2012 LHHS grads to play baseball in Alpine for the Lobos
by Chuck Licata
He may not play in the College World Series like his favorite team, South Carolina, did this week, but 2012 LHHS grad Jacob Simons will play college baseball.
And at a place he’s very familiar.
Simons, a key to Liberty Hill High School’s District 25-3A this past season, will head west (way west, to Alpine, TX) to play at Sul Ross State.
“Things are going great,” Simons stated late Sunday night. “I’m playing college baseball and my team (South Carolina) is in the College World Series. Life is great!”
Simons will be joined by his former LHHS teammate, Kyle Hester, as a member of the Lobos in 2012.
“I’m very excited,” Hester stated Monday morning. “The campus and two are just awesome. I like the small town in the hills and I like Coach (Bobby Mesker) and his coaching philosophy.”
Hester got the chance at Sul Ross courtesy of his trainer, Tommy Le Vasseur.
“Tommy has helped me a lot,” Hester explained. “One day he told Cach Mesker who I was and the fact Jacob was also going there. Coach called us up and we went out there where he gave us private workout. I hit in the cages and ran and played in the outfield. I guess he liked what he saw because I’m headed there now.”
Despite going west for college, Simons got his opportunity by traveling east.
“I played in a showcase in Houston with the Sugarland Skeeters (an independent league team),” Simons revealed. “They (representatives of Sul Ross) liked what they saw. They were really interested invited me down to see the campus.”
Despite the fact Alpine is a six-hour drive west of Liberty Hill, Simons is very familiar with the long drive and the Alpine area.
“I’ve been going out to Fort Davis (27 miles northwest of Alpine) for years,” Simons explained. “I worked at Prude Ranch so being out there isn’t going to be a big deal.
“It’s a kid’s camp; basically it’s a horse-back riding camp. I went there for five years and have been a counselor for two years. I love the area out there; it’s a great place to be and it’s very scenic.”
Hester, too, knows that area.
“Our family has traveled and done a lot of hunting in the Del Rio area,” Hester said. “I’m not too familiar with the town of Alpine itself but I know the area very well. It’s exciting to be headed out there.”
Simons added,“The ballpark (Kokernot Field) has a great history. It’s a nice field with a lot of history and a great view beyond the fences.”
The tale of Kokernot Field and its history-making owner, Herbert Kokernot Jr., can be found here: http://www.srlobos.com/documents/2012/2/14/Kokernot_Field.pdf.
Meantime, Simons, who is ecstatic to play college ball, is looking to stay in the game of baseball past graduation.
“Academically I’m going to take up kinesiology because I want to be a coach,” he stated. “If I can’t play the game beyond college I want to teach the game to kids. I’m going to stay in the game any way I can.”
Hester will take up criminal justice at Sul Ross and wants “to come back and be an Austin Police Depratmernt officer.”
Fans and supporters will get a good chance to see the former LHHS pair play next spring. Sul Ross will play a weekend series Feb. 22-23 at Southwestern University in Georgetown; a March 15-16 tournament in San Antonio; and, the Lobos will open American Southwest Conference play March 22-23 at Concordia University of Austin with a three-game weekend series.
The former LHHS duo will also play in Belton April 5-6 in a three-game series against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.