Concordia swept Morningside 7-3 and 6-5 to advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship tournament. Photo / Gene Knudsen

Mara Amsberry

Concordia foiled Morningside’s bid for a seventh consecutive appearance in the NAIA Softball National Championship tournament when it swept the Mustangs 7-3 and 6-5 in Saturday’s Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Championship Series in Sioux City.

The Mustangs finished the season with a record of 27-21, while Concordia improved to 28-21.

The Bulldogs’ Michaela Woodward was the winning pitcher in each game with a pair of complete game efforts and she also provided the pivotal hit in the second game with a three-run home run that brought her team back from a 3-1 deficit.

The Bulldogs never trailed in the first game and capitalized on a Morningside error to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Molly Madsen reached base on a dropped fly ball to start the inning and her pinch-runner, Kerrigan Anspauch, came home on a single by Makenna Tracy. The Bulldogs added another run later in the inning on a RBI bunt single by Regan Doiel.

The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 3-0 in the top of the third inning on a solo home run by Shelby Schacher.

Morningside fought back with two runs in the bottom of the third inning when Morgan Fogelman doubled and Mara Amsberry homered over the center field fence to bring the Mustangs within 3-2.

Taylor Daas

Concordia answered with a four-run fourth inning to open a 7-2 lead. Autumn Owens had the big hit with a two-run single.

The Mustangs scored their final run on a two-out RBI single by Elin Landgren in the bottom of the sixth.

Concordia outhit the Mustangs 13-6 and had a three-hit performance from Owens.

Daas had two of the Mustangs’ hits with a double and single. The Mustangs also had extra base hits from Amsberry with a home run and Fogelman with a double.

Woodward allowed six hits, walked four, and struck out two to raise her record to 18-11.

The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the second game when Julia Tyree reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a two-out infield single by Shelby Schacher.

It took the Mustangs just two batters to tie the score in the bottom of the frame when Landgren was hit by a pitch, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Daas.

Anna Milone

The Mustangs took a 3-1 lead in the second inning when Anna Milone blasted a two-run homer with Rachel Koch on base after a single.

Concordia regained the lead in the top of the third when Diana Mendoza and Julie Tyree each singled to set up a three-run homer by Woodward that put the Bulldogs up 4-3.

The Bulldogs added an insurance run to go up 5-3 in the top of the fifth when Becca Walker led off with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Concordia added what proved to be the deciding run in the top of the seventh when Courtnay Serve was hit by a pitch with two outs and then scored after a single by Woodward and a Mustang error.

The three-run advantage enabled the Bulldogs to hold on in the bottom of the inning when the Mustangs’ Kristina Neumann just missed in a bid for a game tying three-run homer when her drive to center field struck the fence for a two-run double. Neumann’s hit plated Landgren, who had kept the inning alive with a two-out single, and Daas, who worked Woodward for a walk.

Elin Landgren

Woodward allowed seven hits to get the win. She walked two and struck out two.

Morningside’s Faith Schmidt scattered eight hits in defeat. Schmidt walked one and fanned two.

Landgren had two of the Mustangs’ hits with a double and single. The Mustangs also had extra base hits from Milone with a home run and Neumann with a double.

Game One Box

Game Two Box