First Team All-GPAC: Leah Kalkwarf, Megan Ruppert, Michaela Woodward
Second Team All-GPAC: Kylie Harpst, Autumn Owens
SEWARD, Neb. – Five Bulldogs represented head coach Todd LaVelle’s Concordia University softball team with either first or second team All-GPAC accolades, as announced by the conference on Wednesday (May 10). The first team selections include sophomore Leah Kalkwarf and seniors Megan Ruppert and Michaela Woodward. Second teamers were senior Kylie Harpst and junior Autumn Owens.
Woodward (Cortland, Neb.) will depart as one of the program’s all-time great two-way players. A big weekend at the GPAC tournament pushed Woodward to 11 home runs for the year, giving her sole possession of the school single-season home run record. She also batted .338 with 38 RBIs and a .642 slugging percentage (third best in the GPAC). She also served as the team’s ace pitcher, going 17-7 with a 3.07 ERA over 166.1 innings. She recorded 120 strikeouts. Woodward finished her career with 20 home runs and 48 pitching victories. She was also named second team all-conference in 2015 and first team in 2016.
Few players in the nation were hotter than Leah Kalkwarf during the second half of the season. The second baseman from Omaha wound up leading the team in batting average (.366) and RBIs (39) during a breakout second collegiate season. She also posted 16 doubles, a triple, three home runs, a .417 on-base percentage and .542 slugging percentage. Kalkwarf started each of the team’s 48 games. Kalkwarf reached base safely in all of the season’s final 29 games.
Ruppert, a transfer from McCook Community College, starred both at the plate and in the field. She made just one error all season while batting .349 (third on the team) with a pair of home runs, seven doubles, two triples and 12 stolen bases. She sported a robust .451 on-base percentage and a .466 slugging percentage. She started all but one game as the team’s center fielder.
A transfer from NCAA Division II Pittsburg State, Harpst put together a solid two years as a Bulldog. This season she batted .305 with 11 doubles, six triples (team high), four home runs and 37 RBIs. She registered an on-base percentage of .370 and a slugging percentage of .573. In the circle, Harpst made 21 appearances and had a record of 12-5 and ERA of 3.19 in 101 innings. Harpst hit .353 over 88 career games. She moved up from honorable mention All-GPAC in 2016.
Owens, a native of Henderson, Nev., provided a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup once again. She hit .350 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 34 RBIs. She recorded a .415 on-base percentage and slugged .633. She played in 38 games before suffering an injury that sidelined her down the stretch. Owens’ has the most home runs (21) of any Bulldog over the last three seasons. She is a career .353 hitter with 96 RBIs. She was a first team All-GPAC choice in 2016.
LaVelle’s squad ended the year with an overall record of 34-14, tying for the second most wins in a season in program history. The Bulldogs placed in a tie for second place in the GPAC regular-season standings.