Hot hitting continues in pair of come-from-behind wins
STERLING, Kan. – Faced with deficits of three or more runs in both contests on Friday, the Concordia University softball team simply continued to figure out ways to win. First-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s club came from behind for a 10-7 victory over McPherson College (Kan.) and then an 8-6, eight-inning triumph over Sterling College (Kan.) to close the day at the Sterling College tournament.
The Bulldogs (14-1) have now won five in a row since suffering their first loss of the season on Wednesday.
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, these girls just keep on fighting and keep believing,” LaVelle said. “They pick each other up. We had some key errors today but they would say, ‘get the next one.’ They just don’t know how to lose right now.”
The 6-1 deficit Concordia faced in game 1 was its largest disadvantage yet this season. It looked bleak for the Bulldogs who, down to their final four outs, racked up nine runs with two outs in the top of the sixth to grab a 10-6 lead. The improbable rally was fueled by nine-straight hits, including run-scoring knocks by Regan Doiel, Diana Mendoza (two RBI single), Shelby Morose (double), Julia Tyree (double) and Molly Madsen.
“In my 20-plus years of coaching softball, I’ve never had a team score nine runs with two outs,” LaVelle said. “We really got going in the sixth inning and shored up our defensive play. All those runs really took the wind out of their sail.”
Concordia again packed its explosive offense on the road. As a team, the Bulldogs amassed 30 hits and batted .411 on the day. Morose went 4-for-5 in a starring role in game 1. Center fielder Regan Doiel enjoyed a big day, going 4-for-7 with four RBIs. Meanwhile, third baseman Rebecca Walker (3-for-4 in game 1) and catcher Amber Topil (3-for-3 in game 2) both had one three-hit effort.
For the second time this season, Concordia won an extra-inning game, topping Sterling in eight frames. Tyree knocked in the go-ahead run with an RBI single and Topil added an RBI double to provide starting pitcher Amanda Beeson enough cushion.
Beeson then retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth for the complete game victory. The right-hander from Waverly, Neb., fanned a career high 14 hitters while surrendering four earned runs on 11 hits. She also earned the save in game 1, working as both a starter and reliever in the same contest.
Nine different Bulldogs tallied at least one hit on the day as they raised the team batting average to .380.
Both of Friday’s opponents reside in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. McPherson fell to 4-9 after the afternoon defeat. Sterling is now 5-13 overall.
The Bulldogs will play three times on Saturday as part of the Sterling College tournament. Concordia will take on No. 24 Friends University at 11 a.m. and again at 5 p.m. LaVelle’s club will close the day with Bethany University at 7 p.m. In the Bulldogs first game this season against a ranked opponent, they defeated No. 10 Olivet Nazarene University.