Simmons nails his location, Shockers win follows

By DN WRITING STAFF | July 23, 2023

Brady Boissonneault takes a rip for Coastal Riptide 15U.

By Joe Hofmann

The PA Shockers took the field feeling relaxed and ultra-confident Friday afternoon.

A win was on the way – and they knew it.

After all, Chase Simmons was on the mound.

“He’s the best,” teammate Cru McCartney said. “Every weekend, he pitches our first game. We feel like we are gonna win when he pitches.”

The Shockers won again with Simmons on the hill. The 15-year-old sophomore at Emmaus High School pitched a tidy, two-hit shutout, fanned six and walked only two in a 4-0 victory over Coastal Riptide in a Beat the Heat 15U game at Diamond Nation.

He is bidding to become part of Emmaus’ starting rotation next year.

At this rate, he is well on his way. He has allowed just one earned run in 30 innings of work this summer. He does it with finesse and control, not power.

“I locate,” Simmons said. “That’s what I do. I like to get into the batter’s mind. I like to think I have a good approach and get into hitters’ heads. I like to work hitters backwards.”

“He doesn’t throw that hard but he hits his spots,” McCartney added. “We have a lot of confidence in him every single weekend.”

The Shockers offense didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard but hit in the clutch.

McCartney tripled to right center with one out in the first and scored on Jackson Connelly’s RBI infield single.

“The pitcher (Riptide starter Ryan Alexander) was solid with me outside, so I took it the other way,” McCartney said “The ball just kept going. The turf helped.”

McCartney was in the middle of things once again, this time in the third inning. Charlie Hunsicker reached on a bunt single and came around to score on McCartney’s RBI double to right that bounced away from the Riptide right fielder.

“The double was not as good as the triple,” McCartney said. “That one bounced by him.”

Connelly had an RBI grounder to score McCartney.

Simmons hit a two-out triple in the fourth and scored on T.J. McGuigan’s double.

The run support was plenty for Simmons, who was far from dominant but was coolly efficient.

He retired his first 12 batters before allowing Matthew Bebert’s single to right. But catcher Jamison Gramlich threw Bebert out attempting to steal. Simmons’ only other blemish was a two-out single to Aiden Keefe in the seventh but he then retired Bebert on a fly to center to end it.

“Simmons pitched a great game,” Shockers coach Dan Galluccio said. “He’s a warrior. He works fast and everybody loves playing behind him.”

Simmons’ success didn’t happen overnight. He works at his craft, in season and out.

“I get a lot of help in the shop,” he said. “I take lessons.”

The lessons have panned out this summer. Riptide was his latest conquest.

“I got in a groove early and rode it the rest of the way,” Simmons said. “It was a good game by my catcher (Gramlich). We were on the same page the whole game. That made it easier.”

The right-handed Simmons grew up idolizing Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, two Phillies lefthanders. These days, he loves the work of Phillies righty’s Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.

“I grew up loving baseball,” Simmons said. “It was always on TV in my house. As a young guy, I loved pitching since I was 8-9 years old.”

The love affair has continued. Simmons hopes he can continue it at Emmaus.

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