Bosanko, Topil provide walk-off hits as Bulldog softball remains unbeaten

Bosanko, Topil provide walk-off hits as Bulldog softball remains unbeaten

TUCSON, Ariz. – No Concordia University softball team had ever won its first seven games of a season. That changed on Friday when the Bulldogs won three more contests in Tucson, Ariz., to improve to 9-0. The early-season hot streak tops the former 2003 school record of six-straight wins to begin a campaign.

First-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s club kept the streak alive on Friday with a 4-3 extra-inning win over Aquinas College (Mich.), a 15-8 victory over College of Saint Mary and a wild 13-12 triumph over NCAA Division III Alfred Unviersity (N.Y.).

“Obviously I’m very proud of the girls,” LaVelle said. “They showed a lot of resilience and a lot of heart. I never once saw a head drop or heard any negative words. This team is really starting to believe. When that happens it’s special. Some magical things happened today at the end.”

Concordia did it the hard way on Friday, finding itself behind in all three games. Each time the Bulldogs rallied back, punctuating the final game of the trip with Palmer Bosanko again providing a walk-off triple. Her bases clearing three-bagger with one out lifted Concordia past Alfred, just two days after Bosanko had tripled in the winning run against Presentation College.

“I don’t think I could have stopped Molly (Madsen) if I wanted to,” LaVelle said of his junior first baseman, who raced home from first to score the winning run. “This team just keeps fighting until the last out.”

Bosanko’s game winner completed another improbable comeback. Her latest walk-off hit came on the heels of a Julia Tyree RBI single that began a rally from three runs down to begin the bottom of the seventh. The Saxons had tallied four runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to go up 12-9.

That wasn’t even the largest deficit the Bulldogs faced in the game. Alfred led 6-2 going into the bottom of the fourth. That’s when Concordia sent 11 hitters to the plate as part of a five-run inning. Both freshman sensation Diana Mendoza and Courtnay Serve cracked RBI singles and Tyree (four hits in game 3) and junior Rebecca Walker doubled in a run apiece.

LaVelle’s squad also trailed 3-0 in game 1 against Aquinas. That disadvantage was quickly erased thanks to some sloppy Saints defense and a Madsen sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third. The score remained 3-3 heading into extra innings.

Concordia’s first of two walk-off hits on the day came when Amber Topil’s single up the middle sent Amanda Baldwin to the plate for the winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Bosanko’s triple later gave the Bulldogs their third walk-off triumph in a four-game span.

Game 1 starting pitcher Amanda Beeson got out of an eighth-inning, second and third, no-out jam to set the stage for Topil’s game winner. Beeson coaxed a line out to Walker at third that resulted in a double play and then a fly out to left field to end the threat. Beeson threw all eight innings and struck out six.

The next contest saw Concordia put up a season high 15 runs in a win over in-state foe College of Saint Mary (12-21 in 2013). Madsen notched three RBI singles to lead the attack. Topil and Bosanko both added two-run singles and Brittany Hudler and Tyree laced RBI singles in the seventh.

In the circle, Tyree threw all seven innings of game 3. Beeson and Tyree both worked in relief of freshman starter Lexye Bruegman in game 1.

After a full week of seeing the bulk of his 24-player roster, LaVelle feels good about his Bulldogs. He’s not shocked by how well the newcomers transitioned in their first collegiate action.

“I’m not that surprised,” LaVelle said. “I get to see them every day at practice. I knew we had a good team. We have a great supporting cast. Our bench players are doing a great job. At times our freshmen may have felt some pressure this week, but their talent and their hearts took over. They really came through.”

Alfred dropped to 7-3 after Friday’s action. Aquinas, which went 29-17 in 2013, slipped to 8-6 after falling to Concordia.

The Bulldogs will arrive back in Seward on Sunday. They will turn around quickly and get back to action on Tuesday with a doubleheader at York College (4 p.m.). Concordia is also scheduled to play Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as part of another busy week.

14 March 2014

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