Louisiana Tech shortstop Bayli Simon talks about playing the USA Olympic Team
A coaching change in the Louisiana Tech softball program and the opportunity to transfer with immediate eligibility were key reasons why Lady Techsters’ starting shortstop and former Times All-Area Player of the Year Bayli Simon decided to recently enter the NCAA transfer portal.
Simon was one of the key reasons why the Lady Techsters became a C-USA power with two trips to the NCAA Tournament under former coach Mark Montgomery. But that success allowed Montgomery to more than double his salary by landing a Big 10 job at Maryland.
“Well the coaching change from coach Montgomery to coach (Maria Winn-Ratliff) was something that I don’t think anyone was expecting coming into the year so that was a factor,” said Simon, who was an LSWA All-State player for coach Lori McFerren at North DeSoto. “But I also felt that I wasn’t very happy last year at La. Tech and didn’t really feel like myself on the field anymore.”
Once the COVID-19 restrictions called a halt to Tech’s 2020 season just 24 games in, Simon had multiple conversations with her parents about what would be best for her future. She met with Winn last week and entered the portal knowing spring athletes have been awarded another year of eligibility since their 2020 seasons were cut short.
“The extra year was definitely a large factor in my decision to transfer,” said Simon, a junior. “Having the opportunity to go into a school with two more years of eligibility is really what started the thinking process for me — and if transferring would be a possibility.”
The 5-foot-5 slugger with a cannon for an arm has already been contacted by 10-12 schools, both Division I and Division II, although she declined to mention names since she is just beginning the recruiting process.
Montgomery said the college Simon chooses will be getting a solid individual and player.
“I love Bayli Simon,” he said. “She was an amazing player for me and will be a success wherever she goes.”
Currently taking 11 hours of course work through Tech’s online classes, Simon said she is leaving on good terms with the current Tech staff.
“I am very grateful for all of the memories that Louisiana Tech has given me and all the amazing opportunities I was given at this university,” she said.
Between her athletic scholarship, along with TOPS and additional academic scholarships, Simon was basically on a full ride at Tech, which will be key in choosing her next stop.
“But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same amount,” she said. “My biggest thing is probably how many of my class credits will transfer to whatever school I decide to go to and making sure that my academics are taken care of.”
After starting all 61 games in the Techsters’ 2019 run to the CUSA regular season and postseason tournament titles, Simon started the 24 contests this spring as the team struggled to an 8-16 start. She has some specific things she’s looking for in her potential new home.
“Somewhere that has that family atmosphere, but also that competitive drive,” Simon said. “I’m wanting to go somewhere that I can connect with my teammates and coaches and have great relationships with them, but also be able to work hard and compete against other teams.”
In 2019, Simon hit .292 with 13 doubles, four homers and 29 RBI. But her early numbers this spring dropped to .214, although her she was fielding at a .947 clip at the busiest spot on the infield. As she continues to accept potential suitors, the C-USA All-Tournament team member is thankful for the transfer portal is available.
“I think it gives athletes like myself the chance to have other opportunities if they don’t feel like the school they are at during that time is the right fit for them,” Simon said.