Softball notebook: Morose returns to home state for national tournament

Softball notebook: Morose returns to home state for national tournament

Game Info

(4) Concordia vs. (1) St. Gregory’s
Monday, May 12 | 5 p.m.
Shawnee, Kan. | Firelake Ballfields
Live webcastStretch Internet
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.

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

SHAWNEE, Okla. – As the only Sooner State native on the Concordia softball roster, senior second baseman Shelby Morose will be close to home on Monday when the Bulldogs play their first-ever national tournament game. Several family members, including parents Jack and Angie, will head southwest to Shawnee, a two-hour drive from Morose’s hometown of Claremore.

“It’s really exciting because a lot of my family hasn’t gotten to see me play in my four years,” Morose said during Sunday’s practice in Shawnee. “They’re all going to make the trip down. It’s going to be nice.”

Concordia began its 2013 season in Shawnee, but Morose missed those contests because of injury. Now healthy and eager, she has one more chance to play in a state she’s proud to tell her teammates about.

“When we came in I was like, ‘we’re in the motherland – home of the free, home of the brave,’” Morose said. “I love Oklahoma. It’s great. Oklahoma’s so beautiful. We have something special that a lot of states don’t have.”

Morose and company know they will need to be on their game on Monday against a powerful St. Gregory’s squad that won the Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season title. The Cavaliers are ranked sixth nationally and are the favorite to come out of their own bracket and advance to the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series.

Not many expect the Bulldogs to win. That was also the case when Concordia knocked off then No. 10 Olivet Nazarene (also a national tournament qualifier) to begin this season.

“I think we play best when we play against top teams,” Morose said. “Going back to Arizona when we played Olivet, they’re No. 10 and we just hit so well. I just think we do well against good teams.

“We played (St. Gregory’s) down here last year and they kind of took us to town, so we’re ready for some payback.”

Tyree named Champions of Character honoree: Each of the four teams competing in the St. Gregory’s Bracket of the opening round had one of its student-athletes recognized as a Champions of Character honoree. Sophomore Julia Tyree received the award for Concordia at Sunday night’s banquet held on the St. Gregory’s University campus. Tyree is one of 13 student-athletes nationwide participating in the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. She is a pre-medicine student and native of Benicia, Calif.

Bulldogs arrive in Shawnee on Sunday afternoon: The team boarded a Windstar bus and departed from Seward at approximately 5 a.m. on Sunday, well ahead of the severe storms that raged throughout Seward County in the evening. The Bulldogs viewed the movies Pitch Perfect and Frozen on a journey that lasted roughly eight hours with stops included.

All four teams participating in the St. Gregory’s Bracket attended a banquet at 4:30 p.m. on the campus of St. Gregory’s University. Players, coaches and support staff were treated to spaghetti and meat balls. Dr. Jim Poteet, a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, served as the guest speaker.

At 7:30 p.m., Concordia began an hour-and-a-half practice at the Ballfields at Firelake, site of all tournament games in the bracket. The session consisted of short infield and outfield warm-up drills, situational defensive practice and some light hitting.

Slowing down Yousey: Concordia hopes to find a way to keep St. Gregory’s star center fielder Randi Yousey off the base paths, something few teams have done this season. Yousey earned Sooner Athletic Conference player of the year honors. She brings a .538 batting average and .571 on-base percentage into the national tournament.

11 May 2014

Senior second baseman Shelby Morose

Sophomore Julia Tyree (far right) was selected as Concordia's NAIA Champions of Character honoree at Sunday's banquet at St. Gregory's University.