SEWARD, Neb. – The bracket is set. The Concordia University Softball team will be the No. 7 seed in the 2022 GPAC tournament that features double-elimination pod play this Wednesday and Thursday. The Bulldogs will be headed to Orange City, Iowa, as one of four teams in the Northwestern Bracket. As the top two seeds in the GPAC, Midland and Northwestern are the host sites for pod play. Head Coach Tatum Edwards’ squad concluded the regular season at 22-22 overall (10-12 GPAC). Concordia will take on the host Red Raiders at 12 p.m. CT on Wednesday in the opening game of the bracket.
2022 GPAC Tournament – Northwestern Bracket
Wednesday, May 4
Game 1 – (2) Northwestern vs. (7) Concordia, 12 p.m.
Game 2 – (3) Mount Marty vs. (6) College of Saint Mary, 2 p.m.
Game 3 – Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner, 4 p.m.
Game 4 – Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser, 6 p.m.
Friday, May 6
Game 5 – Game 4 Winner vs. Game 3 Loser, 12 p.m.
Game 6 – Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 2 p.m.
Game 7 – Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser, 4 p.m. (if necessary)
Admission: Admission is $10 for adults/senior citizens and $3 for K-12. Only those with NAIA passes and GPAC student ID’s will be admitted free of charge.
By the numbers
· As a program, Concordia has qualified for the GPAC tournament in 20 out of a possible 21 years (the first season of GPAC softball was 2001). The only season the Bulldogs missed out on conference postseason play was 2013. Since then, Concordia has enjoyed its share of success in the GPAC tournament. The Bulldogs celebrated a GPAC tournament title in 2015 and placed as the runner up in 2014 and 2021. Each of those postseason runs resulted in appearances in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. The ’21 squad emerged as the champion of the Morningside Bracket pod and reached the GPAC Championship Series.
· It’s been a bit of an up and down 2022 season for Concordia, which tied for sixth in the GPAC regular season standings. Splits were common as the Bulldogs split GPAC doubleheaders with Dordt, Northwestern, College of Saint Mary, Jamestown, Dakota Wesleyan and Hastings. Concordia swept twin bills from Doane and Briar Cliff and got swept by Midland, Morningside and Mount Marty. During conference play, the Bulldogs once won four in a row but never lost more than three in a row. In GPAC games, Concordia scored 104 runs and allowed 96.
· As one of the GPAC’s top hitters and pitchers, Camry Moore figures to be a strong candidate once again to be named First Team All-GPAC. On the season, Moore is hitting .435 (60-for-138) with 10 doubles, three triples, one home run and 39 RBIs – to go along with a .487 on-base percentage and .572 slugging percentage. As a pitcher, Moore is 13-10 with a 1.73 ERA, 117 strikeouts and only eight walks in 137.1 innings. Following last week’s action, Moore owns school all-time offensive rankings of third in RBIs (124), fifth in runs scored (121), sixth in batting average (.388), seventh in home runs (15), ninth in hits (170) and 10th in doubles (32). As a pitcher, Moore’s program career rankings are second in ERA (2.00), third in wins (52), sixth in strikeouts (338) and sixth in innings pitched (482).
· Outfielder Caitlyn McGarvie stayed white hot last week, going 5-for-7 with three runs scored, two walks, a hit-by-pitch and a double in the twin bill at Hastings on April 26. The Lincoln North Star High School alum has collected at least one hit in 12 of the past 13 games. Since April 5, McGarvie has hit .465 (20-for-43) with 12 runs, four walks, four doubles, six stolen bases and four RBIs. That stretch has raised her season batting average to .383 (second on the team). McGarvie paces Concordia with 14 stolen bases. She also leads the team with eight successful sacrifice bunts.
· The dates May 5-6, 2021, offered some of the most thrilling moments in Concordia Softball history. Over those two days, the Bulldogs went 3-0 in GPAC tournament play at the Morningside bracket. Two of the wins came over Morningside, 9-3 and 4-0, which was ranked 13th in the NAIA at the time. In the first win over Morningside, Moore threw a seven-inning complete game, picked up the win and belted two home runs. The next day, Moore shut the Mustangs out on just two hits in what goes down as a legendary effort in Concordia Softball lore. The second win at Morningside pushed the Bulldogs into the GPAC Championship Series and clinched a national tournament berth.
· In conference games only, Concordia sports GPAC rankings of fifth in runs scored (104), fifth in earned run average (3.15), sixth in on-base percentage (.326), seventh in batting average (.274), eighth in slugging percentage (.366) and ninth in fielding percentage (.943). The Bulldogs also ranked fifth in the GPAC in sacrifice bunts with 14 and struck out the third fewest times at the plate (82). In other words, Concordia has been more of a small-ball team offensively. In GPAC games only, Moore has recorded a 1.51 ERA.
Northwestern Bracket opponents
(2) Northwestern (36-9-1, 15-6-1 GPAC) – The Red Raiders moved up to the No. 2 spot in the GPAC standings while going 6-0-1 over their final seven conference regular season games. Head Coach Shane Bouman’s squad has showcased a strong offensive/defensive balance. Within league games, Northwestern ranked fourth in runs scored (122) and fourth in earned run average (2.76). The Red Raiders boast two of the GPAC’s top five hitters in terms of batting average in Bri Giordano (.460) and Jennifer Boeve (.414). Northwestern is also home to two of the GPAC’s three winningest pitchers in Kameryn Etherington (19 wins) and Kate Kralik (17 wins).
(3) Mount Marty (27-13, 15-7 GPAC) – The Lancers just missed out on a chance to host their own pod when they dropped a 5-3 decision to Briar Cliff in their regular season finale. Despite that defeat, Mount Marty has set new school records for overall wins and GPAC wins in a single season. GPAC Player of the Year candidate Elliot Burns paces the conference in batting average (.533), home runs (16) and RBIs (58). In league games only, the Lancers ranked second in the GPAC in runs scored (129) while leading the conference in slugging percentage (.510). Head Coach Cynthia Chavez is in her first season at the helm of the program.
(6) College of Saint Mary (14-26, 10-12 GPAC) – The Flames stood at 3-14 overall in the middle of the season before picking up their play in GPAC action. CSM finished in a tie for sixth place in the GPAC standings despite a minus-33 run differential in league play. Head Coach Carolyn Todd Bray’s squad boasts a couple of strong power hitters in Macy Homes (10 HR, .661 SLG) and Maddie Nekola (8 HR, .578 SLG). In the circle, Emma Schnell has shouldered the lion’s share of the innings. She owns a 3.70 ERA and 9-15 record in 149.1 innings.
GPAC Championship Series
The winners of the Midland and Northwestern Brackets will meet in the GPAC Championship Series on Saturday (hosted by the highest remaining seed). It will a best of three series with game one beginning at a time to be determined. As the GPAC regular season champion, Midland has earned one of the league’s two automatic berths to nationals. The GPAC tournament champion will also receive a bid. Should Midland win the conference tournament, the second nationals bid would go to the GPAC tournament runner up.