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Concordia softball produced stellar season

Irvine Scene

Eagles fell short of national title, but won conference crown and set NAIA record with 44 consecutive wins.

May 24, 2012|By Joe Haakenson, Special to the Daily Pilot
(Courtesy of Concordia…)

There's good, and there's really good.

Concordia University's softball team was really good this season, as in 56-4 and ranked No. 1 in the nation good.

Concordia, though, wrapped up pool play in the NAIA national championship tournament Saturday with a 2-0, eight-inning loss to Brenau University in a win-or-go-home game, and missing out on a chance to advance to the eight-team, double-elimination bracket that determined a national champion in Gulf Shores, Ala.

The Eagles finished their remarkable season 56-4, setting all kinds of school records and even national marks.

The Eagles won their first two games of pool play thanks to a perfect game by Katie Cotta in an 8-0 victory over Talladega College last Thursday, and an 8-2 win over Bethany College fueled by Amanda Fama's grand slam last Friday.

But in the pool play championship, Concordia and Brenau were tied 0-0 before Brenau scored twice with two outs in the top of the eighth inning, then retired the Eagles in the bottom of the inning to advance.

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"I just got through telling them, there's nothing I can tell you that's going to make you feel better, but looking back in a year from now, this is the foundation of our program," Concordia head coach Crystal Rosenthal said immediately after the loss. "They've been outstanding both on the field and off the field. This is the most fun team I've ever coached by far. There's absolutely nothing to be disappointed [about] in this season.

"It's hard to take this. There's only one team that gets to walk away the national champion, and unfortunately it's not going to be us this year, but they helped put a program on the map and I'm really, really proud of them. I couldn't be happier for the season that they had."

Indeed, it had been a dream season for the Eagles, who excelled every step of the way. They won the Golden State Athletic Conference regular season with a 15-1 record, then won the conference tournament. Along the way, they set an NAIA record with 44 consecutive wins.

"Probably no one believes me when I say this, but I don't think we noticed the streak until we were like 30 games in," Rosenthal said. "I knew we won a lot of games, but I don't think the girls focus on that. They focus on each game and when the game is over, they move forward."

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