SOU softball team beats NWC to end skid

Southern Oregon utilized its depth to prevent an afternoon that started with disappointment from becoming disastrous against last-place Northwest Christian on Thursday at University Field.

After watching from the bench as the 21st-ranked Raiders fell 9-7 in the opener of the Cascade Conference series, a result that put an end to the Beacons' 18-game losing streak, Lacie Crawford pitched a two-hitter to earn her first win and backup third baseman Paige Leeper became the first Raider this season to register a four-hit game as SOU claimed a 10-2, six-inning decision.

The Raiders (26-9 overall, 12-5 CCC), who had dropped five in a row overall before salvaging the split, went to fourth place in the standings as the rest of the conference sat idle. They'll meet the Beacons (3-26, 3-14) for two more today starting at 1 p.m.

SOU shortstop Kelsey Randall went 5-for-9 with a pair of runs on the day and extended her hitting streak to a team-record 20 games, and first baseman Taylor Martinez went 5-for-6 with a pair of doubles.

Their performances were overshadowed initially, however, by a rare offensive outburst for NCU, which knocked four Raider pitchers for 15 hits, including four for extra bases, in the opener.

NCU shortstop Alyssa Gale went 3-for-4 and put the Beacons up 4-0 with an RBI double in the third. Madi Novelli, Madison Jones and Paige Griffith, who made up the bottom third of the lineup, had two hits apiece, and Griffith lined a two-run homer to left in the second.

The Raiders rallied to tie it with four runs in the bottom of the third, but the Beacons struck for five in a fifth inning that was highlighted by RBI doubles from Ereanna Higbee and Novelli. They had six hits in the frame, stole home once and picked up an unearned run on a two-out error.

Katie Walker worked around 15 hits to polish off a 138-pitch complete game. She got out of trouble in the sixth, inducing a 1-2-3 double play with one out and the bases loaded, and again in the seventh when the Raiders brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate.

The Beacons also took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2 on Higbee's two-run double to left, but Crawford struck out seven and allowed just one hit without a walk the rest of the way.

Walker took the ball again for NCU and surrendered 14 hits in 5 2/3 innings, but only four of the nine runs on her line were earned.

Randall went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, tripling and later scoring on Kayleen Smith's squeeze bunt in the first. In the second, Randall's mishandled grounder to shortstop allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score.

SOU piled on from there. Tyler Burke, who also had a four-hit day, scored on an Aaliyah Oliver groundout in the fourth, and Smith opened the floodgates with a two-run double in the sixth. With two outs, Leeper's RBI single up the middle triggered the mercy rule.

Smith also tripled in Game 1, totaling three hits and five RBIs on the day.

Boys Tennis

At Medford, Ashland took the top singles and doubles matches but South Medford won everything else en route to a 6-2 nonconference victory Thursday at South Medford High School.

Ashland’s Rox Rogers dominated the No. 1 singles match, beating Enoch Cunningham 6-0, 6-0, while Ashland’s No. 1 doubles team of Owen DiRienzo and Henry Cook beat Seth Parks and Gray Bastion, 6-1, 6-3.

SINGLES — Rox Rogers, A, d. Enoch Cunningham, 6-0, 6-0; Nolan Bartlett, SM, d. Matthew Montes, 6-4, 6-1; Luke Parks, SM, d. Yize Yum, 6-3, 6-3; Kennon Pulsipher, 6-1, 6-0.

DOUBLES — Owen DiRienzo-Henry Cook, A, d. Seth Parks-Gray Bastion, 6-1, 6-3; Jonah Michael-Elliot Hikade, SM, d. Gabe Dreyer-Jackson McRae, 6-4, 6-2; Tanner Allen-Blake Bennett, SM, d. Charlie Burr-Peter Sloan, 6-1, 6-2.

— Joe Zavala contributed to this report.


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