Simpson baseball opens conference with wins

Simpson baseball opens conference with wins

by Kimberly Kurimski

Simpson’s baseball team beat Loras in all three of its games to start the conference opener off strong on March 24 and 25.

The Storm won both games Saturday, finishing 3-2 and 4-1. The team continued its winning streak into Sunday’s game with a 5-1 win.

The team went into the games knowing the competition would be tough.

“Offensively, we did a good job of grinding out good at bats,” head baseball coach Ben Blake said,

Blake was also impressed with sophomore Tyler Craig’s performance in the games.

“Tyler Craig had a big day and came up big in both games with a game winner in the first, and a big double at the end of the second ball game,” Blake said.

Sophomore Taylor Nelson helped out the team with an RBI single in game one along with junior Tyler Pawletzki’s run-scoring fielder’s choice.

A throwing error by Simpson allowed Loras to score two runs, tying the first game 2-2.

Craig came up to the plate and hit the ball high off the right-field fence to give the Storm a 3-2 win.

Craig’s bat was on fire again during the second game with a leadoff double during the bottom of the sixth.

Craig hit his second home run of the season during the third game where he scored the Storm’s first run.

Sophomore Michael Chia came up to bat, allowing Craig to tie the game up.

After making his way around the bases, Chia scored the winning run and Simpson scored three unearned runs, finishing the second game 4-1.

Pitching was also a main reason the Storm won its games.

“Both of our starting pitchers pitched well, mixed pitches, kept Loras off balance and minimized big innings,” Blake said.

Senior Chris Dorff performed on the mound during the second game.

Sophomore Aaron Young threw six innings for the storm during the third game. Young allowed four hits and struck out five.

Junior Jose Rodriguez Jr. finished out the last three innings of the third game for his first save of the season, striking out four and allowing only one run. He also credited his teammate’s success for the wins.

“Chris Dorff earned his first win of the season pitching a complete game,” Rodriguez said.

The team also focused on smart base running to bring home the wins.

“Brett Crable did a great job of getting on base at the end of each ballgame and setting the table for the top of our order,” Blake said.

Looking ahead, the competition for Simpson will be intense.

“The Iowa Conference is always tough from top to bottom, especially this year,” Blake said.

Overall, Blake and Rodriguez are proud of the team’s performance against Loras.

“It is always good to pick up a couple Conference wins, and our guys know how big those wins are,” Blake said.

“Our three wins this weekend show our dedication and hard work we put in for the two weeks we were off since spring break,” Rodriguez said.

The team feels confident about its chances after such a successful weekend.

“I feel the team is very satisfied about our first weekend into conference,” junior outfielder Pedro Rosa said. “We have a lot of talent and good team camaraderie, I am excited about the rest of the year to come. I feel that it is going to be a successful one.”

Blake said he’s looking forward to the upcoming season and what the team can bring to the field.

“We want to go out and play good baseball, period,” Blake said. “We don’t look too far ahead, just try and focus [on] us and what we do.”

The Storm’s next appearance will be against Luther this weekend at home.

The games begin at 6 p.m. Friday, March 30 and end with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday.