Sophomore infielder Simon Gersten was a reserve on last year’s North Springs baseball team that reached the second round of the state playoffs for the first time since 1999. The Spartans graduated several key seniors from its 2018 squad but find themselves back in the Class AAAAA playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Gersten has settled into the starting shortstop position and dominated at the plate with a .355 batting average, .510 on-base percentage, 21 runs batted in and leads North Springs with 28 runs scored.
“He has the potential to have plus skills with all five baseball tools in running speed, hitting for average, hitting for power, glove work, and throwing arm if he continues to improve from year to year,” North Springs head coach Matt Gershon said. “Simon is one of the most respectful and appreciative kids I have ever coached but he also has a competitive streak in him. That’s sometimes a tough combination to find.”
“I’ve worked hard this year and gotten on the field more,” Gersten said. “Since I’ve been here, the team works closely together. We have really good team spirit.”
The Spartans have no seniors on its roster which has allowed Gersten’s role on the team to be larger than a typical underclassman.
“I see myself as a leader on the field keeping everyone in line and making sure we get things done,” he said. “It has worked out well working with my buddies and we respect each other.”
Said Gershon, “The most impressive thing about Simon is his attitude. He was a ninth grader on varsity last season and had a bit of a tough year but dealt with the adversity in a very mature way. He kept working hard all year, never complained and did what we asked him to do, playing defensive positions he wasn’t used to. All of his teammates look up to him even though he is only a sophomore”
The increased playing time has also maturated Gersten’s approach to the plate and as a fielder.
“I try to hit fastballs early in the count and when I have two strikes, (I) put my foot down and see the pitches,” he said. “I’ve worked on my defensive infield skills a long time playing with my travel team, (the) 6-4-3 DP Athletics, this summer.”
Gersten began playing baseball when he was 5 and lists former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter as an athlete of inspiration.
“I enjoy competing and playing with my friends which is the best part of the sport.”
Off the field, Gersten is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society, the North Springs Spirit Club and the Jewish Culture Club.
“Simon is a great student,” Gershon said. “He does everything he is supposed to do in the school building and out in the community. He excels in the classroom and works hard to become a better baseball player on his own time in addition to our team practices.”
Academically, Gersten holds a 3.81 grade point average and lists Advanced Placement statistics and world history as his favorite subjects. The son of Mitch and Lauren Gersten has also gained an interest in politics and government operations engaging in conversations and researching topics in those fields.
North Springs will begin the playoffs April 24 as the third seed from Region 6AAAAA, with the opponent yet to be determined.
“We’re preparing well getting in swings and working hard getting ready for the postseason,” Gersten said.