Baseball swings into end of season


by Jack Sawyers

The Simpson Storm men’s baseball team has utilized its teamunity in the past weeks to post a 15-7 overall record and a 3-1record in the Iowa Conference.

“Probably the best thing I’ve seen so far is the way this teamhas come together,” said John Sirianni, head coach and Simpsonathletic director, who is in his 19th season at the helm of theStorm.

Sirianni credits his team’s development in part to theoutstanding leadership displayed by the upperclassmen and the waythey motivate other players.

“We have very strong captains, but some of the older guys whoaren’t captains have really stepped up,” said Sirianni. “We don’tjust have to rely on one person.”

Red shirt and junior, Jon Clanton agreed that the development ofthe Storm this season was due in part to the team’scooperation.

“There’s a lot of team chemistry,” said Clanton.

Sophomore centerfielder Dusty Kain also said that the olderathletes had played a big role in pushing everyone to improve.

“Most of the seniors are really good leaders and they leadeverybody as a group,” said Kain. “We all hang out together andhave fun together.”

Further evidence of the upperclassmen’s leadership can be foundin the Storm’s stat book. Senior Brett Murphy, catcher andcenterfielder, has posted the best batting average for the teamwith a .483. He is followed by junior third baseman and outfielderDan Rieck and senior infielder Grant Fjetland, who have postedaverages of .452 and .424, respectively.

Sirianni said that his team’s success is also due in part to thearms on the mound for the Storm.

“Our pitching staff is very strong,” said Sirianni.

Leading the way for the staff again are a solid group ofupperclassmen. Junior Casey Graham has earned the best record forSimpson at 4-1 with a 4.55 earned run average. He is followed byseniors Mike Donnenwerth and David Isaacson, who have added recordsof 2-1 and 2-0, respectively.

However, the Storm are not about to rest on their laurels.

“We’ve done a lot of good things, but there’s also some thingsthat we need to improve on,” said Clanton.

Sirianni pinpointed defense as one area that his team needs tocontinue working to perfect, although the combined batting averageof the Storm against all opponents, .356 to .287, shows a victoryin total hits over hits allowed.

Clanton felt that the team had already put in place theirfoundation for excellence, but would need to continue to dedicatethemselves to improving.

“I think as long as we get better, our expectations will bemet,” said Clanton.

The Storm will finish regular season play in double-headers athome against Loras on April 14 and against Luther on April 17.