Bulldogs split first road doubleheader of 2016

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 16, 2016 in Softball

LINDSBORG, Kan. – After junior Kylie Harpst delivered a game-winning two-run triple in game 1, the Concordia University softball team fell just short of a doubleheader sweep in its first action since a successful spring break run at the Tucson Invitational. In Wednesday’s twin bill at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., the Bulldogs triumphed 6-4 prior to a 4-2 loss to conclude the evening.

Third-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad had won 10 of 11 games entering the nonconference doubleheader. Concordia now stands at 13-4 overall.

“We played a good offensive team tonight. They really made us work for our outs,” LaVelle said. “We played solid defense. In that second game we just couldn’t get anything going and were swinging at some bad pitches. We left some pitches up and they took advantage. It was a small ballpark. They’re used to it. I think that was part of our impatience. We were trying to hit home runs instead of doing our job.”

Wednesday’s opening contest moved to the seventh tied at 4-4 after the host Swedes rallied back from a 4-1 deficit against Harpst, who made her ninth start of the season in the circle. The Lincoln North Star High School product then served her own cause by drilling a two-run triple into the left center gap, allowing Jamie Lefebure and Leah Kalkwarf to score the go-ahead runs.

Hapst, a transfer from Pittsburg State, fired her fourth complete game of the season, scattering seven hits and a walk. She shut the door in the bottom of the seventh by working around a two-out single before a pop out to short ended the game. At the plate, Harpst went 2-for-5 and recorded her eighth multi-hit game of the year.

Early on it appeared Concordia would continue the torrid offensive pace it displayed in Arizona. With the bases loaded and no one out in the top of the first of game 1, catcher Taylor Huff lined into a double play. The Bulldogs recovered nicely thanks to Michaela Woodward’s two-run single and GPAC player of the week Autumn Owen’s RBI double. Harpst, Kalkwarf (2-for-3), Lefebure (2-for-3), Diana Mendoza (2-for-3) and Woodward (2-for-4) all registered two hits apiece, but the Bulldogs left 10 runners on base in game 1.

Meanwhile, the Swedes (9-17) got most of their runs via the long ball. Shortstop Ashley Montoya cracked a two-run homer in both ends of the doubleheader. Designated player Anna Crawford surfaced with the game-winning, two-run homer off of Woodward in the bottom of the sixth in game 2. Concordia went down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh as Tiffany Dennison polished off a seven-inning, four-hit gem for Bethany.

Having been a national tournament qualifier two-years running, the Bulldogs are taken lightly by no one. Part of this team’s development centers around handling the target.

“We’re getting everyone’s best shot,” LaVelle said. “You can see it in the way the team’s that have beaten us have celebrated. We have to be able to bring our ‘A’ game every time we play. It’s part of the learning process. This was our first doubleheader of the season. We’ve been playing in tournaments until tonight.”

The Bulldogs now break for more than a week before opening up GPAC play next Thursday (March 24) at Northwestern (6-9). First pitch from Orange City, Iowa, is set for 4 p.m. The Red Raiders were picked by league coaches to finish fourth in the GPAC, one spot ahead of Concordia’s preseason placement.