INDIANOLA, Iowa – The Simpson softball team made waves on the national scene on Saturday.
Behind the strong pitching of Kacee Arey and a big second inning, Simpson upset No. 5 Luther 5-3 in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, shaking off a 10-1, five-inning loss in the opener.
Chelsea Winegard went 3-for-4 on the day to lead the Storm (22-8, 5-1 Iowa Conference), who remain tied with Luther atop the league standings.
Although not her finest day at the plate, Tieryn Potratz – who went 1-for-5 – used her defense in centerfield to save the game two win for Simpson when it looked as though the fifth-ranked team in the nation was poised to make a run.
With two runs across, an error on the board and Simpson's lead shrinking in the seventh, Potratz gunned down a runner at third for the second out. She then robbed Elisa Smith of a hit with a diving grab on a ball hit to shallow center, ending the game.
Kelsey Weindruch went 5-for-7 on the day with five RBIs in game one for the Norse (22-4, 5-1), who saw their 10-game winning streak come to an end with the game two loss.
The difference in game two was the second inning. Simpson batted around in the frame, scoring five runs off six hits. After singles by Keri Sorensen and Winegard to start the inning, Hillary Harmon roped a double down the left field line to score two. Kylie Van Houten drove in two more runs on a single to right, chasing starter Sarah Briggs from the game after she failed to record an out.
Potratz welcomed new pitcher Kelsey Rose to the game with an RBI double as Simpson extended its lead to 5-0.
Arey improved to 19-8 with the win, holding Luther to three runs – two earned – off seven hits and striking out four. She recovered nicely from her first appearance of the day, when she allowed seven runs off eight hits in four innings.
The Storm managed only four hits against Luther ace Becca Girvan in the opener. Weindruch's three-run homer highlighted a five-run third which put the game out of reach.
Next up for the Storm is a trip to Dubuque where they will face the University of Dubuque in a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 10. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.