LINCOLN, Neb. – It’s been a busy start to the week for the Concordia University softball team, which made its first home appearance of the 2018 season on Tuesday. The result was a doubleheader split with the University of Saint Mary (Kan.). The Bulldogs also split a twin bill in Lincoln on Wednesday night (March 14). Concordia regrouped from an 8-0, five-inning loss to Nebraska Wesleyan by topping the Prairie Wolves, 8-5, in the night cap.
Fifth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad will enter the first weekend of conference play at 11-9 overall.
“That first game was not how Concordia plays softball,” LaVelle said. “We’re in a grind here coming off the road trip in Tucson, but we expect more out of the girls when we take the field. I was very encouraged. We had some girls step up in the huddle in between games and speak up. I loved how we came out and jumped out to a lead and kept adding on.”
LaVelle also liked what he saw from freshman pitcher Grace Bernhardt, who tossed 6.1 innings in a winning effort in Wednesday’s second game. Nebraska Wesleyan (11-7) made some noise in that final inning, but Brittany Woolridge recorded the final two outs to stamp out the fire.
At the plate, freshman outfielder Mackinsey Schmidt went 2-for-2 with a triple and a sacrifice bunt while spurring the victory. Additionally, LaVelle lauded shortstop Jamie Lefebure, who enjoyed a 3-for-4 second game that included some highlight reel worthy glove work in the field. Hhana Haro also went 2-for-3 with a run. The likes of Lefebure and Schmidt forced the Prairie Wolves to burn through three pitchers during a six-run fifth inning.
That offensive surge came after Concordia managed only four hits while being shut out in game one. The Prairie Wolves enacted the eight-run rule with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Katie Stanzel wore out Bulldog pitcher Baily Clear. Stanzel went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and Danelle Snyder homered for the Prairie Wolves.
A chance at sweep slipped through the Bulldogs’ fingers on Tuesday. They knocked off the Spires, 11-5, in game one before letting a 5-1 lead get away in an 8-7, eight-inning loss in game two. Leah Kalkwarf went 4-for-7 with four RBIs in the twin bill. Lefebure put together a 3-for-4, three-RBI effort in game two. Bernhardt picked up a win, going all seven innings in the opener.
The start of conference play looms on Saturday when the Bulldogs are scheduled to be in Orange City, Iowa, for a doubleheader at Northwestern (11-4). First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT. The Red Raiders received votes in the national poll released this week. They got a signature win in Tucson, toppling No. 11 University of St. Francis (Ill.), 10-6.