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Donovan, Raiders win big as Cascade Conference awards get handed out

ASHLAND — Entering their respective senior seasons, Southern Oregon catcher Harlee Donovan and shortstop Kelsey Randall were household names on a team that was coming off one of its best years in program history.

They both, unsurprisingly, lived up to the billing. And because of it, both were recognized on Thursday night for it.

Donovan became the first Southern Oregon player to be named the Cascade Conference’s Player of the Year in 15 years while Randall, the Raiders’ speedy leadoff hitter, became the first player in school history to win a gold glove in all four years she’s played in, it was announced at the CCC Softball Tournament banquet.

Their head coach, Jessica Pistole, was also honored as the CCC’s Coach of the Year award, the second time in the last three years she has earned that distinction.

Corban, the No. 2 seed behind SOU at this weekend’s conference tournament, took home the other two individual awards. Senior Sabrina Boyd was named CCC Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season, while junior shortstop Mahina Chong was named the CCC’s top newcomer.

A total of six Raiders earned all-conference recognition, while SOU set a single-season school record with five different players winning gold gloves.

Donovan, Randall, freshman outfielder Olivia Mackey and sophomore pitcher Gabby Sandoval were all first-team all-conference picks, while freshman second baseman Hannah Shimek and freshman first baseman Tayler Walker were named to the honorable mention team.

Donovan, Walker, Randall, Sandoval and freshman center fielder Hannah Wessel all won gold gloves.

Donovan, a first-team all-CCC selection last season, has been leading the CCC in more than just a few offensive categories since the early stages of the 2018 season. Entering this weekend’s conference tournament at University Field, Donovan is tops in the CCC in seven different categories — batting average (.453), slugging percentage (.753), on-base percentage (.576), RBIs (59). hits (68) total bases (113) and walks (44).

Of the 13 home runs the Raiders have hit this season, Donovan has eight of them.

Randall — who has set new CCC career records for hits (319), stolen bases (147) and triples (28), and is three runs away from tying another record (221) — finished the regular season with the third-highest batting average on the team (.368) while leading the conference in triples (9) and trailing only Donovan with 66 hits.

Mackey, one of SOU’s many standout freshmen this season, is second on the team with a .400 batting average and ranks fourth on the team with 46 hits.

Sandoval has only gotten better after her solid freshman campaign a year ago, finishing the regular season with a 1.83 ERA while leading the CCC with 20 wins, the first time the Raiders have had a 20-game winner since 2009. Sandoval’s 111 strikeouts in 153 1/3 innings rank her fourth in the CCC.

Shimek, one of four SOU players to appear in all 53 games, has recorded a .324 batting average hitting between Randall and Donovan in the order, while Walker has emerged as a quality middle of the order hitter, whose batting average — which currently sits at .352 — has dropped below .320 just once since the middle of March.

Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.