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'He's just a different animal': West Fargo's Gravdahl a difference-maker for Cobbers entering MIAC playoffs

Concordia Cobbers center fielder Andy Gravdahl is batting over .400 this season enter the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball playoffs.

ConcordiaGravdahlBaseball.jpg
Concordia Cobbers center fielder Andy Gravdahl is batting over .400 heading into the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball playoffs.
David Samson / The Forum
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MOORHEAD — When Concordia Cobbers center fielder Andy Gravdahl is on the baseball field, the West Fargo High School graduate gets noticed.

“He’s just a different animal,” said Cobbers shortstop Thomas Horan.

The multiple-sport athlete is batting over .400 for the Cobbers this spring, while using his speed to cover ground in the outfield and create havoc for opponents on the basepaths.

“Flat-out athletic ability,” RedHawks manager Chris Coste said. “Rarely, especially at our level, is he not the most athletically gifted athlete on the field.”

The Cobbers (15-14) are the No. 4 seed for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball playoffs. Concordia plays No. 1 seed Bethel at 3 p.m. Thursday at CHS Field in St. Paul in the first round of the double elimination tournament. The Cobbers earned a spot in the MIAC tournament for the first time since 2015.

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“A trip to the playoffs definitely means your team is doing something right,” said Gravdahl, also a standout wide receiver for the Cobbers football team. “It’s been a good ride so far.”

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Gravdahl batted .423 during the regular season to lead the team and ranked third in the MIAC. He also has seven doubles, five triples, one home run, 21 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 28 games.

“There are very few people with the variety of abilities who can flat-out take a game over on both sides of the ball,” Coste said. “I don’t think there is anything on a baseball field he could do that would surprise anybody.”

Gravdahl has 134 hits over 111 games and four seasons during his Cobbers career. His career batting average is .338 with 18 doubles, 14 triples, six home runs and 61 RBIs with 39 stolen bases. He plans to return for a super senior baseball season next spring using an NCAA eligibility waiver due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coste said Gravdahl has a must-watch factor.

“When he steps to the plate, you have to pay attention because there are so many possibilities with him and every one is exciting,” Coste said. “He’s always had that dynamic ability to shock everybody.”

This past fall, Gravdahl had 34 catches for 380 yards and three touchdowns to lead the team in receiving, despite playing in only seven of 10 games due to injury. Gravdahl said playing multiple sports is something he continues to enjoy.

“Even now, it’s very refreshing to start something new and change your focus from baseball to football, which is a totally different mindset,” Gravdahl said. “It really helps you not get burnt out with one sport.”

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Horan said Gravdahl is a team leader on and off the field, ranging from offseason workouts to academics.

“He just works harder than everybody,” Horan said “He is a freak of an athlete. He is insane.”

Gravdahl said he’s excited to start the MIAC playoffs at CHS Field and doesn’t think the stage is too big for this team. While he’s had a successful season thus far, that isn’t his focus entering the conference postseason.

“I’m not really satisfied with much until the playoffs end, but it does feel pretty good to know that you’re making an impact on a team.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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