SOU opens league play with a bang, sweeps No. 11 Concordia

PORTLAND — A shutout performance by Jordyn Kurtz and solo home runs by Rayna Okimoto and Irene Barrantes helped the Southern Oregon softball team sweep 11th-ranked Concordia Tuesday in the Raiders' Cascade Conference opener.

"Today was obviously huge for us," SOU head coach Kim Fritts said. "Coming out and playing the (former) No. 4 teamin the country is a big step for us starting conference play. And it certainly shows us what I've been saying all along, that this team can do anthing it wants to."

The Raiders (5-8, 2-0 CC) won 1-0 and 4-2, respectively.

Concordia, the preseason league favorite, dropped to 7-9 and 0-4.

In the opener, Kurtz returned to the form that earned her all-Cascade Conference honors two years ago.

The junior, who entered the doubleheader with an 0-3 record and a 6.30 ERA, never let the Concordia offense get going. Kurtz scattered five hits over seven innings, struck out three and forced 12 ground-ball outs.

"Jordan did a great job making her ball move, keeping it low and coming up with the big pitch when we needed it," Fritts said.

The SOU offense got on the board in third, taking advantage of three errors for a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by junior Katie Moy.

Kurtz led the offense with a pair of singles.

In Game 2, singles by Melissa Corn, Karri Johnson and Kurtz helped the Raiders take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

In the bottom, the Cavaliers roughed up Johnson — SOU's starter — for a pair of runs and chased the senior with just one out. Freshman pitcher Karlie Stephens from Eagle Point came on and retired the next two batters, leaving the score 2-2.

Stephens shut out the Raiders the rest of the way, and Okimoto put them up 3-2 with a solo home run to center in the fifth. It was Okimoto's sixth home run of the season, already the sixth-best single season mark in team history.

"She's feeling it," Fritts said of Okimoto's power surge. "She's having a good time at the plate and she's swinging the bat hard."

Barrantes came off the bench in the sixth for a leadoff homer to right.

Stephens is 3-0 and lowered her ERA to a team-best 2.58.

Gia Dimaggio led SOU in Game 2, going 3-for-3. Okimoto, who has six homers on the season, had two hits.

Prep softball

Ashland High crushed Mountain View, 16-8, then lost a close game to Marshfield, 7-5, to end up 3-1 at the Central Oregon Tournament on Tuesday at Bend.

In the second game of the day, Ashland (3-2) dug itself a big early hole before rallying against the Pirates. The Grizzlies' comeback attempt ended with an infield pop up that stranded the would-be tying run at second base.

Women's soccer

The Southern Oregon women's soccer program will host a free "Kicks For Japan" benefit clinic.

The clinic will be held April 16 at the SOU soccer field from 10 to 11:30 a.m. It is free to attend, but a donation to the International Red Cross to support the Japan recovery effort is recommended. Details will be provided on-site.

The clinic is open to individuals from 7 to 12 years old and instruction and coaching will be done by the SOU coaches and players.

For information or to register, call 541-552-6726 or visit

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