, and played two years for its Junior American Legion baseball team.

More recently, Simmons played travel-team ball with the All-Star Baseball Academy. He noted his exposure with that program was key to catching the eye of University of Virginia scouts, and subsequently getting a scholarship offer two years ago.

“That helped a lot, playing against the best. We always faced great competition,’ he said. “The coaches I had helped a lot.’

Now he’s hoping to make an impact with the Cavaliers, whose recent NCAA baseball championship was a first in program history. He chose Virginia over Duke University, which went 31-22 this year and compiled back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 2009.

“Everything is top-notch: The coaches, facilities and academics,’ he said.

Virginia’s 44-24 season was capped by a 10-2 run in the NCAA tournament: 3-0 in the Lake Elsinore Regional, 2-0 in the Charlottesville Super-Regional. Its 5-2 showing in the CWS was highlighted by the Cavaliers topping Vanderbilt for the national title, 2-1.

And while he was recruited as an outfielder, Cam indicated he “will do whatever they need me to do.’

“It’s exciting, the chance to compete,’ he said.

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