Pitching and defense carry the day in Texas

By Jacob Knabel on Feb. 12, 2017 in Softball

FORT WORTH, Texas – A fruitful opening weekend of the 2017 season was capped with two more wins for the Concordia University softball team, which took part in the Cowtown Classic in Fort Worth, Texas. In Saturday morning’s action, the Bulldogs got stellar pitching from Kylie Harpst and Michaela Woodward while defeating both Oklahoma Wesleyan University and William Penn University (Iowa) by identical 2-1 scores.

Fourth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad emerged from the weekend with a 4-1 record. Concordia also picked up victories over Bethel College (Kan.) and Sterling College (Kan.) on Friday.

“It was definitely a good first weekend,” LaVelle said. “We would have liked to have been 5-0, but they played hard and gave us a good measuring stick for the weeks to come. We had 11 one-run games that we lost last year. We’ve put a point of emphasis upon being mentally tough at the end of games.”

Senior Kylie Harpst went the distance in the first game of the day and surrendered just four hits against an Eagles program that went 36-19 overall in 2016. In the weekend capper, junior Michaela Woodward limited the Statesmen to five hits. Harpst completed both of her starts on the weekend and picked up two wins.

LaVelle liked the way his team shut the door on its opponents in the seventh innings of both contests. Harpst retired the side in order versus the Eagles in the early-morning affair. Later in the day, William Penn mounted a seventh-inning threat by putting runners at first and second. Woodward then coaxed a key grounder that went off the glove of Autumn Owens at third and then kicked over to shortstop Leah Kalkwarf, who scurried to the bag for the force out.

“They feel really confident in that situation,” LaVelle said. “That was really nice to see. Our bats took a dip today, but they’ll be back. I’m not worried about that.”

The Bulldogs are scheduled to return to action the weekend of Feb. 25-26 when they take a trip to Kansas. On Feb 25, Concordia will be at University of Saint Mary for a 1 p.m. CT doubleheader in Leavenworth, Kan.