Raiders Prevail to earn Back-to-Back National Titles
COLUMBUS, Ga. – The 2019 defending national champions, Southern Oregon battled though elimination bracket winning five games straight to earn the 2021 Red Banner. The Raiders defeated Oregon Tech 3-2 forcing the if necessary game and then defeated the Owls, 7-5 in nine innings to claim the second victory.
The two teams both call the state of Oregon home, with their campuses separated by just 66 miles the Cascade Collegiate Conference rivals played on the big stage Wednesday night. This was the first conference matchup in the national championship game since 2014. Prior to the first pitch Southern Oregon led the series against Oregon Tech 3-2.
This was the first championship game to go to extra innings since 2012. Opponents from the same conference hadn’t matched up in the final since 2014, and SOU became just the second of the last 12 champions to come out of the elimination bracket to win it.
No. 1 Southern Oregon prevailed yet winning their fourth elimination game and forced the winner-take-all finale. The 3-2 victory snapped the Owls 14-game win streak. Both teams started out strong at the plate. Oregon Tech scored first off a Southern Oregon error at left field. Southern Oregon also scored one fun in the first piecing together two hits. The score remained 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth when Southern Oregon took their first lead of the day. Avery Morehead-Hutsell started the Raiders off with a single to short and then Hannah Shimek, Lauren Quirke and Riley Donovan all followed suite singling to total four hits. Quirke and Donovan both earned the RBIs for the inning. The Owls stopped the Raiders before further damage leaving two on base at the end of inning.
Owls attempted comeback in the top of the seventh, but fell short in the process. McKenna Armantrout singled through the gap to bring Olivia Lethlean home to make the score 3-2. Southern Oregon defense stopped the Owls leaving three on base and forcing the if necessary game. The win went to Gabby Sandoval (32-4), who finished a complete game by getting Aubrie Businger to pop out with the bases loaded in the seventh.
In the second game of the night Southern Oregon used the momentum from their win to take an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Owls strung together three hits for one run to get on the board early as well. With SOU up 5-1 and needing one final out in the bottom of the seventh Oregon Tech did not give up. They continued to battle getting five straight Owls got on base, the Owls sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning to extend the game. Three of them reached via walks, including Logan Nunes, who took a full-count fastball low with the bases loaded to force in the tying run. Sending the game into extra innings with a 5-5 score.
Riley Donovan, 2021 World Series MVP, led off the top of the ninth and muscled a 1-0 pitch at the letters over the center field fence for her eighth home run. Over seven games at the World Series, she went 11-for-17 with two home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs.
Millenni Lucero, Bethany (Kan.)
Ciera Flores, Bethany (Kan.)
Veronica Pezzoni, Madonna (Mich.)
Maeson Schlaud, Madonna (Mich.)
Jess Heick, Mount Mercy (Iowa)
Jayna Witzany, Mount Mercy (Iowa)
Casson Rasmussen, Ottawa (Kan.)
Katelyn Wilfert, College of Idaho
Hattie Hruza, College of Idaho
McKenna Armantrout, Oregon Tech
Lauren Quirke, Southern Oregon
Allie Stines, Southern Oregon
Sarah Abramson, Oregon Tech
Gabby Sandoval, Southern Oregon
Kaila Mick, Oregon Tech
Hannah Shimeck, Southern Oregon
The Most Valuable Player
Riley Donovan, Southern Oregon