ASHLAND—Expectation met reality on Sunday as No. 8 Southern Oregon completed a season’s worth of dominance in the Cascade Collegiate Conference with a 7-5 win over Eastern Oregon in the conference’s postseason championship game.
It’s SOU's second straight CCC Tournament crown and it becomes the first team in six years to win both the regular season and tournament championships.
“We’re just starting to tap into what we’re really made of,” said senior catcher Harlee Donovan. “We’re just steady climbing and just tapping into what we can do. I think we’re finding it as a team and really coming together.”
SOU tagged EOU starter Ashton Kazmierski for five runs on three hits, and the Mountaineers had to dive into their bullpen after just a third of an inning.
EOU reliever Lauren Spencer did her best damage control act and fared well, going 5.2 innings and allowing two runs (both which scored on a Hannah Shimek single).
Those two runs proved to the difference, however.
After Shevan Defreitas’ three-run home run cut the deficit to two for EOU, SOU starter Gabby Sandoval reentered and slammed the door to secure the win.
"We've kind of been treating it like we're just checking them off,” Donovan said. “We had a lot of goals coming into this year and that was something big. ‘Congratulations’ but now we're onto the next thing and next is opening round (of the NAIA Tournament).”
Ending the season winners of 11 of their last 12 games, the Raiders head into the NAIA Tournament as a host seed. They’ll find out which teams will be filling out the rest of their group on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
Opening round games start Monday, May 14 and run until Wednesday, May 16.