SEWARD, Neb. – As long as the weather allows, the Concordia University softball team will be in action Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. The Bulldogs are slated to host Briar Cliff today (April 9) and also welcome Dakota Wesleyan to Plum Creek Park on Saturday. Fifth-year head coach Todd LaVelle hopes his squad has found a groove after last week’s doubleheader sweep of Hastings.
This week’s schedule
Monday, April 9 vs. Briar Cliff, 5 p.m. (DH)
Tuesday, April 10 at Morningside, 3 p.m. (DH)
Thursday, April 12 at Doane, 2 p.m. (completion of suspended game)
Saturday, April 14 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m. (DH)
LaVelle’s pitching staff took a positive step forward last week in limiting the Broncos to a combined three runs in the twin bill. In game one, junior Brittany Woolridge recorded her first shutout since becoming a Bulldog this season. She allowed five hits and only one walk while striking out five. In the second game, freshman Grace Bernhardt covered six innings in a 7-3 victory. Concordia hopes to continue to improve upon its 5.80 team ERA that ranks eighth among GPAC teams.
The strength of the Bulldogs for most of 2018 has been its offensive attack, which ranks 20th nationally in runs per game (6.9). Freshman Hhana Haro tops the GPAC with a .532 batting average. She cranked out three hits, including two doubles, in last week’s game two victory over Hastings. At the top of the lineup, outfielder Mackinsey Schmidt has been red hot. During her active six-game hitting streak, Schmidt has gone 11-for-21 (.524) with six runs and five RBIs. She also made a highlight reel worthy diving catch in left in last week’s action.
Both teams scheduled to visit Plum Creek Park this week have struggled this season. Briar Cliff (4-17, 1-3 GPAC) and Dakota Wesleyan (5-17, 1-3 GPAC) have the lowest overall win percentages among GPAC teams. The Chargers are hitting just .250 as a team. However, they have solid pitchers in Summer Williams (2.70 ERA) and Isabella Gonzalez (3.96 ERA). While the results have not been stellar for the Tigers, they possess dangerous hitters in Sierra Haage (four home runs, 1.034 slugging percentage) and Amber Budmark (six home runs, .734 slugging percentage).
This week’s road foes appear to be teams capable of competing for the GPAC title. Morningside (15-8, 3-1 GPAC) is ranked 25th in the national poll. The Mustangs lean heavily upon workhorse pitcher Hallie Misiaszek, who is 10-3 with a 3.32 ERA over 71.2 innings. At the plate, they are hitting .305 and averaging 6.3 runs per game. On Thursday afternoon, Concordia and Doane will finish a game that had been suspended in the middle of the fifth back on March 22. The Bulldogs lead the game 11-6. Since then, the Tigers have gone 4-2 while up against GPAC opponents.
Next week will be lighter with games scheduled versus Midland (16-9, 3-1 GPAC) on April 17 and at Mount Marty (7-13, 3-3 GPAC) on April 21. Home varsity games can be streamed live via the Concordia Sports Network.