Simpson heading to Virginia Wesleyan for softball

FELTON – Her senior year of softball at Lake Forest High School isn’t in the books quite yet, but her future is set.

Lake starting pitcher and first baseman Kerrigan Simpson officially signed on to play softball at Division III Virginia Wesleyan next year.

“I went down there on a visit this past fall, and I met the coaches and stayed with the girls,” Kerrigan said. “I just knew that’s where I wanted to be for the next four years after I met the players and coaches.”

Kerrigan has been playing softball ever since she was a little kid and wasn’t ready to hang up her cleats and glove just yet.

What has kept her playing all these years?

Love of the game, meeting new people and playing under great coaches.

Lake senior Kerrigan Simpson signs her letter of intent while sitting between her parents, Amy and Gary Simpson (The Journal/Ben Heck).

In addition to being one of the senior stars with Lake Forest this season, she has been playing travel softball as well.

With her travel ball, Kerrigan has traveled all up and down the east coast over the last several years, and she credits having great coaches as one of the many reasons she’s stuck with softball for so long.

“It’s been great,” her father, Gary Simpson, said of watching Kerrigan play over the years. “She started out playing with Ray Glanden, he asked her to play with Delaware Express. She played with the Delaware Express travel team until after 14u and then Danny Demora asked her to come play with the Severna Park Hornets across the bridge – they travel all over the country. So, she’s been playing there. It’s been a good thing.”

Her Severna Park head coach, Thad Toal, only had positive things to say about her journey over the last four to five years with the Hornets.

“She had the skills and the desire, but she hadn’t really been pushed or played good competition yet,” said coach Toal, regarding where she was when she first started playing with the team. “It took a year for her to really begin to develop and get her confidence. It’s very rewarding to see a young student-athlete who really has a desire to play in college. It’s nice to see their hard work pay off, that’s what it’s all about. She deserves this.”

Prior to deciding on her new home, Kerrigan drew interest from a few other schools – including some Division II schools – but she had her sights set on Virginia Wesleyan, a school currently competing in the 2017 Division III Women’s softball championship in Oklahoma City.

“A couple other schools were interested in me, but I just thought they have an awesome program with an awesome coaching staff,” she said.

Kerrigan and her parents on Senior Night last week (Special to The Journal).

With Kerrigan’s signing, all three of Lake’s senior softball players will be playing at the college level next year. She joins senior teammates Mya Maddox (Daytona State College) and Faith Garey (Delaware Tech) as college softball signees.

“She’s definitely one of the key players that we’re going to be missing next year,” Lake head coach Ashlie Tatman said. “She’s been an all-star for us, she’s led the team in home runs this year and she’s also led the team in walks. It gives me goosebumps to see her play on the field every year. It’s going to make me sad when I have to say goodbye for the last time, because not only is she a good player but she has good character.”

Kerrigan and her teammates hope she still has a few games left with Lake, as the team will be taking on Indian River Thursday, May 25 in the quarterfinal round of the DIAA playoffs.

She has her sights set on ending her high school career as a state champion.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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