SEWARD, Neb. – Behind the hot hitting of MaKenna Tracy and some impressive work in the circle by Michaela Woodward, the Concordia University softball team swept visiting Northwestern in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at Plum Creek Park. Woodward totaled 12 strikeouts and belted her second homer of the season as the Bulldogs wiped away the frustrations of their previous two twin bills by taking decisions by scores of 5-1 and 6-5.
Second-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad, now 4-2 at home, climbed above .500 overall at 11-10. Concordia owns a 3-1 league record after collecting two confidence-building wins over the Red Raiders (10-14, 3-3 GPAC).
“Obviously it’s huge,” LaVelle said. “We needed that. It’s been a rollercoaster since last Saturday. They always say that the best medicine for defeat is to play again and get a win. We had a couple games canceled this past week so we had to ride that low rollercoaster all week. We met before and talked about what we had to do.
“These 14 young ladies came out and played great ballgames.”
Woodward, who earned the win in game 1 and the save in game 2, allowed just a single run on four hits over her seven-inning complete game to begin the Saturday affair. She blew away eight Red Raider hitters in the opening contest. She then added a homer in the third inning of the capper.
“My curveball was definitely moving a lot,” Woodward said. “And I could locate really well. I came back in with the screwball and the rise so I really tried to keep them off guard.”
The freshman pitcher from Courtland, Neb., got plenty of help from Tracy, who took a liking to the leadoff spot in the lineup. Now 11 for her last 16 at the plate, the Peru State College transfer went 5-for-8 with four RBIs on Saturday. Her two-run triple broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning of game 2. She also played a starring role in Concordia’s game 1 five-run second inning when she singled in a pair of runs.
“What a great job MaKenna has done,” LaVelle said. “She’s playing lights out. I think some of the pieces are coming together. We need to keep it going.”
Unlike game 2 losses in their previous two doubleheaders, the Bulldogs were able to shut the door on Northwestern. After starting pitcher Julia Tyree ran into trouble in the top of the sixth, Woodward protected the team’s one-run line by throwing bullets in relief. She recorded the final four outs on strikeouts to earn her first career save.
At the bottom of the Concordia lineup, center fielder Regan Doiel enjoyed a 3-for-6 day with two runs. Out of the No. 2 hole, Becca Walker drove in three runs on Saturday. As a team, the Bulldogs notched a combined 18 hits on the day. As part of a balanced lineup, seven different players collected at least one hit in both ends of the doubleheader for Concordia.
The Bulldogs return to action on Monday when they host Briar Cliff (11-7, 1-1 GPAC) for another GPAC doubleheader. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. from Plum Creek Park.