ORANGE CITY, Iowa – The 2022 journey has come to an end for the Concordia University Softball team. A late-inning rally came up short in Friday (May 6)’s GPAC tournament elimination game with second-seeded Northwestern. The host Red Raiders held off the Bulldogs, 4-3, as part of the Northwestern Bracket. Concordia fell despite two more hits, including a home run, from freshman Kylie Shottenkirk.
The first season of Tatum Edwards’ head coaching tenure is complete with a 23-24 overall record. The Bulldogs were just one big hit away from extending the campaign into the finals of their pod.
“I thought we had a solid approach in our at bats,” Edwards said. “We were seeing more off-speed and I thought we had a good plan going into the game. I saw some really good swings throughout the lineup and we looked confident. We just came up short. Our approach was better today than the game on Wednesday (8-0 loss to Northwestern).”
A Lincoln North Star High School alum, Shottenkirk figures to be a big part of the future for Concordia Softball. She went perfect 8-for-8 at the plate during this week’s three GPAC tournament games. Shottenkirk unloaded for a solo homer to left in the sixth inning on Friday, cutting the deficit to 4-3. The Bulldogs made it a nail-biter after having gone down 4-1 on Chloe Gallegos’ three-run blast in the third. Concordia chipped away with a run in the fourth when Shottenkirk singled and scored on an RBI ground out by Lex Campos.
In Wednesday’s action, Shottenkirk went 2-for-2 in the first game against Northwestern and then went 4-for-4 in the 6-5 win over College of Saint Mary. The hot finish to 2022 boosted Shottenkirk’s final season batting average to .314.
Said Edwards, “She’s shown how she’s matured. It was awesome to see Kylie stay present in her at bats and work pitch-to-pitch. She’s growing and maturing – it’ll be really exciting to see her continue to develop going into next year.”
In the circle, Jerzi Rowe threw the first three innings and allowed all four runs. Senior Camry Moore then made the final pitching appearance of her tremendous Bulldog career. Moore gave the Bulldogs a chance while working three shutout frames, during which she allowed only one baserunner. On the other side, the pitching duo of Kameryn Etherington and Kate Kralik was just good enough to push the Red Raiders’ season onward into another elimination game.
As for Moore, she’ll go down as one of Concordia’s all-time great softball players. Moore was the star of last season’s postseason run that resulted in a national tournament appearance. The Crete, Neb., native moved into a tie on the school’s all-time RBI list with the 127th RBI of her career coming on Friday. Moore batted .386 in 142 career games as a hitter. As a pitcher, she went 52-27 with 2.06 ERA in 489 collegiate innings. Moore and Kylee Nixon are the two senior players who will graduate and move on. Nixon also played a significant four-year role and batted .326 over 137 career games.
The roster beyond Moore and Nixon was a decidedly youthful one in 2022. This season will be one for young players such as Shottenkirk and Zoie Isom (team high four home runs) to build upon. It was also a fine third-year campaign for outfielder Caitlyn McGarvie, who batted .390, second best on the team behind Moore (.425).
“Out two seniors had a great impact,” Edwards said. “Being young and being able to play in the postseason was a big deal. It should help them grow pretty quick. We’ll have to fill some spots in the lineup. Going into next year, we know we can play in big situations. Everyone has to figure out their role and do it the best they can. It takes everyone on the roster to be successful.”