INDIANOLA, Iowa – It didn't look good.
Reeling from a 5-1 loss in the opener and trailing by three runs with two outs in the seventh inning of game two, the Simpson softball team was all but assured a disappointing end to the 2015 regular season.
That's when the offense woke up.
Abbie VanVleet hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning and Simpson scored four runs with two outs, coming back for a dramatic, 5-4 win over Wartburg in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon.
The Storm (29-9, 8-6 Iowa Conference) trailed 4-1 before singles by Britney Steele and Brianna Chaplin put runners at first and second with two outs. Stacie Brown cut the lead to 4-2 with a RBI double to right field and Ashley Prettyman – who struck out in her first two at-bats – brought in Brown and pinch-runner Grace Hall with a single to left, tying the game 4-4.
VanVleet fouled off the first pitch from Wartburg starter Kimberly Wedeking before pasting a line drive over the head of right fielder Micaela Forsyth, allowing Prettyman to score the winning run from first.
Maggie Long (2-0) got the win, tossing one inning in relief of VanVleet while Wedeking (9-8) took the loss. Taylor Smola went 2-for-2 with three RBIs to lead the Knights (22-17, 3-11).
Simpson couldn't figure out Paige Blom in the opener, getting just four hits in the 5-1 setback. Blom (13-8) walked three and struck out two in the complete-game win.
Riley Fisher suffered the loss, allowing five runs – two earned – on four hits with five strikeouts and five walks in seven innings. Brown accounted for half of Simpson's hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Forsyth gave Wartburg a 2-0 lead with a two-run double in the third. The Knights added three unearned runs thanks to two Simpson throwing errors to make it 5-1 in the seventh.
The Storm (29-9, 8-6 Iowa Conference) will have the No. 3 seed in the Iowa Conference Tournament, which begins Friday, May 1 in Decorah. Simpson will face sixth-seeded Dubuque at 3:30 p.m.
IIAC Tournament Schedule
New in 2015, the IIAC Tournament will follow a single-elimination format, with the first and second seeds receiving first-round byes. By virtue of its regular season championship, Luther will serve as the host institution.
Friday, May 1
Game 1 - 1:00 p.m. - No. 4 Coe vs. No. 5 Buena Vista
Game 2 - 3:30 p.m. - No. 3 Simpson vs. No. 6 Dubuque
Saturday, May 2
Game 3 - 11:00 a.m. - Coe/Buena Vista winner vs. No. 1 Luther
Game 4 - 1:30 p.m. - Simpson/Dubuque winner vs. No. 2 Central
Game 5 - 4:00 p.m. - Championship game
Sunday, May 3