Searching for their first win of the season, the Southern Oregon softball team will get its chance against some of West Coast's top NAIA programs as the Raiders host the second annual SOU Invitational at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
The tournament will feature 11 teams and 30 games stretched across the park's five softball fields Thursday through Saturday.
Games are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday; 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday; and 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and students each day.
The tournament will feature Cascade Conference teams SOU (0-6), Oregon Tech (5-5), Northwest Christian (4-6) and Concordia (3-0). California teams Azusa Pacific, Concordia-Irvine, Simpson, Holy Names, Biola, William Jessup and Hope International will also compete.
Of the teams in the tournament, five were mentioned in the NAIA's preseason poll. Concordia-Irvine is ranked 11th, while Southern Oregon, Azusa Pacific, Holy Names and Concordia (Ore.) all received votes.
"This is becoming one of the premier NAIA tournaments on the West Coast," says SOU head coach Kim Fritts. "We have a great facility to play it in and host a large number of teams, and it's a good chance for the different conferences to play against each other."
The Raiders (0-6) open the tournament on Thursday against Holy Names (4 p.m.) and Hope International (6 p.m.).
On Friday, the Raiders face Azusa Pacific (11 a.m.) and Concordia-Irvine (1 p.m.), and on Saturday they will wrap up the tournament against Concordia-Irvine (11 a.m.) and Holy Names (1 p.m.).
Despite the slow start to the season, the Raiders have been getting impressive performances from sophomore Katie Moy and senior Bailey Price.
Moy, replacing All-American Strohm Fouty as SOU's leadoff hitter, leads the team and ranks fourth in the Cascade Conference in hitting with a .476 average. Moy also has a team-best four doubles.
Price ranks second on the team and eighth in the conference with a .400 batting average.
As a team, the Raiders rank third in the conference in hitting at .273 but rank last in fielding percentage (.937) and earned run average (4.77).
"So far, we haven't been able to put a complete game together," says Fritts. "We need to just go out and play softball and not worry so much about the little things. Softball is a seven-inning game, and we can't get hung up on a mistake here or there. We have to be able to play through those and keep playing hard."