(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A funny thing happened to Missouri Western's Kyle Simpson on his road to a disappointing 2012 baseball season. He took a detour, and turned it around.
Simpson has a played a big part in the St. Joseph Mustangs' MINK League North Championship run. His .329 average is third highest on the team, and his 39 RBI lead the entire MINK league. While his defense has struggled at times (he's been a starter at five different positions this season), Simpson's bat has been too valuable.
"He's the most solid individual we have in our lineup," said Mustangs' Manager Matt Johnson. "He's batting in the two-hole, and taken advantage of the speed in front of him and the power behind him."
"It feels great," Simpson said of his hot hittting. "There's nothing better when you're hitting the ball good."
His summer success with the wood-bat collegiate team has been surprising, considering his struggles this past spring at Western. Simpson, who began the season as the Griffons' starting second baseman, hit just .226. His season was then cut short by a freak injury. The Western junior, was trying to open a jammed apartment window. The window broke, and sliced his right hand. The injury required 16 stitches.
"It was frustrating," said Simpson. "To first be struggling (at the plate), not being where I wanted to be, and then to have that happen."
He joined the Mustangs this summer without a promise of much playing time.
"There were just so many guys ahead of him," Johnson explained.
But when the chance came, Simpson hit. He hasn't stopped. He says he tried to change some fundamentals last spring, which he feels led to some of his struggles. He went back to his old approach, and its worked.
"I always knew I could hit," he said. "Hopefully what's happened this summer is a confidence builder that I can carry into the fall and spring at Western."
The Griffons hope so too.