Concordia sweeps GPAC doubleheader in Mitchell

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 8, 2017 in Softball

MITCHELL, S.D. – Fresh off an exhilarating come-from-behind win over No. 10 Morningside, the Concordia University softball team hit the road for a clash with Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs effectively avenged last season’s meeting with the Tigers by earning a doubleheader sweep with wins by scores of 4-1 and 12-7.

Fourth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad has won 11 of its last 14 games and now stands at 24-10 overall and at 8-4 in league play.

“We did a great job of adapting to what was thrown at us in both games,” LaVelle said. “The pitcher in the first game really tried to keep us off balance. She had a good changeup so our girls had to adapt to hit that. I thought Michaela (Woodward) did a great job in the circle in the first game. The second game was a little different. I can’t say enough about Woodward for being a warrior and picking up the slack with Kylie’s (Harpst) injury. I think that attitude inspired the girls.”

Concordia never trailed at any point on Saturday. In game 1, the Bulldogs struck for an unearned run in the second inning and then got two more on RBI singles from Woodward and Taryn Thomas in the third. They got insurance when Thomas added another RBI single in the fifth.

It was a big day for the freshman from Overland Park, Kan. She went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in game 1 and then 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI in game 2 while holding down the cleanup spot in the lineup. Thomas helped spark a 16-hit performance by the Bulldogs in game 2. Thomas, Leah Kalkwarf (3-for-5) and Autumn Owens (3-for-3) all had three hits in the victory. Owens blasted her seventh home run of the season while leading off the third inning.

Dakota Wesleyan (12-25, 2-6 GPAC) shriveled Concordia’s lead from 8-5 to 8-7 in the late innings of game 2. The Bulldog bats then came alive again by putting up four runs in the top of the seventh. Thomas, Kalkwarf and Owens all had RBI hits as part of the outburst.

A year earlier, Concordia was beaten soundly by the Tigers in a doubleheader that took place in Seward. The memory of those lopsided defeats kept the Bulldogs from letting down after their dramatic win over Morningside two days before.

“These girls are resilient. They don’t look too far ahead either,” LaVelle said. “They were ready to play. We came up here last night and had a good trip. We don’t look too much at the records. They took two from us last year. There are no slouches in the GPAC right now. Everybody is beating up on everybody.”

With Harpst sidelined, Woodward threw all 14 innings in the circle. She limited Dakota Wesleyan to six hits and three walks in game 1. She scattered 11 hits in game 2 while eating up innings. Woodward improved her season record to 12-7.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to return to action on Thursday (April 13) when Kansas Wesleyan University (22-8) makes a visit to Plum Creek Park. First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 3 p.m. CT. The Coyotes are coming off a 36-18 season in 2016.