SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – An ace-off between Megan Eurich and Abby Kraemer made for compelling drama in game one of Saturday (April 29)’s doubleheader at Dordt. The complete game effort from Eurich and a three-run homer from Alexis Tachovsky were highlights of what was ultimately the final day of the 2023 season for the Concordia University Softball team. The Bulldogs fell in Sioux Center, Iowa, by scores of 2-1 and 13-5 (five innings).
Head Coach Brock Culler’s squad wrapped up 2023 at 15-30 overall (4-18 GPAC). Concordia placed outside of the top eight in the GPAC, meaning it missed out on qualifying for the conference tournament.
“What was most encouraging is we were excited to play today even though we knew this was the end of our season,” Culler said. “We went out and competed hard. That first game was one of the more well-played softball games I’ve seen us play. It was fun to watch Megs (Megan Eurich) throw the way she did and to see Alexis (Tachovsky) hit a home run – she crushed that ball. The next step going forward is to be able to beat good teams like Dordt.”
Through the first three innings of game one, Eurich matched Kraemer (19-5 record) zero for zero. Both teams got on the board in the fourth when Julia Van Wey doubled in a Bulldog run and Ella Koster homered for the Defenders (35-11, 16-6 GPAC). It was a 1-1 deadlock until the bottom of the seventh. With the bases full, Eurich recorded the second out of the inning on a strikeout. Aurora Tyson followed with a walk-off RBI single to set off a celebration in the home dugout.
Game two got away from Concordia as Dordt piled up four runs in the second, five in the third and fourth in the fourth. The offensive response was impressive from the Defenders, who shook off a 3-0 deficit that came from Tachovsky’s three-run homer in the second. The Bulldogs did manage to retake the lead in the third thanks to a run created on the basepaths and then a Taylor Glause RBI single. However, the 5-4 Concordia lead eventually transformed into a run-rule win for the Defenders.
Bulldog sophomore outfielder Aubrey Bruning went 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base in game one. Meanwhile, Bowers posted one hit in both ends of the twin bill. Eurich fired a complete game (6.2 innings) in the first contest and held Dordt to two runs on eight hits and a walk. The Gretna, Neb., native racked up nine strikeouts and went past 100 punchouts for the season. In game two, Jerzi Rowe, Brooke Townsend and Jessie Bestenlehner shared the pitching duties.
This was the swan song for seniors such as Caitlyn McGarvie, Rowe and Tachovsky. McGarvie is a two-time First Team All-GPAC award winner and each of the seniors helped the 2021 team reach the national tournament.
Though the results weren’t what the Bulldogs hoped for in 2023, they will look ahead to 2024 with anticipation. Culler is still working on putting the finishing touches on what is shaping up to be an excellent recruiting class (one that features one of the top prep shortstops in the state of Nebraska). Concordia will also build around the likes of Hanna Bowers, Aubrey Bruning, Megan Eurich and Kylie Shottenkirk, all sophomores in ’23.
Said Culler, “We have a great group of players returning and a recruiting class coming in that will make a big impact for us. We’ll have individual meetings next week and really start laying out what next season will look like. We’re sad to see our seniors go, but I’m proud of how they invested in this season and this program. I am confident we have a bright future ahead.”