Simon Twins – James Clemens softball players await the chance to showcase their talents
MADISON- At age four Emily and Katie Simon grabbed a bat and softball and had their first experiences for them was a new game. Soon they knew softball would be the sport they would play for years to come.
Today, the 15-year old identical twins, with Emily the eldest by one minute, remain dedicated to the sport as members of the James Clemens High softball team where each are pitchers and utility players for head coach Brittany Vintson.
“It is every coach’s dream to have players like them on your team,” said Vintson. “I expect an even brighter future for both of them.”
Away from the confines of the softball field, Emily and Katie have been your typical twins wearing the same clothing, being closer than most siblings and presenting the usual double takes from others being nearly identical in their physical looks. On the field, both have excelled to where each are already preparing for college and the strong possibility to play collegiate softball alongside their classroom studies. Schools such as Ole Miss and Jacksonville State are within the sights of the two young softball phenomes. Their father, Jeff Simon, has over 250 game videos of the his daughters and does some editing for their use in search of schools who soon will want their talents sprawled on their softball diamonds.
Currently, the fact neither of the twins can showcase their talents as the high school spring sports have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating. The Lady Jets were on a roll. The squad just defeated Class 7A power Sparkman 6-4 and the both Emily and Katie were having banner seasons.
“Having our sophomore season stopped was devastating as we had worked so hard as we have lots of talent on this team as we feel we were going very far this season,” said Katie, a 5-foot-6, 140-pound pitcher and outfielder.
“We were at a turning point in our season as we started slow, but we came together and we knew we could make it to the state playoffs,” added the 5-7, 140-pound Emily, who is a pitcher and utility infielder.
For Emily, the end of the 2020 season was even more hurtful as she was coming off surgery of her right arm last September. Her bicep was disconnected from lifting weights and she attended the renowned orthopedic Andrews Clinic in Birmingham for the correction. After having her arm in a sling for two and a half months, she was cleared to play in early January.
In 2019, the two talents posted incredible statistics- Katie was 15-7 on the mound, with 142 innings pitched, 151 strikeouts and 22 starts, all of which were new team records. She batted .312 with a .397 on base average. Emily was 12-6 in her pitching. She started 18 games, posted 113 strikeouts and set a new team record with a 2.04 ERA. She batted .263 with 10 RBIs.
“I prefer pitching most definitely as I love the control of the game as a pitcher,” said Emily. “As for Katie and I, we are different style pitchers as we have different strengths and weaknesses.”
Youth softball began at Phillips Park in Monrovia before the twins hit the travel team scene with their parents Jeff and Denise alongside, as their older sister, Sarah, also played in her leagues. Jeff was their coach most of the way and still on occasions helps out with critiques of what he sees from the two star players. Katie added, “Our dad is not demanding as he’s very encouraging for us to work harder and be better players.”
“They grew up ‘girly-girls’ taking dance lessons, but they also had their tough side and that’s where the softball came in,” said Jeff Simon of his daughters. “They always seem to hang around older girls like her sister. They wanted to show they could hang with the older girls.”
Emily and Katie once shared just about everything in their lives- clothes, bikes, toys. They still share clothes, except for shoes. “My shoes are two sizes larger than Katie’s,” said Emily with a smile.
Katie shared the details of playing while in 6-under softball. “There was one game where we were separated and we both came to tears as we’ve always been together- best friends.”
Both girls volunteer at Asbury Church in Madison. Katie sings while Emily assists in the special education division of the worship area. They both carry high grade point averages and look forward to college where they hope to play on the same team.
“They were both 100-percent ready to take on their roles for our team when they joined us as freshmen,” said Vintson. “They are always willing to do whatever is best for their team and teammates. They are always pushing one another to be the best they can be. They are always hungry for more.”
“I’m a student of the game as I love the mental side of the sport,” said Katie. “We watch the videos our father has for us and we study what we need to work on. Softball is our life.”
“Yes, I’m hungry,” added Emily. “I’m always looking to be a better player.”
When sports finally arrive back on the scene, the Jets’ program will be proud of the fact it will have two more seasons of talent waiting to brew to a full-force contender for a state championship behind the two softball talents, who just happen to look alike and knew softball would be a mainstay in their lives for many years.