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Raiders look to 'Be themselves' in pursuit of CCC Tournament Championship

On Friday, the six-team, double-elimination Cascade Conference Tournament begins. The hosting team, top-ranked Southern Oregon (45-3), can find success just by being itself. That is according to head coach Jessica Pistole.

Posted: May 6, 2021 7:40 PM

ASHLAND, Ore--- On Friday, the six-team, double-elimination Cascade Conference Tournament begins. The hosting team, top-ranked Southern Oregon (45-3), can find success just by being itself. That is according to head coach Jessica Pistole.

"It is just a matter of being confident in who we are and playing the game that we practice and work on every day."

Pistole will enter the tournament as the reigning CCC Coach of the Year coming off one of the most dominant regular seasons in conference history. 

If the Raiders are to be knocked out, they will have to lose twice. The problem for the other teams competing, is that the Raiders have only lost three times in the last 48 games. They have also only lost one game in the last 50 at home. 

Even without knowing which team she will face first, because SOU has the first game off as the top-seeded team, catcher Allie Stines is confident that the home field will mean everything. 

"There are no disadvantages."

If the Raiders are anything like themselves in the tournament, it is going to be a tough out all the way through the lineup. 

"Every single batter in our lineup can hit and our defense has been pretty dialed over the last few weekends," said Southern Oregon ace and reigning CCC Pitcher of the Year Gabby Sandoval. 

The past few years have proven that the Raiders don't slow down once they are in the post-season. In fact, the past few years have proven the opposite. Southern Oregon has won nine straight CCC Tournament Games. In 2019, it became the first team to ever win three consecutive CCC Tournament titles. 

Now, it is time to add the fact that the Raiders will also boast the reigning CCC Player of the Year in Lauren Quirke. In the entire nation, Quirke is fifth in hits (79) and RBIs (59). 

Now, it is time to add the fact that the Raiders talent continues to Riley Donovan. Donovan is the reigning CCC Newcomer of the Year. That means that SOU has all three players and the coach that won CCC awards for 2021. 

That is a lot of talent on one team.

Remember, the theme for the Raiders is "Being themselves." The Raiders shortest win streak of the season was six games. The Raiders are currently on a four-game win streak. So, if the Raiders stay "themselves," they are not technically due for another loss until they have won two tournament games. Of course, all of the possibilities are on the table, this is just what the numbers say. 

Even if the Raiders can't claim a fourth straight tournament title, they still hold a spot in the 40-team NAIA Softball Championship. The Raiders won the CCC regular-season championship and claimed an automatic bid. The Raiders will also be playing part of that tournament in Southern Oregon as the NAIA Opening Round will be played at US Cellular Community Park.

Southern Oregon will take on the winner of Eastern Oregon and Corban at 2 p.m. on Friday. 

NewsWatch 12 Sports will have highlights and post-season coverage of the CCC Tournament through the entire weekend. 

The full tournament schedule is listed below:

FRIDAY:
Game 1 @ 9 a.m. - #4 Corban vs. #5 Eastern Oregon
Game 2 @ 11:30 a.m. - #3 Oregon Tech vs. #6 Warner Pacific
Game 3 @ 2 p.m. - #1 Southern Oregon vs. Winner of Game 1
Game 4 @ 4:30 p.m. - #2 College of Idaho vs. Winner of Game 2

SATURDAY:
Game 5 @ 9 a.m. - Loser of Game 2 vs. Loser of Game 3 (loser eliminated)
Game 6 @ 11:30 a.m. - Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 4 (loser eliminated)
Game 7 @ 2 p.m. - Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4
Game 8 @ 4:30 p.m. - Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6 (loser eliminated)

SUNDAY:
Game 9 @ 11 a.m. - Loser of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8 (loser eliminated)
Game 10 @ 1:30 p.m. - Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 9 (championship)
Game 11 - Thirty minutes after completion of Game 10 (if necessary)

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