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Oregon Tech puts an end to SOU's season

The Raiders fall in the NAIA Region I tournament, but conclude their season with a 28-9 record and a second-place finish in the Cascade Conference

PORTLAND - In just its second season, the Southern Oregon University softball program has established itself as a regional power.

But an overall successful sophomore campaign doesn't take away the pain of Friday's season-ending loss to Oregon Tech in the NAIA Region I tournament at Delta Park.

The Raiders, who beat OIT, 4-0, on Thursday and finished the season 4-3 against the Owls, needed three consecutive victories Friday to advance to the NAIA Championships.

OIT, however, had different plans, jumping on SOU with two first-inning runs and posting a 6-1 win in a loser-out consolation contest.

Cascade Conference player-of-the-year Leah Azevedo was the Owls' big bat, picking up three hits in four at-bats, including a two-run home run in the fifth to stake OIT to a 6-0 lead. Azevedo produced three RBIs in all.

Meagan Webber blasted a two-run bomb in the third, and the Owls struck with three hits and three stolen bases in the first.

Raiders ace Brandi Brown showed the effects of 13? innings pitched on Thursday, as she allowed 11 hits to end the season with a 25-8 record. In the regional, Brown pitched all 20? innings for SOU.

"We were playing on shear emotion," Raiders head coach James Gravelle said. "Brandi gave me everything she had. She was beat up."

Freshman outfielder Alyssa Ellis drove in the Raiders' lone run with a two-out single that scored Latisha Inget in the bottom of the seventh inning.

SOU ends the season with a 28-9 record. The Raiders finished second to OIT in the Cascade Conference and made their first-ever trip to regionals.

"We did not hit the ball very well at all," Gravelle said of the season-ending defeat. "But these girls gave me everything they had since day one, and it showed until the last inning of the last game."

The Owls advanced to play Simon Fraser and, needing two straight wins over the second-ranked Clan to earn a berth in the national tournament, lost in the first game.

Oregon Tech .................................. 202 020 0 - 6 11 0

Southern Oregon ............................. 000 000 — - — 6 0

Ernstrom, Palmateer (5) and Azevedo; Brown and Marshall. W - Ernstrom (20-4). L - Brown (25-8). 2B - OIT: Webber, Azevedo. HR - OIT: Webber, Azevedo.