INDIANOLA, Iowa – Few pitchers have ever displayed the type of grit and toughness Kacee Arey showed on Wednesday night.
The junior pitcher proved why she is the workhorse of the Iowa Conference, throwing all 19 innings of a crucial doubleheader split against No. 21 Coe.
The nation's leader in wins, Arey (22-11) held Coe to three hits and Keri Sorensen drove in the winning run in Simpson's 2-1 win in the opener. Arey then threw 197 pitches in a 2-1, 12-inning loss in game two.
The win keeps the Storm (25-11, 8-4 Iowa Conference) at third place in the league standings. Simpson now has two wins over teams ranked in the top 25, with the other coming against then-No. 5 Luther.
In game one, Simpson went up against one of the best pitchers in Division III history, Ashlee Simon.
Simon (11-5) went the distance, striking out 12 to pass former Simpson-great Kelly Schade Fry for the most career strikeouts by an Iowa Conference pitcher. She now has 1,129, fourth in Division III history.
But the outing was bittersweet for the senior. Sorensen's single up the middle broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning and Simpson held on for the win.
Arey allowed only three hits and struck out seven.
The nightcap featured Coe's Maddison Woodruff inside the circle. Like Arey, Woodruff tossed all 12 innings of the nearly three-hour marathon. She kept Simpson off the board for the final nine innings after Chelsea Winegard's single scored Kylie Van Houten in the third inning.
Brianna Hull played the role of hero for the Kohawks (25-9, 5-7). She doubled in the tying run in the sixth and brought in the game-winner with another double in the 12th.
Hailey Jensen went 3-for-5 and Van Houten had two hits for Simpson, which had a chance to win in the 10th.
With Van Houten on second and two outs, Jensen hit a single to shallow center. Van Houten rounded third and headed for home, but got caught in a rundown to end the inning.
Arey struck out 10 and walked 10 in the nightcap, getting out of jam-after-jam. Coe stranded 12 runners in scoring position and 18 total on the night before finally getting to Arey after nearly 200 pitches.
Simpson looks to add another top-25 victim to its resume when it travels to Pella on Saturday, April 21 for a doubleheader against No. 6 Central. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.