Bats come alive; Concordia softball readies for postseason run

Bats come alive; Concordia softball readies for postseason run

SEWARD, Neb. – Five seniors donned Bulldog blue for the final time at Plum Creek Park on Saturday afternoon as the Concordia University softball team split a doubleheader with visiting Dakota Wesleyan. Concordia’s offense awoke in a big way as part of an 11-3, run-rule victory in game 1. The Tigers then took the second game, 8-6, in eight innings.

Although official pairings have not yet been released, head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad (27-12, 12-8 GPAC) will be locked into the No. 3 seed and will open up GPAC tournament play on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Smith Softball Complex in Hastings, Neb.

The most encouraging part of Saturday’s split was the 17-hit outburst in game 1, the type of offensive display LaVelle had been waiting for.

“That’s what we worked on this past week – at the plate,” LaVelle said. “I really like how the girls are playing defense but obviously that’s only part of the game. We spent a lot of time this week on hitting and I think you saw that.

“I wish it would have carried over to the second game. It didn’t but I still like what I witnessed today.”

Every single hitter in LaVelle’s game 1 starting lineup recorded at least one hit and six had two hits or more: Amanda Baldwin (3-for-3), Regan Doiel (3-for-3), Palmer Bosanko (2-for-2), Molly Madsen (2-for-4), Shelby Morose (2-for-3) and Julia Tyree (2-for-4).

Concordia actually trailed 3-0 after the first inning, but roared back with seven runs on five hits and an error in the bottom of the second. Morose cracked an RBI double to get it started. Bosanko, who led off the inning with a walk, drove in two runs later in the inning with a two-run single.

The Bulldogs would get one more in the third and three more in the fifth to enact the run rule and allow senior Amanda Beeson to breeze to her 14th win of the season. He added 10 more strikeouts to her GPAC-leading total on Saturday.

Beeson tried to put into words what it means to be a senior on senior day.

“Four years goes really fast,” Beeson said. “It’s been a roller coaster but I wouldn’t trade a single second of it. Every split, every sweep – it’s been great. It’s because of my teammates and what we’ve worked for. This is the best way to go out.”

Beeson ended up with the loss in game 2 despite not giving up an earned run. The two squads went to extra innings after being tied 4-4 since the end of the third inning. The Tigers struck for four runs in the top of the eighth, including three on Hailey Unger’s three-run homer off of Beeson.

A four-year starting catcher, Seward native Amber Topil went 1-for-4 with a run and a pair of RBIs in her final action at Plum Creek Park.

Concordia got multiple hits in game 2 from Madsen (2-for-3), Diana Mendoza (2-for-4) and Brittany Hudler (2-for-5).

Dakota Wesleyan ace Jil Dickson (13-7) earned the win in game 2 by throwing all eight innings. She scattered 10 hits while allowing six runs (five earned).

LaVelle’s crew now looks forward to the postseason. From day one, the Bulldogs set high goals for themselves. They are going to Hastings next week hoping to bring back a title.

“Now we’re 0-0,” LaVelle said. “We’re going to go down to Hastings for the conference tournament. There are seven other teams that will be there and everybody is 0-0. It really doesn’t matter (what their regular-season records are). You have to play everybody and if you want to win the tournament you have to win three or four in a row.

“We’re going to get better. We’re going to rest up and fine tune a couple things. Hopefully this time next week we can have an interview saying we did exactly what we set out to do at the beginning of the year.”

The GPAC will officially release conference tournament pairings on Monday.

26 April 2014

Gm 1: Concordia 11, D Wesleyan 3 (5) »

Gm 2: D Wesleyan 8, Concordia 6 (8) »

Senior Amanda Beeson and head coach Todd LaVelle

Junior Regan Doiel