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  • Val T.

‘Crazy how it all works out in the end:’ Caston’s dedicated Zimpleman signs with Purdue Fort Wayne


Sports Editor, RTC

Caston’s Addison Zimpleman signed with Purdue Fort Wayne to continue her academic and softball careers Wednesday. From left – Marshall Zimpleman, Addison’s brother; Camile Zimpleman, Addison’s mother; Addison; Greg Zimpleman, Caston assistant coach and Addison’s father; Parker Zimpleman, Addison’s brother. (photo courtesy of Dee Brown)

FULTON — The pen is mightier than the sword and almost as powerful as Addison Zimpleman’s bat.

The Caston senior second baseman-pitcher signed with Purdue Fort Wayne Saturday to continue her academic and softball careers.

She has hit .533 with 22 homers over the last two years, and she was also the pitching hero of last year’s semistate when she got the save in the semistate final win over Cowan.

Caston senior softball players celebrate with teammate Addison Zimpleman after she signed with Purdue Fort Wayne to continue her academic and softball careers Wednesday. From left – Alexa Finke, Isabel Scales, Zimpleman, Annie Harsh, Macee Hinderlider. (photo courtesy of Dee Brown)

That elevated Caston to the state finals in a team sport for the first time in school history. Prior to last spring, Caston had never won a softball sectional, and they had never won a regional in any sport, much less a semistate.

And while Zimpleman is a history-making athlete at Caston, also starring in volleyball and basketball, she said the aspects of Purdue Fort Wayne that had nothing to do with softball ultimately sold her.

Asked what she was looking for in a school, she said “academics” and said getting a job once she gets her degree was important. Zimpleman said she wants to major in business or marketing and wants to open her own business after she graduates.

“It felt like home,” Zimpleman said. “If I took softball out of the equation, I could still see myself attending that school. … I would say that the people that I met around there, talking with the coaches, they look at you as a person, not just a player in general. And then even the housing, I could see myself calling that my second home because it will be my home away from home.”

Zimpleman said Purdue Fort Wayne first contacted her over the summer. She said being from a smaller high school can be an obstacle to getting a Division I school like Purdue Fort Wayne to notice you.

That’s where travel ball comes in. Zimpleman plays at the Gold level of travel softball, where it’s not uncommon to travel to places like Boulder, Colorado, or San Diego to get noticed.

“Coming from a small school, you don’t have a lot of word or a lot of talk about you in the bigger cities, I guess you could say,” Zimpleman said. “So I definitely had to travel for travel ball. But coaches just have to see you at the right time.”

She admitted that the recruiting process was “definitely frustrating.” She would play well at a travel tournament and wonder if other schools even noticed.

Sometimes, she would email schools and then wonder if schools reciprocated the interest in her that she had in them. This story had a happy ending.

“At the end of the day, it’s nice to see that it all paid off,” Zimpleman said.

Zimpleman said Purdue Fort Wayne coach Amber Bowman and assistant coach Courtney Holm saw her at a travel tournament in July, about one month after Caston lost to Tecumseh in the Class 1A state championship game.

Addison Zimpleman celebrates with Caston softball coach Jon Burks after Zimpleman signed with Purdue Fort Wayne to continue her academic and softball careers Wednesday.

“She asked me the type of player I was, and I just said I’m a competitive player and that I hate to lose,” Zimpleman said. “She said that is exactly what I look for in a player and that’s how my team is. So I think that just marked it, and I just knew.”

Zimpleman met Bowman and found her to be “high-spirited” and loved the game just as much as she did. “We are extremely excited to have Addison join our Mastodon Family,” Bowman said in an emailed statement to RTC. “Addison brings a lot of versatility to our program defensively and brings a lot of power offensively. Addison is a true competitor and great teammate. We are thrilled to officially welcome Addison to the Mastodon family!” Zimpleman also said that Bowman can be demanding.

“She can definitely harp on you, which I like,” Zimpleman said. “I like when someone can push me to be my ultimate best. So I think that’s how I would describe her.”

Zimpleman said she knew she wanted to play college softball when she was 8 years old. She said she wanted to go to Notre Dame at first but of Purdue Fort Wayne, she said, “I wouldn’t want it any other way.” In addition to high school ball and travel ball, there were many trips to showcase events and college camps, and that does not include all the time in the batting cage refining and maintaining her swing.

“It’s a high level of dedication,” Zimpleman said. “Lots of sacrifices were made, especially choosing to miss certain things with high school, but it was so worth it.”

For Zimpleman, softball has opened up a world of personal friendships that would not otherwise exist. “I’m a very sociable person, so it really wasn’t hard,” Zimpleman said. “But I love going to all these different places and meeting new people and just creating these friendships that have lasted me so many years. I still talk with people that I talked with when I was 8 to 10 years old. So it’s kind of crazy how it all works out in the end.”

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