Bulldogs notch program's first-ever national tourney win; eliminated from postseason

By Jacob Knabel on May. 12, 2015 in Softball

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Tuesday turned into a historic day for Concordia University softball as the program recorded its first-ever national tournament victory. Facing an elimination game, the Bulldogs knocked off Grand View University (Iowa), 6-4, in their school’s fourth game over the past two years in the opening round. Then in a rematch with No. 1-ranked Oklahoma City, the host Stars won 9-2.

Head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad ends the 2015 campaign with an overall record of 29-23. That victory total ties for the sixth most in a single-season in program history. LaVelle hopes the national tournament win provides a springboard for future success on the grand stage.

“We’re extremely proud of these girls, not just for what they did today but for what they did all season,” LaVelle said. “At the end of the year you wrap up the whole season and there were so many things that these girls did well that propelled them to here on the national stage. We talked about it a year ago that just getting here wasn’t good enough.”

Concordia built a 5-0 advantage despite leaving eight runners on base through the game’s first four frames. After Grand View (33-13) scored four-straight runs to make it a tight game, Becca Walker squeezed home a seventh-inning run and starting pitcher Michaela Woodward shut the door in the bottom half. The Bulldogs then celebrated their first national tournament victory.

After seeing its ace pitcher knocked out of the tournament via a line drive off the face on Monday, Grand View fell behind in the top of the first and trailed the rest of the way. Both Woodward and Molly Madsen drove in a run apiece with RBI singles. Sophomore Diana Mendoza, Madsen and Woodward each collected two hits in the win.

Mendoza, the Bulldog left fielder, continued her great work in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. She went 5-for-11 for the tournament with two hits apiece in the first two games of the event.

“It’s great being part of it – first time in school history,” Mendoza said of Tuesday’s win. “I was shaking the whole time, but it just pumps me up that I was part of it.”

The top-ranked Stars (54-5) picked up where they left off Monday when they pounded Concordia by a 13-0 score. In the opening frame of Tuesday’s elimination game, Oklahoma City rocked Woodward for six runs on six hits.

Behind reliever Jordana Goncalves, the Bulldogs settled in after the rough first inning. The powerful Stars, eight-time national champs in school history, went scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Concordia managed to allow just five earned runs on 11 hits over seven innings.

Concordia got its only two runs in the loss on Mendoza’s two-run single up the middle. After recording eight hits versus Grand View, the Bulldogs rapped out six hits against Oklahoma City.

The 2016 Bulldog squad will move on without five departing seniors, including starters in first baseman Molly Madsen and shortstop Becca Walker. Both played their final games as Bulldogs on Tuesday. Madsen was a three-time all-conference honoree during her four-year career.

“For the five seniors this is the last hurrah,” LaVelle said. “But you know what, what a way to go out. They went out fighters and they went out winners. It’s a great thing and a great building block for the future of Concordia softball.”

The Oklahoma City bracket will come down to the Stars and No. 17 Concordia-Oregon. The Cavaliers sit in the driver’s seat after upsetting Oklahoma City, 3-1, in Tuesday’s opening game.