Behind three home runs, the Concordia University, Nebraska, softball team defeated Dordt College 8-3 in the opening round of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Tournament on Thursday, May 3.
The third seeded Bulldogs moved to 20-17 on the season with the win, while No. 6 seed, Dordt fell to 20-23. Concordia advanced to the winner’s bracket of the GPAC Tournament and will face the second seeded Doane Tigers at 4 p.m. Doane defeated Midland, 11-2, in their opening round contest.
Concordia flexed their muscles in the bottom of the second, scoring three runs on two home runs and a walk. Senior Alyssa Bauwens (Perryville, Mo.) jumped all over the first pitch in the home half of the second inning, launching her home run of the season over the left field fence to get the Bulldogs on the board. Two batters later, junior Nicole Mapes (Greeley, Colo.) showed she took copious notes on Bauwens’ effort, blasting the first pitch she saw over the center field fence. Freshman Molly Madsen (Thornton, Colo.) was along for the ride on Mapes’ blast after drawing a walk to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead. Bauwens’ blast was her team leading fifth of the year, while Mapes connected for her first home run of the season.
Staked to a three run lead, senior Nicole Sempek (Columbus, Neb.) settled into a groove in the third. After working out of jams in each of the first two innings, Sempek struck out the first two batters in the third. The final out of the third created some excitement as freshman Regan Doiel (Millard, Neb.) went toppling over the center field fence to snag a line drive off the bat of Ashton Beaird.
The ball continued to fly out of the park as Dordt’s Kacy Oberfoell connected for a solo blast to open the fourth to cut Concordia’s lead to 3-1.
Senior Mikaela Klein (Grand Island, Neb.) responded for the Bulldogs in the bottom half of the fourth with a three run blast. Bauwens opened the fourth with a walk, then Madsen reached on an error to put runners on the corners. Klein strode to the plate and tattooed the first pitch of her at-bat over the left field wall to make it 6-1. It was Klein’s first home run of the season.
Dordt clawed back to 6-3 with two runs in the fifth on a solo home run by Haley Huisman and a sacrifice fly. Leading 6-2 with only one out and the bases loaded, Sempek induced a weak fly out to right by Oberfoel and a line out to center by Megan Huizenga to preserve the 6-3 edge.
The Bulldogs added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth without the benefit of a hit.
Sempek moved to 14-7 after earning the victory, she allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks. The loss dropped Oberfoel to 10-10 as she allowed six runs (five earned) on three hits and two walks.