Storm baseball knocks competition out of the park


Jake Brend

The Simpson baseball team practices on Bill Buxton Field with a pop fly drill.

by Ethan Humble, Staff Reporter

The Storm sluggers are ready to smash their season out of the park after having their season cut short last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simpson swept their opening day doubleheader by final scores of 7-3 and 8-4 at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Junior pitcher Brady Held was named the American Rivers Conference Position Player of the Week March 1 after his stellar performance both on the mound and at the plate against the Blue Boys. The Indianola native said both he and the team were thrilled to be playing ball again.

“I think everyone’s just excited to get back on the field again, but a lot of [the excitement] is proving a lot of people wrong,” Held said. “We’ve been doubted the whole time we’ve been here, so we’re really trying to make a name for ourselves.”

Held also mentioned that although baseball isn’t a high contact sport, there are still a few facets of the game that are impacted by the pandemic.

“Practicing is different. You’re not allowed to be with everybody, and it’s kind of hard to space out,” he said. “There are not as many high fives or touching as we’re used to, but we’re still trying to do the best we can to continue to grow.”

In conference play, the coaches of the A-R-C voted for the Storm to finish in seventh place, ahead of only Loras (eighth) and Nebraska Wesleyan (ninth).

Head Coach Nathan Roling says that the team plans on using the coach’s poll as motivation to outperform the forecast.

“Our guys do have a chip on their shoulder from the preseason poll, which didn’t really fluctuate from last year,” he said. “That’s the tough one about this year is that the polls don’t really know how teams have changed or evolved.”

However, the fifth-year head coach said that his team is ready to put in the work necessary to make sure they rise to all the challenges they face.

“This group is excited to compete and have grown so much in the last really two years since we’ve played a full season,” Roling said. “We have a bunch of high character and hard-working young men that we’re excited to showcase.”

First-year pitcher Trey Castile said that even throughout COVID-19 regulations set forth, he had felt very welcomed onto the team.

 “Everyone’s just trying to get to know us and be around us hanging out,” he said. “It’s been awesome having the guys helping me out a whole lot through all the hurdles.”

Senior infielder Brandon Urias said that the team has high aspirations despite playing during the pandemic.

“As shown in the past, we are able to compete with some of the best teams in the conference. Our goal is to be at the top of it,” he said. “Individually, I want to do whatever I can to help the team win, whether that’s sacrifice situations or talking up my team from the bench to make sure the team does their best.”

The Des Moines native says there is plenty to be excited about as a fan this baseball season.

“Look out about coming to games and spreading out, of course. There’s plenty of room to cheer us on,” he said. “As you know, we didn’t get our season last year, so we’re looking to make a difference this year.”

The baseball team next takes the diamond on March 13 at Monmouth College in Illinois, and their first series at home will be on April 1, when they match up against the Loras College Duhawks.