INDIANOLA, Iowa – The Simpson softball team travels to Decorah, Iowa on Thursday, May 3, kicking off the Iowa Conference Tournament with a Noon against Buena Vista at.
The third-seeded Storm (27-13, 10-6 IIAC) are 6-6 in their last 12 games, splitting the last six series. Simpson and Buena Vista played last Saturday, April 28th, and split the doubleheader: 2-0 and 0-6.
A look at the Tournament Field
Of the six teams in the tournament, three are ranked in the top 20 nationally. Four of the top seven teams in the latest NCAA Division III Midwest Region rankings hail from the Iowa Conference, making it one of the toughest in the nation. Top-seeded Luther (34-4, 15-1) is ranked fourth nationally and owns the top spot in the regional rankings. Second-seeded Central (31-7, 12-4) falls at No. 2 in the region, and is ranked sixth nationally. Simpson comes in at No. 4 in the region and fourth-seeded Coe (31-9, 9-7) is ranked 20th nationally and seventh regionally. Fifth-seeded Loras (20-16, 7-9) and sixth-seeded Buena Vista (17-15, 7-9) round out the field for the double-elimination tournament.
A look at the Storm
Simpson comes into the tournament with one of the best offenses in the Iowa Conference, hitting .323 as a team. The Storm hit 25 home runs this season, good for second in the conference, while leading in triples with 15.
The Simpson offense features a well-balanced attack, as seven hitters have a batting average over .300. The Storm are led by some fresh faces this season, getting great contributions from junior Chelsea Winegard – who played in 21 career games before this season – and freshman Hailey Jensen.
Winegard owns the conference's highest batting average at .447, hitting five triples. Jensen leads the team in home runs with six, followed closely by senior Carissa Coopman and junior Tieryn Potratz (five each). Coopman also legged out five triples this year and leads the team in RBIs (33). Simpson's all-time hits leader, Veronica Roshek (.364 BA) and senior Keri Sorensen (.322 BA, 22 RBIs) add experience to the attack.
Simpson's workhorse inside the circle, junior Kacee Arey has thrown 227 2/3 innings of a possible 259 on the year. The right-hander started 35 of 40 games, compiling an ERA of 2.24 and 171 strikeouts. At 24-13, Arey leads the conference and is second in the nation in wins. Junior Jessica Toyne (3-0, 3.58 ERA) could come on in relief of Arey.
Follow all of the Iowa Conference Tournament action here, where you can find live stats, box scores, and brackets.