Concordia welcomes Kansas Wesleyan in week's only action

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 12, 2017 in Softball

SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University softball team will have had a rare April stretch of four-straight days without a game by the time it welcomes Kansas Wesleyan University for Thursday’s nonconference doubleheader. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. CT from Plum Creek Park in Seward. The two sides last met on March 3, 2015. Thursday’s games will be carried live by the Concordia Sports Network.

Fourth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad has won three games in a row and 11 of its last 14. The Bulldogs (24-10, 8-4 GPAC) are part of the logjam that sits near the top of the conference standings. Concordia is one of four teams tied for second place and just a single game behind first place Morningside (8-2 GPAC). Only eight games remain on the conference schedule.

In their most recent action, the Bulldogs took care of Dakota Wesleyan, winning both ends of a doubleheader in Mitchell, S.D., 4-1 and 12-7. Sophomore second baseman Leah Kalkwarf has been the team’s hottest hitter. She went 4-for-8 with two doubles in the sweep at Dakota Wesleyan. Over the past six games, Kalkwarf went 10-for-22 (.455) with six runs, four doubles, one triple and seven RBIs. Named Bulldog Athletic Association Female Athlete of the Week, Kalkwarf has raised her season average to .321.

The team’s most reliable source of power, catcher/third baseman Autumn Owens is closing in on her own single-season home run record of nine long balls, which she shares with former GPAC player of the year Clarissa Eloge. Owens is batting .343 with seven home runs, 31 RBIs and a team best .630 slugging percentage. Owens has belted 20 home runs in 334 career at bats as a Bulldog.

Concordia is hoping for the healthy return of Kylie Harpst, who missed much of last week’s action with an injury. With Harpst sidelined, Michaela Woodward has shouldered most of the load in the circle. Over the last two doubleheaders, Woodward has fired 27.2 innings, allowing 15 earned runs. She is a two-time GPAC pitcher of the week this season.

Kansas Wesleyan (24-9, 10-2 KCAC) owns a record nearly identical to the mark held by the Bulldogs. The Coyotes are coming off a 36-18 season in 2016. They currently reside in first place in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. Kansas Wesleyan leans upon the bat of Autumn Gillespie (.438 BA, 5 HR, 24 RBI) and the arm of Jordyn Parsons (15-4, 1.61 ERA).

The Bulldogs are slated to get back to conference play next Tuesday (April 18) at Midland. They are also scheduled to host Mount Marty on Saturday, April 22.