CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Tyler Crandell (Ames, Iowa/Ames) hit a grand slam and collected four hits as the Simpson offense broke loose in a 14-8 Iowa Conference Tournament win against Coe on Thursday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Turning in the finest day of his young career, Crandell, a freshman, cleared the bases with his second home run of the season as part of a five-run seventh inning for the fifth-seeded Storm (21-16). The left fielder ended the day with four hits, adding a double as Simpson won its first IIAC Tournament game since 2007.
The No.4-seed Kohawks (24-17) looked to have the game in control after a six-run second inning made the score 6-0.
But Simpson clawed back into the game, plating a run in the third, three in the fourth and another in the fifth to pull within a run at 6-5.
In the seventh, Drew Yarkosky (Albia, Iowa/Albia) walked, Justin Svehla (Lincoln, Neb./Northeast) reached on a fielder's choice and Ethan Hale (Clive, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley) singled to load the bases for Crandell's long ball to left field. Colton Calvert (St. Charles, Iowa/I-35) scored on Hale's single earlier in the inning as Simpson held a 10-6 lead when the dust cleared.
Kyle Ruehle (Cherokee, Iowa/Washington) picked up the win in relief of starter Clint Rhodes (Legrand, Iowa/East Marshall), who surrendered six runs in 1 2/3 innings. Ruehle (5-1) stopped the bleeding, getting the final out of the second inning. He allowed two runs off three hits in all, going 5 1/3 innings.
Dave Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) had three hits and scored two runs and Scott Ethell (Knoxville, Iowa/Knoxville) had two hits and two RBIs for the Storm, who face No.1-seed Buena Vista at 10 a.m. Friday.
Due to inclement weather, only two of four scheduled games were played on Thursday.