LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – A shutout performance from pitcher Michaela Woodward highlighted the efforts of the Concordia University softball team on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs split their doubleheader at the University of Saint Mary (Kan.), winning game 1, 3-0, before falling in game 2, 7-2, in Leavenworth, Kan.
Fourth-year head coach Todd LaVelle’s squad is now 5-2 on the season. Saturday marked Concordia’s first action since it went 4-1 at the Cowtown Classic Feb. 10-11.
“I thought we came out and played pretty well in the first game,” LaVelle said. “We picked up where we left off in Texas and played a really good defensive game. A couple times we were in trouble with bases loaded and got out without any runs. We buckled down and played good defense. I thought Woodward did a nice job moving the ball around. She didn’t have a lot of strikeouts but got a lot of groundballs. We just need to put more hits together.”
Woodward scattered seven hits and one walk over her seven-inning complete game. She gained steam after wiggling out of a second inning jam. The Spires (3-6-1) loaded the bases with no outs, but Woodward induced two pop outs and then a ground out to retain what was a 1-0 lead at the time. The Bulldog ace didn’t have nearly as much drama in the seventh when she worked around a one-out single and shut the door on Saint Mary.
Concordia pounded out eight hits in game 1. Slugging third baseman Autumn Owens gave her team the lead with a solo homer to left in the top of the second. Then in the fifth, the Bulldogs added insurance. The frame started with back-to-back singles from Megan Ruppert and Kylie Harpst. Ruppert came around to score when Taryn Thomas reached on an error. Another run came home on Woodward’s sacrifice bunt.
The bats were mostly quiet in game 2. Spire starter Carrie Lee held Concordia to one run on two hits over her five innings in the circle. The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the sixth when Harpst doubled in Ruppert. In the seventh inning, Ronee Watson’s RBI groundout drove in Concordia’s final run of the day.
Harpst, who started in right field in both games, enjoyed a solid day out of the leadoff spot, going 3-for-7 with a run and an RBI. Shortstop Leah Kalkwarf went 2-for-3 in game 1 and Owens and Ruppert collected one hit in both ends of the twin bill. On the other side, Alana Renshaw went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs in the capper.
AJ Wygant got the start in the circle in game 2 for Concordia. She covered 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on four walks and three hits. She gave way to Delaney Nance, who pitched the final 3.1 innings.
LaVelle wants to see his bunch come out with more energy on Sunday.
“We need to regroup,” LaVelle said. “We definitely don’t want to get in the same rut we got in last year when we kept splitting. They need to bring it every pitch.”
The Bulldogs will remain in the state of Kansas and pay visit to Baldwin City for a twin bill at Baker University (2-4) on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. CT. Baker will provide a live stream of the games via its Stretch Internet portal.