CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The American Rivers Conference coaches picked the Simpson baseball team eighth in the 2019 Preseason Coaches' Poll.
After finishing the 2018 season with an 8-28 overall record and 6-17 conference record, the Storm tallied 21 votes to finish ahead of Nebraska Wesleyan (9) in the standings. The 2018 Iowa Conference regular season and tournament champion, Dubuque, was tabbed first, followed by Coe.
Third-year head coach, Nathan Rolling, has three players returning that received All-IIAC recognition from a year ago. Sophomore Kolton Arnold was a first-team selection after batting .290 in conference play with four doubles and eight RBIs as a designated hitter. Noah Sacco was named honorable mention a year ago as an outfielder for the Storm. The junior returns after hitting .356 in conference play. On the mound, Tanner Jansen gears up for his junior season after posting a 4.54 ERA in conference play a year ago. The honorable mention selection led the team with 40 strikeouts in 54.0 innings of work.
Overall, Simpson is a young team that showcases only two seniors and five juniors. Truman Schmitt will be a pivotal piece on offense and defense for the Storm. At the plate, Schmitt belted three home runs and had 20 RBIs for a .254 average. While in the field, he had a .974 fielding percentage at catcher and threw out 15 would-be base stealers.
Besides Jansen, Simpson brings back five players that made an appearance on the mound last season and the six combine to have pitched 123.4 innings in 2018.
View the American Rivers Conference release here.
A-R-C PRESEASON COACHES' POLL (first-place votes)
1. Dubuque, 58 (5); 2. Coe, 55 (3); 3. Wartburg, 52; 4. Luther, 48 (1); 5. Buena Vista, 36; 6. Loras, 23; 7. Central, 22; 8. Simpson, 21; 9. Nebraska Wesleyan, 9.
American Rivers Conference play consists of a 24-game round-robin season with three game series with each school. The 2019 American Rivers schedule begins the weekend of March 22-23 with Simpson hosting Buena Vista.
The 2019 American Rivers Conference Tournament will be held May 9-11 on Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The winner of the double-elimination tournament will receive the Conference's automatic berth in the 2019 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship tournament.