Simpson softball out to prove doubters wrong


by Gunnar Davis, Editor-in-Chief

After making it to the semifinals in the American Rivers Conference postseason tournament a year ago, the Simpson softball team was picked to finish seventh in the A-R-C Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

That doesn’t sit well with Simpson head coach Brent Matthias and his team.

“That means they don’t think we can make it to the conference tournament this year, so maybe that’s a little surprising, but maybe it adds a little fuel to the fire to motivate us a little bit,” Matthias said. “We really think we can play for a conference title this year and if we can do that, then other positive things will happen along the way.”

The Storm has eight returning starters from last year’s squad that finished sixth in the conference and upset Wartburg in the postseason conference tournament.

Among those returning is junior Megan Crockett, who was tabbed first-team all-conference a season ago after leading the league with nine home runs.

Juniors Sara Trent and Emily Bell were also second-team selections last season and aim to play a big part in this season. Bell is excited for her senior campaign to finally get underway.

“I am most excited to play with this group of girls,” Bell said. “I can’t wait to get out there and compete knowing we all have each other’s backs.”

The Storm’s six of the top 10 hitters returned from last season. Now, the squad has recruited many talented freshman and sophomores that can compete with his upperclassmen. Matthias is excited about his squad’s potential.

“We think we have more depth than we’ve ever had,” Matthias said. “Depth at positions, talent at pitching. So, we’re very excited about what this year has to bring for us. We’ve got the right pieces with the returners, and really exciting freshman and newcomer class. We think those things will be really positive for us.”

For the past month, the Storm has been hitting it early for 5 a.m. practices to try to shake things up. Matthias says it’s good for his team to come together when no one has prior commitments to worry about. It’s good for all of the team to be there.

“The other thing about practicing early in the morning is, I think sometimes it’s about commitment,” Matthias said. “Are you committed to get up that early in the morning and practice… sometimes that’s very challenging to do.”

Bell says her teammates have responded well to the challenges.

“I like them because the whole team is able to be together and start bonding right off the bat,” Bell said. “They are a grind, but so worth it.”

The Storm will see if their early morning grind pays off at Illinois College on March 14.