Bradley Headed to Tourney in California, Apke Among Career Leaders


Published on February 12 2020 1:39 pm
Last Updated on February 12 2020 1:39 pm
Written by Millie Lange

Bradley University's softball team makes its first trip to the state of California since 2014 for this weekend’s Golden State Classic, which will be held in Lake Elsinore, Calif. The Braves kick off the first of its two trips to California Friday with a noon (CST) game against UC Davis and conclude the first day of tournament play with a 2:30 p.m. (CST) contest vs. San Jose State. Saturday starts with an 11:30 a.m. (CST) matchup against Army and the day also includes a 4:30 p.m. (CST) outing against Sacramento State.

The weekend wraps up Sunday with an 11:30 a.m. (CST) game against Hawaii. Against the field, Bradley owns a combined 7-2 all-time record against this weekend’s opponents with the Braves facing a trio of first-time opponents in UC Davis, Sacramento State and Hawaii. BU is 2-1 against San Jose State after last year’s 14-6 win in Las Cruces, N.M., in which Bradley hit a school record eight home runs. All three previous meetings with the Spartans have been at neutral sites. Bradley will face Army for the first time since 2005 and seventh time overall. The Braves are 5-1 all-time vs. Army with all six previous games in the series played in Florida.

With seven returning starters and a total of 14 returning letterwinners, Bradley returns a big percentage of its lineup from last year’s team which was one of the most powerful offensive teams in Missouri Valley Conference history. BU’s returners combined for at least 80 percent of the team’s hits (83%), runs (83%), doubles (80%), triples (82%), home runs (90%) and RBI (87%) from a team which ranked among the top 25 in the nation in runs (22nd), home runs (8th) and slugging percentage (13th).

In fact, six returning players hit .300 or better and the group combined for 242 runs, which is more than all but three MVC teams scored last year and the returners slugged 61 home runs in 2019; two more than any other Valley squad last spring. The Braves bring back three All-MVC performers in First-Team All-Valley picks Stacia Seeton and Kealia Wysocki along with Second-Team All-MVC performer Allison Apke (Teutopolis). Both Apke and Wysocki were Third-Team NFCA All-Mideast Region selections last year. While the Braves did graduate a pair of pitchers that won at least eight games, Bradley does have three returning hurlers back which combined for 12 of last year’s 29 victories and the team’s lone save.

Seniors Allison Apke and Kealia Wysocki entered their final year as Braves vying to wrap up their careers as the school career home run leader. The only player in school history to hit 10 or more homers in two different seasons, Apke currently has 27 career dingers, while Wysocki hit one during the season-opening Troy Cox Classic to highlight the 10-0 victory over UTEP to match Apke’s career total. Not to be outdone, however, junior Stacia Seeton is third in Bradley history with 23 career homers after hitting 12 during her sophomore season to earn First-Team All-MVC honors. Apke and Wysocki are both three homers from pushing their career totals among the top 20 in Missouri Valley Conference history.

The Bradley career home run record isn’t the only school career mark senior Allison Apke has in her sights entering her final season. Currently owning the Bradley career home run mark with 27 dingers, Apke is now eighth in BU history with 96 career RBI. She is 39 RBI from topping Kim Suffield’s school record of 134 RBI. Apke’s .618 career slugging percentage would shatter Bradley’s current record of .538 set by Caitlyn McCarron (2014-17). Fellow senior Kealia Wysocki is just outside Bradley’s career top 10 with 85 career RBI, while Stacia Seeton is also closing in on the top 10 in career RBI with 75 in her two-plus years on The Hilltop.