Maddy Grimm having MVP-type season for moh-BEEL! USA softball team
Maddy Grimm set a long list of records at Kent State.
She earned Tribune-Review Athlete of the Year honors while at Ligonier Valley.
She played professional softball for a season in Akron, Ohio, and spent the past year as a volunteer assistant at Pitt.
The sport has provided Grimm with many opportunities, but there is something the infielder for moh-BEEL! USA of the fledgling American Softball Association hasn’t done yet. Will Hess, Grimm’s coach at the team based in Mobile, Ala., believes she is ready for the role.
“She is by far the conductor of her own train. She’s definitely in line to be MVP this year,” Hess said. “If she wants to stay around, she could be the face of this league.”
Grimm, who plays third base and shortstop for first-place moh-BEEL! USA (12-4), is in her second season with the team, part of a four-team league. And like she did at Ligonier Valley and Kent State, Grimm supplies plenty of power.
She leads the ASBA, in its second season, with 11 home runs (in only 57 at-bats). Her 18 runs, 61 total bases, 23 hits and 25 RBIs are second in the league. Her 1.070 slugging percentage ranks third.
Those are MVP-caliber numbers for Grimm, the 2017 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, and the good news for Hess, moh-BEEL! USA and the rest of ASBA is Grimm is enjoying her stay.
“I’ll keep coming back,” she said. “The circumstances aren’t the best of the best in terms of pay and stay, but it’s a group of 56 girls who love the game. This league is a big group of athletes who are passionate about what they’re doing here. We all have a common goal.”
Grimm said that goal is to help grow professional softball in the United States.
“Some players live with host families. Some live in houses with other players. It’s not five-star, but it does the job,” Grimm said. “We hope to be changing the future for younger players.”
The ASBA season runs about two months. The regular season started June 14, and the championship game is scheduled for July 29.
For Grimm and others, it’s an opportunity to experience life in a different setting, continue playing, make connections and help grow the game in an area where it flourishes.
Grimm ended up playing for moh-BEEL! USA after the league began following her on Twitter. The Akron Racers, which played in the National Pro Fastpitch, relocated to Cleveland, and Grimm was looking for a new team.
“I looked at it and thought, ‘You know what? It’s going to at least be an experience,’ ” Grimm said. “We’ll either have funny stories or a great experience, and you’ll always meet good people.”
It became the latter.
“I’ve really enjoyed my two seasons here,” she said.
Grimm’s also enjoyed her other softball experiences. She spent a year as an assistant at Division II Ashland (Ohio), then was with Pitt last season.
“The girls were a really special group. The results on the field weren’t what anybody hoped for, but being at Pitt helped me grow as a person and a coach,” Grimm said. “It was interesting getting a taste of a Power 5 (conference) school and the facilities. The field is beautiful, and the amount of resources Pitt has, it’s just cool to see how Pitt takes care of its athletes.”
As for Grimm’s future plans — other than playing in the ASBA — she is contemplating her next move.
Professional leagues in New Zealand and Italy, which offer more pay, are possibilities after moh-BEEL! USA’s season concludes. There also is the possibility of furthering her coaching career.
“There’s no doubt she’ll make a career out of this,” Hess said. “Honestly, it’s almost like she’s already an assistant coach for me. She’s always a leader on and off the field.”