Simpson softball season in review
Simpson University Sports News
REDDING, Calif. - Simpson University's women's softball team had an impressive year. They finished in second place in the California Pacific Conference with a record of 12-4. They won the Cal Pac Championship/NAIA West Regional Qualifying Tournament to advance to the NAIA National Championship for the first time in school history. For the second year in a row, the Lady Red Hawks qualified to compete in the NCCAA National Championship. They earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament and made it all the way to the championship game. They lost the title game by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning to North Greenville University. Simpson went 2-1 in pool play in the NAIA National Tournament before being eliminated.
The Lady Red Hawks started out their year by going 12-11 in preseason play. They hosted the second annual Simpson University Invitational to start their season in the beginning of February. The rest of their preseason competition consisted of playing in the California Baptist and Southern Oregon Tournaments and taking road trips to Southern California and the majority Oregon.
Cal Pac Regular Season
The intense 23-game preseason prepared Simpson for California Pacific Conference play. The Lady Red Hawks went 12-4 in regular season play. They swept both two-game series against Menlo College and Bethany University. They went 3-1 against Holy Names University. Simpson struggled against conference rival William Jessup University. The Lady Warriors had the upper had this year and took three of four games from the Lady Red Hawks.
Eight players made on to the All-Cal Pac teams. Sophomore Morgan Davis, freshman Chelsea Dunn, and juniors Brooke Downs, Nicki Feuerbach, and Valerie Rodriguez all won first team honors. Sophomores Hayley Rodriguez and Nicole Hutchins received second team honors. Junior Paige Gomez was selected All-Cal Pac Honorable Mention.
Cal Pac Championship/NAIA West Regional Qualifying Tournament
With a 12-4 record, Simpson placed second in the Cal Pac. This second place victory earned them the No. 2 seed in the Cal Pac Championship/NAIA West Regional Qualifying Tournament. The Lady Red Hawks swept the series, winning all three games they played in.
Simpson started tournament play against the University of Great Falls. The Lady Red Hawks shut out Great Falls 7-0. Hayley Rodriguez pitched a complete game and struck out 13 batters. She only allowed six hits. Dunn had three RBI in the game, and Davis hit a two-run homer.
The Lady Red Hawks played No. 1 seed William Jessup in round two of the tournament. Simpson won 4-3 in extra innings. Dunn hit the game winning single to left that allowed Davis to score. Freshman Shayley Madruga hit a two-run homer. Rodriguez and junior Amanda Crocker split pitching responsibilities. Rodriguez started the game and only gave up four hits. Crocker closed the game and gave up six hits and three runs.
Simpson played William Jessup again in the championship game. This time, the Lady Red Hawks dominated the game. They won 13-2. Downs had a two-run homer and junior Corrine Alexander and Gomez each hit solo home runs. Rodriguez pitched her second complete game of the tournament. She gave up three hits and two runs. This victory gave Simpson an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
NCCAA World Series
The Lady Red Hawks competed in the NCCAA World Series for the second year in a row. They were the No. 2 seed in this year's tournament. Simpson had an impressive outing at this tournament. They had four shut outs and only gave up four runs in the entire tournament. All four runs were scored by North Greenville University.
As the No. 2 seed, Simpson drew No. 7 seed Judson University in round one of the tournament. The Lady Red Hawks won 7-0. Rodriguez pitched a complete game and only gave up one hit while striking out 12. Downs scored twice, and Feuerbach had two RBI.
In round two, Simpson shut out Campbellsville University 2-0. Freshman McKenzie Burroughs had a huge double which drove in two runs. Feuerbach and Dunn scored on the play. Crocker pitched 5.1 innings and only gave up five hits. Rodriguez recorded the save.
Simpson suffered their first loss of the tournament in round three against North Greenville University. Downs scored Simpson's only run. Rodriguez picked up the loss. She pitched a complete game and only gave up seven hits and two runs.
In round four (the loser's bracket championship game), the Lady Red Hawks shut out Central Baptist University. Their 2-0 victory allowed them to advance to the championship game against North Greenville. In this game, Simpson won 9-0. Dunn went 3-for-4 with three RBI. Gomez added another three RBI. Crocker pitched the complete game and gave up only four hits.
This round five victory forced the "if necessary" game between Simpson and North Greenville since both teams only had one loss in the double elimination tournament. Valerie Rodriguez scored the Lady Red Hawks' only run off a Gomez single. North Greenville scored in the bottom of the fourth and tied the game at one.
The game remained tied 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh inning. North Greenville's Marielena Santos stepped to the plate and crushed the ball for a stand-up triple to give the Crusaders a runner in scoring position. Immediately following the big NGU hit, Simpson brought in pitching relief with Davis. On her first pitch, the ball escaped the catcher's glove allowing the speedy Santos to score the championship-winning run.
NAIA National Championship Tournament
The Lady Red Hawks continued their post-season play with their first-ever trip to the NAIA National Championship Tournament in Golf Shores, Ala. Simpson went 2-1 in pool play and did not advance to the double elimination round of the tournament.
Simpson faced Lubbock Christian University in round one. Lubbock came out with their bats on fire and won 14-6. Gomez, Madruga, Davis, Dunn, Feuerbach, and Valerie Rodriguez all scored runs. Downs had two RBI.
In round two, the Lady Red Hawks defeated Reinhardt University 2-1. Davis and Downs each scored a run. Feuerbach and Dunn each had a RBI. Freshman Whitney McCain had her best outing of the season. She pitched a complete game. She had 10 strikeouts while allowing only six hits and one run.
In the final round of pool play, Simpson beat NAIA defending national champion Simon Fraser University 3-2 on Hutchins' walk-off RBI-single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Alexander scored the winning run. Rodriguez pitched a complete game. She gave up 12 hits and two runs.
Contact: Derrick Pringle, Jr.