Spring trips build team chemistry


by Ben Lucas

The Simpson baseball team will start its season off with experience-building trips down south.

The team that went 23-18 in 2010 will be heading to both Arizona and Arkansas during the 2011 season in order to work on various aspects of its program and test itself against teams from around the country.

Head coach Ben Blake hopes playing outside the conference will give the team an edge back in Iowa.

 “We go down to Arkansas in mid-February and will have games in Phoenix over spring break,” Blake said. “On both occasions, we mainly look to gain game experience that we likely wouldn’t, or can’t, get at home during these times. Winning is obviously ideal, but we honestly treat it like a spring training game. Our starting pitchers will be on pitch counts, and we will likely shake up the line-up from game to game to get a look at different players and line-up scenarios.”

The team faces tough competition at home in the conference as well.

“(Buena Vista) will be the team to beat,” Blake said. “They have good pitching and a good group of kids. Wartburg is always tough, and Central is always scrappy, but to be real honest, year in and year out there aren’t too many pushovers in the league.”

Drew Yarkosky, senior catcher for the Storm, said he looks forward to the trips and the results that come from those trips.

“Arkansas and Arizona are always a great time,” Yarkosky said. “This is where we really bond the most as a team. It’s hard to be negative when it’s 60 degrees warmer there. We seem to play well down there every year and I’m looking forward to more success this year as well. I feel like we have a great group of guys with a lot of chemistry.”

Tyler Pearson, senior outfielder, knows the key to success this year is solid play and a constantly contributing depth of players.

“Defensively we need to play error-free baseball,” Pearson said, “We cannot have errors every game; if we can take care of business and field everything cleanly, we will have a successful season.”

The team is ready to keep building on its previous success, and Yarkosky has confidence in its ability to do so.

“Last year we had a lot of guys, including myself, who had a lot to prove and we did it,” Yarkosky said. “We showed we could play. Now we need to take the next step forward and be consistent about how we approach each game.”

Simpson’s first game is a doubleheader on Feb. 18 in the Ozarks.