Baseball looks to improve on last year’s second place IIAC finish

Baseball looks to improve on last years second place IIAC finish

by Tim LoneStaff Writer

The 2009 baseball season has begun and the Simpson baseball team will kick off its IIAC season against Cornell on March 20 at McBride Field in Indianola.

With the offseason now behind them, many of the Storm players are ready to get the season started.

Senior pitcher Dan Murphy said that before the team left for their spring trip to Mesa, Ariz., the team was definitely looking forward to taking the field after a long winter.

“I think the thing that we need to do is just get on the field,” Murphy said. “We haven’t been on the baseball field yet.”

Junior infielder Corey Rasmussen spoke confidently about the upcoming season, talking about the number of returning players on the team.

“Our biggest strength is all the guys we have returning,” Rasmussen said. “Most of the players have been two-year starters now and know the program. We have a great group here with many leaders and have underclassmen that can step in if something happens, and we are also returning the best pitcher in the conference in Jared Sass.”

Rasmussen also pointed out that the team has a number of young players that are looking to make a contribution this season.

“The young people I would look out for are Cale [Smith] and Zack Smith,” Rasmussen said. “These two are a great combination up the middle and are always on the up side. Drew Yarkoski is a solid defensive catcher and if Curt [Bjork] needs a break he is a great fill-in. I think that Mike Huyser is going to be a great addition to our pitching staff and I am really looking forward to see what he can do.”

Sass made similar comments about the team’s strengths, but also pointed out a couple of things that the team needs to focus on to have success this year.

“We have to be aggressive at the plate, that is one thing,” Sass said. “And we need to take our chances when we get them.”

Rasmussen also pointed out the team also needs to work on the mental aspect of the game, saying that was one of the team’s main weaknesses last year.

“Our biggest weakness is our focus,” Rasmussen said. “We lose focus a lot and that can really hurt us in a game.”

Sass talked about the competition in the IIAC being very tough this season but also spoke with confidence when asked about the overall outlook for the season.

“We definitely look to contend for the conference title,” Sass said. “That’s first and foremost. I think it’s a competitive conference this year really. I think top to bottom there are some pretty good teams, but I think our ability experience-wise would rank right up at the top of them.”

Rasmussen also spoke with confidence about the coming season, saying that other teams in the IIAC had better look out for the Storm come time for conference play.

“If I were the other teams in the IIAC I would be scared of us this year,” Rasmussen said. “Last year, finishing second and then having a tough tournament was hard on us and we don’t want to see it happen again. Most of us are juniors and seniors and expect to see better results this year. We have put the time in for the offseason and I expect us to go far. I think that we are the best team in the conference and really look forward to proving it.”