Southern Oregon University was chosen as the favorite in the Cascade Collegiate Conference softball preseason coaches' poll that was released Wednesday by the league office.
The Raiders received six first-place votes, while Corban and Oregon Tech tied for the No. 2 spot and split the other four first-place votes. College of Idaho, Carroll and Eastern Oregon rounded out the top six.
The Raiders won their first CCC tournament championship last year after finishing second to Corban in the regular season with a conference record of 20-7. They went on to make their first appearance in the NAIA World Series and were No. 6 in the national postseason poll, finishing with a school-record win total and overall mark of 46-15.
SOU graduated five starters but All-America shortstop Kelsey Randall and All-CCC catcher Harlee Donovan, both seniors, head an imposing group of returning position players. Sophomores Karlee Coughlin and Gabby Sandoval and junior Victoria Mackey — who combined to go 40-10 with a 1.73 ERA on the mound — will also be back to lead a proven pitching staff.
Corban, which finished as the national runner-up, returns Sabrina Boyd, the CCC Pitcher of the Year, and Jessie Isham, the CCC Newcomer of the Year.
SOU's 2018 schedule will be posted later this month. CCC play begins on March 2.