MEDFORD -- For a moment, it appeared the visiting St. Francis (IL) Fighting Saints would rain on Southern Oregon softball's parade. After dropping the first game of the day, SOU rebounded, taking a winner-take-all game 8-3 to advance to the NAIA World Series for the second straight season.
The Saints won Game 1, an elimination game for them, 6-5 in walk-off fashion after the Raiders tied the game at 5 in the top of the seventh. Heavy rain delayed the potential Raider celebration, pushing Game 2 from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m.
SOU jumped out early in Game 2, tallying six runs in the first two innings, going up 6-0. The Saints chipped away, but couldn't get closer than 8-3. Rebecca Velasquez stayed hot, going 3-for-3 with a run while Karlee Coughlin drove in three. Hannah Shimek was the Raiders' best overall hitter Wednesday, going a combined 3-for-6 with seven total bases and 2 RBI.
Although it is the Raiders' second straight trip to the NAIA World Series, it is just the second time they have ever advanced this far in the tournament. Southern Oregon will be the No. 6 seed in the 10-team World Series, which begins on Friday, May 25.
SOU will take on No. 3 Marian (50-5) in the first round on Friday, May 25 at 3 p.m. PT. The winner of that game will play No. 2 Oklahoma City (51-7), the defending national champions. The tournament is double elimination and concludes on Thursday, May 31.