CLERMONT, Fla.--Southern Oregon softball has made come-from-behind wins a habit in 2018.
The Raiders have four wins when trailing in the seventh inning this year, and five when trailing in the sixth.
They did it again on Saturday to save their season, proving that no matter how big the deficit, no matter how late in the game, they always have a chance.
“The reason that all built up is because we’re SOU softball and we like doing things the hard way,” junior designated player Rebecca Velasquez said of her team's most recent heroics. “We know that it’s not over until the seventh inning, we know that it’s not over until the last pitch.”
To stave off elimination on Saturday, the Raiders strung together three straight run scoring hits with two outs—the first courtesy of catcher Harlee Donovan, whose hit tied the game at three apiece.
“We’re a come-from-behind team," she said. "We’ve done this many times. We really vibe off each other and as soon as someone does it we all get really hyped and it just keeps rolling.”
The question though is can it continue? Is it a winning strategy in the long run?
“I think it could be a bad thing in the sense that we need to jump on top earlier and we’re totally capable of scoring more runs earlier,” freshman first baseman Tayler Walker said.
“We’re capable of coming out a lot stronger than we have been," Donovan said. "We don’t need to come from behind all the time and we should take it easy on ourselves and make it a little bit easier from the get-go."
Head coach Jessica Pistole echoed that sentiment in her postgame huddle with the team—true talent is how a group plays in all seven innings, not just the last one.
Still, it's encouraging for SOU, knowing they have the potential to steal a win late.
“Seeing ourselves in such a big atmosphere with such great teams, we know we’re going to find ourselves in that situation sometimes," Velasquez said. "We try to not make it faze us all the time and we know that there’s going to be teams hitting, so we just know that we have to hit back.”
SOU returns to action on Monday against 9-seed and No. 21 Freed Hardeman (Tenn.). First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m. PT, 12 ET.