CLERMONT, Fla. -- The Simpson softball team begins the 2018 season Saturday, March 3 at the PFX Spring Games. The Storm will play 14 games in eight days on their annual spring break trip to Central Florida.
The Storm and second-year head coach Brent Matthias return nine position players and three pitchers from last year's team that went 8-28 overall and placed eighth in the Iowa Conference with a 3-13 mark. Among the returners are all-conference utility player Madison Rasmusson and all-conference catcher Ashley Allen.
Fans can listen to all 14 games on SimpsonAthletics.com. Todd Guessford will describe the action with pre-game beginning 20 minutes prior to first pitch.
Storm Quick Hits
• This week marks the first games of the season for the Storm, who were originally scheduled to get underway Feb. 24-25 until excessive rain in the Dallas area caused the cancellation of doubleheaders with the University of Dallas and Texas Wesleyan.
• Simpson begins its 46th season of softball in Saturday's season-opener against Houghton. Simpson is 1,009-533-4 since its inaugural season in 1973.
• Despite going 8-28 last season, Simpson won 3 of 5 to close the campaign. Included in that stretch was a pair of losses to No. 4 Luther in which the Storm led in each game.
• Arianna Kim returns to full form after missing most of 2017 with a shoulder injury. The junior went 1-2 in the circle with a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings and will bolster a staff that includes returning No. 1 starter, Madison Rasmusson (5-11, 4.16 ERA).
• Second team all-conference catcher Ashley Allen closed the 2017 season on fire, hitting .393 with four home runs, nine RBIs and a .821 slugging percentage in the final eight games. On the season, she led the team in home runs (4) and RBIs (17) while hitting .330.
• Rasmusson was the team's leading hitter, hitting .375 on the year and .422 in league play. She recorded a hit in 14 of the final 16 games and brings a five-game hitting streak into the opener.
Quotes from the Coach
"Our expectation is to play good ball every day and improve every day. Then we'll look at the scoreboard and see where we're at," — Brent Matthias on his expectations for the 2018 season
"Our strength will be athleticism. As a coaching staff, we don't know who to pinch-run for or who to pinch-hit for, because everyone is pretty athletic," — Brent Matthias on the strength of the team
"Last year, I think we looked at it as a job and forgot that there is a fun aspect to the game. Most players won't get to play ball after four years. We want to enjoy our friends, have fun and battle," — Brent Matthias on focusing on having more fun this season
Preseason Coaches' Poll
The Storm were selected eighth in the IIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll with 17 points, ahead of Dubuque (8 points). Three-time defending champion Luther earned was picked to win the league.
|Rank||School (1st place votes)||Points||2017 Record|
|1.||Luther (8)||64||41-5, 15-1 IIAC|
|2.||Central (1)||56||32-10, 13-3 IIAC|
|3.||Coe||49||31-11, 11-5 IIAC|
|4.||Buena Vista||39||20-17, 8-8 IIAC|
|4.||Wartburg||39||22-16, 9-7 IIAC|
|6.||Loras||32||23-13, 6-8 IIAC|
|7.||Nebraska Wesleyan||18||18-18, 3-11 IIAC|
|8.||Simpson||17||8-28, 3-13 IIAC|
|9.||Dubuque||10||11-28, 2-14 IIAC|