YANKTON, S.D. – NiCole Dobernecker homered and Leah Kalkwarf rapped out a pair of hits as part of the Concordia University softball team’s game 1 victory at Mount Marty on Saturday afternoon. The Lancers then exploded in the fourth and fifth innings of game 2 to salvage a split with the Bulldogs. Concordia won the opener, 5-3, then fell, 13-3, in five frames in the second contest.
A sweep would have placed third-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad into sole possession of fourth place. Instead, Concordia is tied with both Dordt and Midland for fourth with an 8-8 league mark. The Bulldogs are 27-14 overall.
“We’re going to try to continue to improve each and every time we take the field,” LaVelle said. “We want to try to enjoy these last two weeks. I just feel like the girls are playing with a lot of pressure right now. We’re not going to dwell on the loss. We’re just going to move forward. I have faith in the girls. There are better times ahead.”
Concordia got off to a rousing start thanks to an RBI double from Autumn Owens and RBI single by Kalkwarf in the top of the first of game 1. The Bulldogs never trailed in the contest though Mount Marty made it a 3-2 ballgame with a pair of fourth-inning tallies. Dobernecker responded by homering to lead off the fifth. The Bulldogs got another insurance run via Bri Liebelt’s run-scoring fielder’s choice in the seventh.
Starting pitcher Michaela Woodward went five innings and picked up the win. She gave way to Kylie Harpst after allowing a leadoff single in the sixth. Harpst earned the save by firing two scoreless innings. However, Mount Marty ripped Harpst for 10 runs over four innings in game 2. The second game ended in the fifth when Jennifer Mitera cracked a grand slam off Harpst to enact the run rule.
A first team all-conference selection in 2015, senior Julia Tyree did not play on Saturday due to injury. Maddie Fousek and Woodward shared first base duties on Saturday. With players shuffled around, junior Taylor Huff played shortstop and Diana Mendoza played catcher. Jamie Lefebure also sat out.
The Bulldogs return to Plum Creek Park on Monday to host Midland (20-23, 8-8 GPAC) in a doubleheader that was originally scheduled for April 19. Monday’s action is slated to get started at 5 p.m. Concordia is 5-3 at home in 2016.