Strong pitchers lead Storm early


by Tim Lone/Staff Writer

In just a couple of weeks, the Simpson College baseball team will leave the cold weather of Iowa behind and head to Phoenix for their annual spring break trip.

Besides the trip to Phoenix, the team recently took a trip down to Clarksville, Ark., to play three games against the University of the Ozarks this past weekend. Coach Ben Blake talked about the benefits of taking these trips.

“Between the two trips we will play 12 games that we might not get in at home,” Blake said. “These trips are also a great opportunity to get out of the snow, especially this year.”

The preparation for this year’s season has been ongoing. In addition to participating in the strength and conditioning program, Blake said the team has also been participating in yoga sessions twice a week, and hitting groups and pitcher and catcher groups meeting two or three times a week.

Junior outfielder Tyler Pearson, a native of Knoxville, said changes in the offseason have been beneficial.

“In the past we have done workouts and training on our own,” Pearson said. “This was the first year that we have gone through Simpson’s strength and conditioning.”

Pearson added that the team enjoys the lifting program and feels stronger now that the season is upon them.

Blake talked about the players that are returning, as well as some new faces this season.

“We return a good core of pitchers that should allow us to compete with pretty much everyone we run into,” Blake said. “In addition we added Paul Brown, a good solid pitcher from DMACC.”

Blake said that although the majority of the team may not have much experience, they certainly are not short on talent.

“From an offensive and defensive standpoint, this is a very athletic group,” Blake said. “What we lack in experience we make up for in athleticism.”

Junior catcher Drew Yarkosky of Albia said the team has a lot of potential and has set high expectations for the season.

“I think that our schedule is around 40 games,” Yarkosky said. “And I have set a goal for us to win 30. I know we’re capable of doing this if we keep our focus and concentration.”

Blake said that the Iowa Conference will pose tough competition once again this season. Blake added that Wartburg College is always a tough team to face and that Coe and Buena Vista will have good seasons as well.

Pearson talked about the challenges that the Iowa Conference presents.”We are in a difficult conference which tends to be unpredictable from year to year,” Pearson said. “We have a lot of solid teams and anyone can knock off the conference leader any week.”

Blake said the team could go through some growing pains as they try to replace last year’s senior-laden group.

“This year’s outlook is sort of a question mark,” Blake said. “I would consider it a rebuilding year after losing a bunch of seniors, but I honestly feel we should be able to compete with anyone. Winning 20-plus games is an annual goal, but I want these guys to go out, play hard and compete and surprise people every time out.”