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SOU ROUNDUP: Raiders to host CCC tourney, NAIA first round

ASHLAND — Southern Oregon will begin another softball playoff run Friday at University Field in the Cascade Conference Championships, and for the third consecutive postseason the Raiders will serve as hosts in the opening round of the NAIA championships the following week.

The national office announced the 10 opening round hosts Monday for the four-team, double-elimination tournaments that will play out May 17-19 across the NAIA. The No. 1-ranked Raiders (45-3 overall) will again partner with the city of Medford to hold the Southern Oregon Bracket at U.S. Cellular Community Park.

The NAIA selects hosts based on geography, facilities and national rankings, but does not consider sites without field lights, which rules out SOU’s own University Field.

The complete 40-team NAIA championship field will be revealed May 11 upon the conclusion of conference tournaments. After the 10 opening round champions are crowned, they’ll advance to the NAIA World Series, set for May 27 through June 2 in Columbus, Georgia.

SOU opens the CCC Tournament at 2 p.m. Friday against the winner of an early game between No. 4 seed Corban and No. 5 seed Eastern Oregon.

Due to Jackson County being in the “Extreme Risk” category and under SOU policies, only 75 fans will be allowed inside University Field for each game.

For non-SOU games, seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For all SOU games, there will be 25 available for the visiting team on a first-come, first-served basis and 50 reserved for a home team guest list.

Fans can also watch free of charge from the areas outside of the large main fence down the left- and right-field lines. Fans must wear masks on SOU property at all times.

Track and Field

BRYAN HONORED: Garrett Bryan has been voted a Cascade Conference athlete of the week, the league announced Monday.

Bryan, a pole vaulter for the Southern Oregon University men’s track and field team, became an automatic qualifier for the NAIA championships with his performance Friday at the Oregon State University High Performance Meet.

The product of Mount Shasta, California, cleared 16 feet, ½ inch for the top mark in the CCC this season and the No. 8 mark on the NAIA list. He placed second of 11 overall.

Bryan’s mark was his best since debuting with the Raiders in 2019 by a margin of more than 10 inches. He now owns the No. 4 spot on SOU’s all-time pole vault list.

He’ll be back in action May 14-15 in La Grande at the CCC Championships, where he placed sixth in the pole vault in 2019.