KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Simpson softball team came out on both ends of a pair of one-run contests on the first day of the Rebel Spring Games, beating Westminster (Pa.) 1-0 an losing to Mitchell 5-4 in eight innings.
The Storm (6-3) got a complete-game effort from Abbie VanVleet to win the opener against Westminster, but their winning streak ended at four with the loss to Mitchell. Simpson scored two in the sixth to force extras but couldn't come up with a run in the bottom of the eighth.
Of Simpson's nine games so far in 2016, five have been decided by one run. Only two games have been decided by more than two runs.
Simpson 1, Westminster 0
VanVleet allowed just three hits and walked one, getting just enough run support from battery mate Tori Haag to come out a winner. Designated player Riley Fisher walked to lead off the fifth before Haag drove in pinch-runner Kelsie Tomlin on a double to left.
The Titans threatened in the sixth by putting the lead runner on, but VanVleet doubled-up the baserunner on a popped up bunt attempt to eliminate the threat.
Mitchell 5, Simpson 4 (8)
The Mariners took advantage of the international tiebreaker rule in the eighth inning, scoring the deciding run on a groundout after getting a runner placed on second to start the inning. Simpson advanced Annie Stolte to third on a sacrifice bunt in its half of the eighth, but a strikeout and a flyout ended it.
Simpson jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to three Mitchell errors in the first two innings. Mitchell tied it up with runs in the third and fourth and took a 4-2 lead on Danielle Autieri's two-RBI double in the fifth. Back-to-back doubles by Rachel Guessford and Stolte cut the lead to one, and a sacrifice fly by Maagie Long scored Stolte to tie it in the sixth.
Long suffered the loss, allowing one run off two hits in the final 3 1/3 innings. Riley Fisher tossed 4 1/3 innings and struck out seven in relief of Kaytlyn Ernst, who walked three of the first four batters.
Simpson plays Carroll (Wis.) and No. 16 Kean on Saturday morning in Kissimmee.