Baseball program gets a special visit from former MLB pitcher

Jason Simontacchi, a former pitcher and pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, and current minor league pitching coordinator for the Kansas City Royals, paid a visit to OHS on Jan. 14 to talk to the baseball program.

“I came to Oakville to talk to some players and some parents, give them information, and challenge them a little bit,” said Simontacchi. “I planned on just touching base and really showing them the chance of them actually making it to the majors, and really push the point that education should be their main focus.” 

His main focus of the meeting was to inform the 20 or so student athletes and their parents that education is more important than any sport they play. He also touched on arm care and how to keep arm strength with longevity like a major league player.

“I’m really glad he came up to talk to us, he gave us good life lessons,” said Joey Giunta (11). “He told us that we should really work as a team this year and bond.”

Simontacchi has a very extensive resume. He started playing in California, his home state, and played high school ball there. After college, he was drafted in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft to the Kansas City Royals. 

Simontacchi was released after just a year, but he kept playing. He played in the independent league for the Gateway Grizzlies, and others around America. He left the country to get seen again; he ended up in Italy playing for them in the 2000 Olympic baseball tournament.

He then landed a spot in the Cardinals farm system in 2002 and made it to the grandest stage in all of baseball that same year. In his first game Simontacchi threw seve

n innings and came away with a win only giving the Atlanta Braves nine hits. In 2007 he got a contract with the Washington Nationals. After his last game on July 15, 2007, he retired and finally settled down in St. Louis. He ended his career with a record of 26-17, an ERA (earned run average) of 5.09, 355.2 innings pitched, and 191 strikeouts.

While playing in the Cardinals organization, Simontacchi grew closer with the area. “I never really had a bond with St. Louis until I played here in 2002,” Sim

ontacchi said “but I love to hunt and fish so when I lived in Chesterfield I was only 20 minutes away from a deer stand or a lake.

His bond with Oakville is deeper than ever before. Simontacchi has two sons with ties to OHS. His oldest son, Bradley, graduated in 2018 and he has another son, Nathan, who is a senior wrestler.