Bats stifled as Bulldogs swept by Broncos

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 1, 2023 in Softball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University Softball team happens to have many of its top hitters battling through slumps at the same time. Hastings pitchers Kyleigh Boever and Sophia Haverkamp took advantage on a sun-soaked Saturday (April 1) afternoon at Plum Creek Park in leading the visiting Broncos to a doubleheader sweep by scores of 4-2 and 8-2. Concordia let a late lead slip away in game one and struggled to capitalize when it did have scoring chances offensively.

Head Coach Brock Culler’s squad has started out 1-5 in conference play (12-17 overall). The culprit in many of those losses has been an inability to get the clutch hits with runners on base.

“We talked about how we’re doing enough to win with our pitching and defense,” Culler said. “We’re just in a hitting slump. We have to be really careful right now because it’s kind of thin ice. We can tilt this way and let it keep going that direction, or we can settle down and trust that we’re good. We really do have some good hitters who are just in a slump. We’re going to trust that we’ll bust out of it. I feel like we’re playing well – we’re just not hitting.”

Of course, some credit is certainly due to Hastings (11-13, 5-1 GPAC) for the way that it limited the Bulldog bats. In game one on Saturday, Concordia nearly made three hits stand up as it took a 2-1 lead to the seventh inning. In another strong performance in the circle, Megan Eurich couldn’t quite seal the deal. Sydney Schelkopf doubled in the go-ahead run and Macie Mays singled in an insurance tally. Boever then nailed down the final three outs in the bottom half to close out a come-from-behind win for the visitors.

The second game got away from the Bulldogs thanks to the Broncos tacking on two runs in the fifth and four in the seventh. Those tallies broke what had been a 2-2 tie after four innings. Gretna, Neb., native Jerzi Rowe came through with a two-out, two-run single in the third. That would be it for Concordia’s run production as Haverkamp stymied the opposition the rest of the way. Haverkamp followed Boever’s seven-inning complete game with one of her own.

Eurich pitched all seven innings of game one for the Bulldogs and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk (six strikeouts). Then in game two, Rowe, Brooke Townsend and Jessie Bestenlehner all made appearances in the circle. Hastings collected 13 hits in game two – two doubles and 11 singles. Hanna Bowers produced one hit in both games for the home team.

Concordia is 1-5 in its first six home games. The bats have been cold at Plum Creek Park. The goal is to warm things up in a hurry with two of the league’s highest rated teams set to visit town next weekend.

Said Culler, “I think it’s a good thing to have that kind of challenge. We have two good teams coming in and we have to be on top of our game. When we’ve gotten a couple hits, the stop sign has come up. We have to stay calm and know that we’re going to find a way out of this. When we do, we’re going to be fine.”

The Bulldogs will now be idle until an Easter weekend home bonanza that will feature GPAC doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday (April 7-8). On the first of those two days, Concordia will welcome defending GPAC champion Midland (17-6, 2-0 GPAC) to Plum Creek Park for a 1 p.m. CT twin bill. The two programs faced off in the 2021 GPAC Championship Series.