The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

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The Storm looks to rewrite the narrative

Joel+Sampson+hit+a+go-ahead+three-run+bomb+as+part+of+a+six-run+seventh+inning+that+propelled+the+Simpson+College+baseball+team+to+a+12-10+series+finale+win+over+Hamline.+-+Simpson+Atheltics
Courtesy of Simpson Athletics
“Joel Sampson hit a go-ahead three-run bomb as part of a six-run seventh inning that propelled the Simpson College baseball team to a 12-10 series finale win over Hamline.” – Simpson Atheltics

   The Simpson Storm baseball team swept their opening-day games for the fourth time under head coach Nathan Roling. The Storm picked up wins against Calvin, 5-2, and Wisconsin Lutheran, 10-7, on Feb. 24. The wins were the Storm’s first against each opponent in team history.

“We played how we want to play. We stole some bases, bunted for hits, scored in different ways, pitched well – really well at times and well enough at other times,” head coach Nathan Roling said. “[I] feel good about how we came out on opening day with nerves and with the eagerness to play and felt like we played pretty well for the first day out.”

In game one, senior pitcher Trey Castile was credited with his first win of the season, and with two strikeouts, he passed Chris Donahue for fifth place all-time in career strikeouts with 181. Sophomore Dylan Schlee picked up his first save of the season after shutting down the Calvin Knights in the final two innings.

“We didn’t play perfect, but we did what we needed to do to win,” Castile said. “That’s all it comes down to, being able to gut out wins, especially when our conference is so good.”

In game two against the Wisconsin Lutheran Warriors, the Storm was down by three after three innings and was propelled by senior Joel Sampson’s three-run homer in the fourth, following back-to-back singles by Levi Herrick and Tyson McAlexander.

“When I went to the plate, that’s never really my goal, but knowing that I could bring the team back in, it was a really good feeling and just sticking to it,” Sampson said.

The following day, the team fell to Augustana Vikings, 18-3. The Vikings took a 13-0 lead over the Storm before they got on the board in the fourth inning. Sophomore Ian Baldwin hit a triple and was the first to score for the Storm on a groundout two batters later.

“They’re one of the top teams in our area, year in and year out, and [we] showed some good things, but ultimately, the game got away from us with the inability to throw enough strikes, and the score got a little bit out of hand,” Roling said. “But I thought, offensively, we played all right at times and against a good team.”

Both Castile and Sampson said the loss gave the team a lot of learning opportunities and allowed for some flaws to be exposed, which showed them what the team needed to work on heading into their next games.

“This preseason stuff, these games, yeah, they’re great, and we expect to win every time we go out, but the ultimate goal is to win come conference season,” Sampson said. “It was a tough loss, but it was needed to expose some things we need to work on.”

The team had a goal going into the series of games in Illinois to win two out of three, and they accomplished just that.

Looking ahead at the rest of the season, the number one goal for the young team is to get better every game and every series. They are also looking into being able to compete in the conference, play in the conference tournament, and come away with the conference championship.

As for areas of improvement, the team is looking to find their offensive identity.

“I think we’re starting to do that really well. We can play very aggressively,” Roling said.

They are also looking into growing defensively, and the final piece they are looking at improving is solidifying their bullpen.

“We’re working at the attitude we bring to the field every day,” Sampson said.“We want to exude a level of confidence that when people show up to the field, they understand they have to play us.”

There’s a lot to look forward to with the season just now underway, both on the coaches’ side and the players’ sides. Roling is looking forward to the team this season, commenting on how hard they work and how well the team gets along.

“Ultimately, our goal is to win every game that we play, and looking forward to the challenge of going into this and the opportunity to have success with this group excites us an awful lot,” Roling said. “It’s a fun group to be around, and coaching them every day is a privilege.”

Castile is looking forward to seeing what the team can do, stating they have a lot of anticipation to see themselves perform well.

“We have a lot of young guys who are going to develop and grow throughout the year,” Castile said. “I’m excited to see where our guys end up being able to be at and play at by the end of the year.”

Sampson looks forward to playing with his teammates every day, stating they are his best friends and they invest all of their time into each other.

“There’s a quote I love to say, ‘eat with the ones you starve with,’ and every single day, we bust our asses off, we work so hard, and we want to enjoy the success together,” Sampson said.

The Storm was picked seventh in the American Rivers Conference preseason rankings with 16 points to tie with Central. The team returns 15 letter-winners from last season and welcomes 24 newcomers. The 2022 season concluded with an overall record of 16-24 and a 6-18 conference record.

“You know, this is a program that has seen some struggles as of late, and we’re looking to change the narrative and I’m excited to reap what we have,” Sampson said.

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