CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The sixth-seeded Simpson softball team faces third-seeded Luther in the first round of the 2018 Iowa Conference Softball Tournament on Friday, May 4 from Clark Field. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.
Todd Guessford will have the call on SimpsonAthletics.com beginning with pre-game at 4 p.m. Fans can also listen on KNIAKRLS.com or watch the video stream through IowaConference.com.
The Storm finished the regular season 21-15 overall and 7-9 in the Iowa Conference, clinching a tournament berth with a doubleheader split against Luther in the regular season finale on April 28 in Indianola. Simpson is in the tournament for the 15th time after missing the cut in 2017.
The IIAC Tournament
The tournament is in its fourth season under the current six-team, single-elimination format. Top-seeded Coe and second-seeded Central earned first-round byes while the other first round matchup features fourth-seeded Nebraska Wesleyan and fifth-seeded Loras. All games will be played at Coe's Clark Field. 2018 IIAC Tournament Page
The winner of Friday's game will play No. 2 seed Central at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Semifinal winners meet in the championship at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Simpson in the IIAC Tournament
- The Storm have qualified for the IIAC Tournament 12 times in 13 years since it started being held annually in 2006. The tournament was previously held in 1984-86 but was not held form 1987-2005.
- Simpson is 12-19 in 11 previous appearances (since 2006), going 1-2 since the single-elimination format was introduced in 2015.
- The Storm are appearing in the tournament for the first time as No. 6 seed.
- Simpson is 7-15 against teams in the tournament field: Luther (1-8), Central (4-2), Coe (1-4), Loras (1-1) and Nebraska Wesleyan (0-0).
- The Storm's last win in the IIAC Tournament came in 2016, a 4-2 triumph over sixth-seeded Wartburg in the semifinal round. Simpson fell in the championship game to Luther, 8-6.
Storm Quick Hits
- The Storm and second-year head coach Brent Matthias enter the postseason 21-15 overall, a 13-game turnaround from last season's eight-win campaign.
- Simpson is hitting .335 as a team in 2018, currently the third-highest mark in school history and best since 2013.
- With her 18 doubles this season, junior catcher Ashley Allen is one double away from setting the school single-season record. She is currently tied with former catcher Tori Haag, who set the mark in 2014.
- Freshman pitcher Emily Bell has 104 strikeouts on the season, just the 10th pitcher in school history to reach the century mark in a season. She is just the fourth freshman to record 100 strikeouts and first since Amy Kulisky fanned 139 batters as a rookie in 2000.
- Although a conference batting title and school record are likely out of reach, junior outfielder Madison Rasmusson is still hitting at an impressive clip. Her .439 average this season is currently sixth in school history and fifth in the IIAC.
- Senior third baseman Taylor Davis is the poster child for Simpson's dramatic resurgence in 2018. After hitting just .160 a year ago, Davis is hitting .402 with 11 doubles and team-highs in home runs (four) and RBIs (32). She has played the last 10 games with a broken ring finger on her glove hand, an injury sustained diving into first against Wartburg on April 5.
- Ashley Allen has led the Storm at the plate over the last 10 games, hitting .393 (11-for-28) with four doubles and three RBIs. She is slugging .536 during the span and goes into the conference tournament with a three-game hitting streak.
- The Storm currently boast three players in the lineup hitting above .400 this season: Madison Rasmusson (.439), Kasiah Ehresman (.424), Taylor Davis (.402) and Ashley Allen (.400). If that figure holds, it will be the most players above .400 in a single season in school history. Prior to this season, the most Simpson has had was three in 2010.