Raiders’ Quirke earns NAIA Player of the Year Award
ASHLAND — There was little Lauren Quirke didn’t do for the Southern Oregon softball team, and now there’s little she hasn’t won after being named the 2021 NAIA Player of the Year on Tuesday by the national office.
Quirke, a senior third baseman/pitcher, became the second Raider to collect the award in three years and a two-time All-American. Pitcher Gabby Sandoval and catcher Allie Stines, also seniors, landed on the NAIA All-America first team for the second time and junior catcher/designated player Riley Donovan received second-team kudos. Hannah Shimek, a senior second baseman, got honorable mention recognition.
Among all NAIA players, Quirke was No. 1 in hits (101), No. 2 in RBIs (70) and total bases (162), No. 5 in average (.488) and No. 6 in runs scored (64). She hit 10 home runs and 20 doubles, breaking the Cascade Conference’s career batting average record at .470. And among all CCC pitchers, she was No. 1 in win percentage (17-2, .895) and No. 3 in ERA (1.84).
Quirke joined the Raiders prior to the 2019 season, which she finished as the NAIA World Series MVP. She’s since been named a CoSIDA Academic All-American, a CCC Scholar Athlete of the Year, and a repeat NAIA World Series All-Tournament team performer.
She transferred from College of San Mateo, which also produced SOU’s first NAIA Player of the Year, Harlee Donovan (2018), as well as Stines and Riley Donovan.
Stines — who on Monday was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s NAIA Catcher of the Year — batted .440 and led the country in doubles with 34, the second-most in NAIA single-season history and enough to give her the CCC career record (73). On the NAIA leaderboard, she was also second in hits (95), fourth in triples (9), total bases (156) and runs scored (67), and seventh in RBIs (63). Behind the plate, the left-hander threw out eight of 19 attempted base-stealers.
Sandoval went 32-4 with a 1.60 ERA, 30 complete games, 14 shutouts, 198 strikeouts and a .203 opponents’ average over 218 1/3 innings pitched. The two-time CCC Pitcher of the Year finished her Raider career with a 1.83 ERA over 905 2/3 frames, and tied for second on the NAIA’s all-time wins list with a record of 122-21.
Donovan, the CCC Newcomer of the Year and NAIA World Series MVP, finished her first season at SOU batting .448 with eight home runs, 33 total extra-base hits and 66 RBIs. She went 11-for-17 with two home runs, two doubles, eight RBIs and seven walks at the NAIA World Series, hitting the go-ahead home run in the ninth inning of the championship clincher against Oregon Tech.
Shimek batted .423 with 43 RBIs and an NAIA-best 69 runs scored. She also ranked second in the NAIA in triples (10) and fifth in total hits (91), and stole 34 bases on 37 attempts. She was named to the All-CCC first team for the second time and landed on the World Series all-tournament team.