SEWARD, Neb. – By the end of the day on Tuesday, the Concordia University Softball team will have wrapped up the 2022 regular season. A couple of wins would go a long way towards solidifying the Bulldogs as a GPAC tournament qualifier. Concordia is preparing to play a doubleheader at Hastings on Tuesday night. Head Coach Tatum Edwards came away encouraged following a 2-2 weekend that featured twin bills at Briar Cliff and at Mount Marty. The Bulldogs enter the week at 21-21 overall (9-11 GPAC).
Tuesday, April 26 at Hastings (19-22, 5-11 GPAC), 5 p.m.
By the numbers
· Historically, a .500 record within league play has been plenty good enough for a top-eight GPAC placement required to reach the conference tournament. Concordia hopes to get there on Tuesday, although sweeps haven’t been easy to come by. The Bulldogs have swept doubleheaders from two GPAC opponents this season: Doane and Briar Cliff. In the first 20 years of the GPAC tournament (2000-present), Concordia has qualified 19 times. The only time the Bulldogs missed out on the GPAC tournament (2013), they went 8-12 in the GPAC. If Concordia can get to 11-11 in league play, it would mark the eighth season in a row that the program has finished at .500 or better within the GPAC.
· The Bulldogs may have played their best ball yet this season in the sweep at Briar Cliff. One of the keys was getting quality pitching in both ends of the twin bill. Camry Moore threw yet another seven-inning complete game and allowed only one run on four hits (no walks) while striking out five. In game two, Jerzi Rowe took the ball and also fired a seven-inning complete game. She surrendered just one earned run on nine hits and six walks to go along with six strikeouts. At the plate, five Concordia players collected at least three hits over the doubleheader: Taylor Glause (4-for-6), Caitlin McGarvie (4-for-6), Grace Boganowski (3-for-6), Kylie Shottenkirk (3-for-6) and Julia Van Wey (3-for-8).
· The Bulldogs dropped two at Mount Marty on April 23 despite combining for 22 hits on the day. Concordia had leads in both games, which finished with Lancer victories by scores of 7-6 and 10-7. The Bulldogs led 4-3 in the fifth inning of game one and owned a 6-5 advantage after three innings of game two. In the first contest, Kylee Nixon belted her 10th career home run as part of a three-RBI performance. In game two, Moore went 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs. However, the Mount Marty offense was just a bit better. The Lancers lead the conference in runs per game at 6.1.
· An Omaha native and Concordia Lutheran High School alum, Boganowski has provided a spark at shortstop. She has started six-straight games at shortstop and has seized on the opportunity by going 7-for-20 (.350) at the plate with two doubles, three triples and six RBIs. She has successfully converted 25 of 27 chances in the field during that same stretch. This is the most extended playing time Boganowski has seen in her young collegiate career. As a freshman in 2021, Boganowski appeared in 13 games and had nine at bats.
· Consider this the weekly update on Moore’s career totals. Following last week’s action, she now owns school all-time offensive rankings of third in RBIs (120), fifth in runs scored (119), sixth in batting average (.388), seventh in home runs (14), ninth in hits (166) and 10th in doubles (31). As a pitcher, Moore’s program career rankings are second in ERA (2.00), third in wins (52), sixth in strikeouts (336) and sixth in innings pitched (478.2). Eight more RBIs would put Moore at No. 2 on the list. It’s worth noting that her 2020 season was limited to only 14 games due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
· A Lincoln North Star High School alum, McGarvie is enjoying an even better season than the one she had in 2021 when she was named First Team All-GPAC. The Valparaiso, Neb., native has collected at least one hit in 10 of the last 11 games while raising her season batting average to .361. McGarvie also sports a robust on-base percentage of .449. In addition, she’s the team leader with 13 stolen bases. A constant in the lineup, McGarvie is one of five Bulldogs who have started at least 40 games this season.
Hastings will need to string together a series of wins this week if it is to reach GPAC postseason play. The Broncos kept those hopes alive last week with a doubleheader sweep at Dakota Wesleyan. Now in his 16th season leading the program, Head Coach Troy Baker has taken Hastings to the NAIA national tournament as recently as 2017. This season, the Broncos are averaging 4.3 runs per game offensively and sport a team ERA of 4.90 (within league games). From a power perspective, the team’s top offensive player has been Bailey French, who is hitting .323 with a .548 slugging percentage. The ace pitcher is Kyleigh Boever, who is 9-7 with a 3.19 ERA in 103 innings. In last season’s matchup, Concordia twice beat Hastings by the run rule in action that took place in Seward.
The GPAC tournament will begin with pod play on May 4-5 and culminate with the GPAC Championship Series on May 7. Should the Bulldogs qualify for the tournament, they will be on the road – likely at Midland or at Mount Marty. The top two seeds earn the right to host separate four-team pods of the conference tournament.