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MU recruit Lisa Simmons dealing with recent death of father
Sunday, July 8, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:52 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008
Lisa Simmons, who signed to play softball for MU last July, was in Columbia this weekend playing in the AFA’s Missouri State Tournament. After the death of her father, leaving home to come to college will be difficult for her and her family.

For Boonville resident Linda Simmons, sending her youngest child to college this fall will be difficult. No amount of preparation or planning can change that. It’s going to be tough and she knows it.

“It will be quite an adjustment,” she said. “But, we’ll make it. You just have to stay strong.”

However, for Simmons, it’s more than seeing her children grow up. Last year, her husband Bob Simmons died, making the move her daughter, Lisa Simmons, will make to MU that much harder.

Drastic changes occurred in her life, but for 18-year-old Lisa Simmons, one thing has stayed constant. She loves softball.

She’s played since she was 5, and will be a member of the MU softball team in the fall. This weekend, she competed in the American Fastpitch Association’s Missouri State Tournament at Cosmopolitan Park in Columbia. The tournament included games for girls ages 10-18. The bracket-style event featured 83 teams, including the Missouri Rattlers, the summer team Simmons plays on.

Saturday, the Rattlers won their first two games of the tournament, 4-0 against the Black Ice team and 4-0 against Team Fusion. They play today at noon against Missouri Lightning at the Rainbow and Antimi Complex blue field.

Simmons committed to Missouri last July with then-head coach Ty Singleton. Now, the team is headed by Jefferson City native Ehren Earleywine. Simmons said this change did make her nervous, but after meeting with Earleywine, stuck with her initial choice.

All three incoming freshmen were given the option of backing out, according to Earleywine, but all three honored their commitments. Simmons’ bubbly and self-proclaimed goofy attitude are evident in her performance.

“Lisa’s a high energy player,” Earleywine said. “She brings the morale up. She really lights a fire when she plays.”

Living just 20 minutes away in Boonville, location also played a role in Simmons’ decision.

“I’d always hear, ‘Mizzou this and Mizzou that,’” she said. “(Playing at Mizzou) was really my No. 1 goal, and I accomplished that. I’d like to start playing my freshman year, but I’ll have to work really hard to do that. I just want to play.”

Her mother said softball will take on a new meaning when her daughter competes at MU.

“It took the whole family to get Lisa to where she is,” she said. “Her dad was a big influence in her life, and she’s been awful strong through the whole thing. He’d always say, ‘She’s good enough to play D-1 ball. She’s good enough to play at Mizzou.’”

And that’s just what Lisa Simmons will be doing this fall.

Wiping tears from her eyes, she said, “Hopefully he’s proud of me.”

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