PREVIEW: Bulldog softball set to make history on Monday

PREVIEW: Bulldog softball set to make history on Monday

St. Gregory’s Bracket central | Full opening round schedule

SEWARD, Neb. – Concordia University softball will make history on Monday as it appears at the NAIA national championships for the first time in more than 40 years of the program’s existence. Head coach Todd LaVelle’s fourth-seeded Bulldogs will play the second game of the St. Gregory’s Bracket. Concordia takes on top-seeded and sixth-ranked St. Gregory’s at Firelake Ballfields in Shawnee, Kan., at 5 p.m. on Monday.

Game Info
(4) Concordia vs. (1) St. Gregory’s
Monday, May 12 | 5 p.m.
Shawnee, Kan. | Firelake Ballfields
Live webcast: Stretch Internet
Live stats: Dakstats.com
Tickets: Single-session adult tickets are $8. Single-session student tickets (ages 18 and under) are $5. Tickets are available for purchase on site only.

Statistical Breakdown

Concordia   St. Gregory's
32-14 (40th) Record 48-9 (9th)
5.54 (64th) Runs/Gm 7.95 (3rd)
0.310 (68th) BA 0.373 (6th)
0.367 OBP 0.415
0.394 (124th) SLG 0.539 (10th)
69 (47th) SB 70 (46th)
7 (170th) HR 33 (41st)
3.21 (72nd) ERA 1.99 (20th)
0.272 (79th) OPP BA 0.238 (34th)
225 (60th) K's 233 (50th)
0.953 (62nd) Fielding % 0.960 (22nd)


Individual statistical leaders

Concordia
Batting average: Brittany Hudler (.340)
On-base percentage: Brittany Hudler (.417)
Slugging percentage: Julia Tyree (.493)
Home runs: Palmer Bosanko / Brittany Hudler / Julia Tyree (2)
Doubles: Julia Tyree (13)
RBIs: Julia Tyree (38)
Runs: Diana Mendoza (35)
Wins: Amanda Beeson (19-9)
ERA: Amanda Beeson (2.53)
Innings: Amanda Beeson (188.1)
Strikeouts: Amanda Beeson (182)

St. Gregory’s
Batting average: Randi Yousey (.538)
On-base percentage: Randi Yousey (.571)
Slugging percentage: Randi Yousey (.633)
Home runs: Brooklyn Sparks (8)
Doubles: Whitney Anderson (16)
RBIs: Brooklyn Sparks (65)
Runs: Randi Yousey (65)
Wins: Devon Frazier (18-1)
ERA: Devon Frazier (1.93)
Innings: Devon Frazier (137.2)
Strikeouts: Devon Frazier (112) 

National Tournament Notes

  • The program will be making its first-ever appearance at the national championships when the grand event gets underway (May 12-14). The NAIA is now in the second year of the new set up that includes 10 opening round sites leading up to the NAIA Softball World Series. Under the previous system, Concordia made it to six-straight NAIA regional tournaments between 2003 and 2008. Each time the Bulldogs fell short of the national championships.
    • 2008: 0-2 at NAIA Region III Tournament
    • 2007: 0-2 at NAIA Region III Tournament
    • 2006: 0-2 at NAIA Region III Tournament
    • 2005: 2-2 at NAIA Region IV Tournament
    • 2004: 2-2 at NAIA Region IV Tournament
    • 2003: 1-2 at NAIA Region IV Tournament
  • Of the teams that have qualified for the national championship opening round, Concordia has played three: Bellevue (35-15), Morningside (30-12) and Olivet Nazarene (46-3-1). The Bulldogs own one victory over all three teams. They split a doubleheader at Bellevue on April 1, went 1-3 against Morningside and upset then No. 10 Olivet Nazarene, 5-1, in a single game in Tucson, Ariz., on March 10.
  • At 32-14 overall, the 2014 Bulldogs own the fourth-highest win total in program history. The team’s winning percentage of .696 ranks third on the school’s all-time list. Here are the top 10-winningest seasons in program history in terms of overall victories:
    • 1. 2005 – 36-19 (.654)
    • 2. 2003 – 34-16 (.680)
    • 3. 1998 – 33-10 (.767)
    • 4. 2014 – 32-14 (.696)
    • 5. 2008 – 31-11 (.738)
    • 6. 1997 – 29-22 (.569)
    • 7. 2011 – 27-17 (.614)
    • 7. 1996 – 27-20 (.574)
    • 9. 2007 – 26-23 (.531)
    • 9. 2006 – 26-20 (.565)
  • Concordia is one of seven GPAC teams that increased its overall win total in 2014 as compared to 2013. On the heels of a 14-25 campaign last year, the Bulldogs underwent one of the biggest turnarounds in the NAIA and will enter nationals with a mark of 32-14. Concordia’s 18-win increase is six better than Dakota Wesleyan’s 12-victory improvement. Other conference teams to bump up their win totals included Doane (+11), Dordt (+10), Briar Cliff (+7), Northwestern (+5) and Mount Marty (+2).
  • Two additional Concordias qualified for the national championship opening round. Concordia Irvine and Concordia-Portland will both play in the “Concordia Bracket” in Irvine, Calif.

Scouting St. Gregory’s
Second-year head coach D.J. Sanchez’s club captured the Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season title behind conference player of the year Randi Yousey and freshman of the year Brooklyn Sparks. There are virtually no weaknesses on a Cavalier squad that ranked ninth nationally in winning percentage and sits at No. 6 in the NAIA coaches’ poll. St. Gregory’s is battle tested having won six of 10 contests this season against ranked opponents, including a doubleheader sweep of then No. 2 Oklahoma City on March 25. The powerful Cavaliers have scored the third most runs in the NAIA and sport the 20th best ERA in the nation.

Outlook
As the fourth seed, Concordia enters the tournament as decided underdog in a bracket that includes No. 6 St. Gregory’s (48-9), No. 15 Belhaven University (41-15) and in-state rival Bellevue University (35-15; receiving votes in the national poll). The Bulldogs will have to pull an upset to earn their first-ever national tournament victory. Then again, few would have expected Concordia to win five-straight elimination games at the GPAC tournament. LaVelle’s bunch will arrive in Shawnee with momentum and a nothing-to-lose type of attitude.

“We’re going to go down there and we’re going to compete,” LaVelle said. “It’s not a vacation. It’s an extension of our season and our postseason. We want to keep going. The sky’s the limit for this group. You saw that in the GPAC tournament.”

Concordia and St. Gregory’s met in last year’s season opener. The Cavaliers won 12-0 in a game played in Shawnee.

Potential second-day matchups
All teams are guaranteed at least two games as part of the double-elimination format. That means Concordia will get either second-seeded Belhaven or third-seeded Bellevue on Tuesday. Concordia and Bellevue are extremely familiar having split a doubleheader in Omaha earlier this season. On the other hand, Belhaven is an at-large qualifier out of a Southern States Athletic Conference that led all NAIA leagues with four national tournament teams.

2014 NAIA Softball World Series
The winners from each of the 10 opening round sites advance to the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series, May 23-29, at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus, Ga. For more information on the softball national championships, click HERE.

10 May 2014

KLKN-TV covered Concordia softball practice on Friday. Amanda Beeson (top), Amber Topil (bottom) and head coach Todd LaVelle all took turns in front of the camera. Watch the TV story via the embedded video above.