For the last four years North Canton Hoover senior Jessica Simpson has dominated the opposition as one of
Ohio’s premiere pitchers. She recently wrapped her career with a
Division I state softball title and was named first team All-Ohio for
the third straight season. She’s also a three-time Federal League player of the
year and four-time first team all-league selection.
When Jessica Simpson reached North Canton Hoover High School as a freshman, softball coach Jerry Goodpasture inserted her into the Vikings starting lineup as the team’s ace. She was the varsity pitcher from day one.
“It was really more exciting than anything,” Simpson said. “It was really just a new experience and turned out to be a lot of fun. I don’t really remember having much trouble.”
That’s because she didn’t – and hasn’t.
For the last four years Simpson has dominated the opposition as one of Ohio’s premiere pitchers. She recently wrapped her career with a Division I state softball title and was named first team All-Ohio for the third straight season. A three-time Federal League player of the year and four-time first team all-league selection, Simpson is the 2008 Huntington Bank/Ohio High Magazine Softball Player of the Year.
“When she pitches, she is very serious,” Goodpasture said. “She hardly ever has an expression on her face when she’s on the mound. Not a whole lot bothers her out there. She’s a big game pitcher.”
Simpson is a big-time hurler. Spurning courtships from Notre Dame and Michigan, Simpson will take her talents to Miami University in Oxford this fall. She carries a lot of baggage, but all of it’s good.
While at Hoover, Simpson recorded some gaudy numbers. In 117 career games and 784 innings, Simpson left a significant mark on the OHSAA record book. Her 69 career shutouts are a state record, while her 103 career wins (against just 11 losses) ranks second. Simpson’s 1,162 career strikeouts are fourth all-time.
She also issued 81 walks, had a 0.36 ERA, gave up 40 earned runs and had 14 no-hitters in leading the Vikings to three Federal League titles and deep postseason runs.
“Hoover is definitely known for it’s pitching and I wanted to fulfill that role,” Simpson said.
Added Goodpasture: “We’ve had some outstanding pitchers here in the past, and I don’t really like to compare them because they’re from different times and eras, but Jessica’s control really sticks out. She’s a hard thrower but she also has very good location and speed. When you get all that clicking together she’s unhittable.”
Simpson carries six pitches in her arsenal and has been perfecting them since first grade.
Hoover’s recent title run was the icing on Simpson’s high school career.
This season she recorded 373 strikeouts, 22 shutouts, five no-hitters and a 0.24 ERA in leading the Vikings to a 32-2 record. She issued just 13 walks.
“Going out with a state title was definitely the best way we could have gone out,” Simpson said. “We have 10 seniors on this team and we wanted desperately to end on a good note. We didn’t want to be crying after our last game because we lost it.”
Now it’s Goodpasture who has a huge void to fill.
“It’s definitely going to be a chore to replace her,” Goodpasture said. “Lets just say she can step it up when she needs to.”