Published: 08:25 PM, Tue Jun 12, 2012
South View graduate Scott Simmons balanced athletics, academics
Scott Simmons loves baseball and plays it well enough to have been an important part of a team that won a Dixie Youth World Series title in 2006.
But Simmons said he recognized that a career prowling the base paths was not in his future.
"It wasn't going to give me a free ride to college or anything," he said.
Simmons never gave up on baseball; he just expanded to other sports. The South View graduate was captain of the school's soccer, swimming and baseball teams this year and was named spring athlete of the year. He won top awards for all three sports and last week was named South View's male athlete of the year.
And the 18-year-old didn't let his love of athletics get in the way of academics. He graduated with a 4.1 weighted grade point average, is a member of the National Honor Society and served as senior class secretary. Simmons also won a scholarship from the Association of Principals and Assistant Principals.
"He's well-rounded, whether in the classroom, the athletics field or the community," said South View Principal Brian Edkins.
Simmons is the son of Jimmy and Kim Simmons. The family lives in Parkton.
Growing up on the banks of Lake Upchurch, swimming was an early preoccupation for Simmons.
But it was baseball that captured most of Simmons' energies. Often coached by his father, Simmons was a perennial on Hope Mills youth teams from about age 4.
"When I was growing up, the focus was baseball," said Simmons, an Atlanta Braves fan. "I pretty much focused my life on baseball."
In 2003, Simmons' team won a state championship. Three years later, his team won the Dixie Youth title, defeating a team from Georgia in a tournament held in Tennessee.
The team, the Hope Mills American Majors All-Stars, were honored with a hometown parade and ceremony after their victory.
As much as he loved the game, Simmons said he gradually recognized that he probably didn't have what it takes for a professional career, or even to win a full college scholarship. There were just too many better players, he said.
Instead, he concentrated on becoming a well-rounded student, excelling in the classroom and on the ball fields.
Simmons' high school success doesn't surprise his mother. She said her son has always been a leader.
"He doesn't ever get mad or down, he's always the one to bring others up," Kim Simmons said. "He's always been like that."
When he's not studying or getting ready for a game, Simmons said he likes watching sports on television, particularly playoff games. He's a Miami Heat fan and has begun following the career of 19-year-old Washington Nationals rookie sensation Bryce Harper.
Simmons also said he enjoys the TV show "Big Bang Theory" and the movie "Without a Paddle."
After graduation, Simmons said he plans to attend East Carolina University. His older sister, Erika, is an ECU graduate.
Although his plans aren't certain, Simmons said he may study business or become a pharmacist.
"I haven't quite figured that out," he said. "It's hard to pick a career when you're 18."
Staff writer Rodger Mullen can be reached at email@example.com or 486-3561.