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Seven Raiders earn all-CCC honors

ASHLAND — Junior catcher Riley Donovan became the third different Southern Oregon softball player in four seasons to take home the Cascade Conference player of the year award Thursday, headlining the Raiders’ strong showing on the CCC awards list released by the league office.

In addition to Donovan’s top honor, Cayla Williams was named the CCC Newcomer of the Year and a Gold Glove-winner at pitcher. Donovan, Williams, second baseman Deja Acosta and third baseman/pitcher Phelicity Fa’aita were among 18 players on the All-CCC first team.

First baseman Ashton Cathey and pitcher Katie Machado earned second-team honors, while third baseman Piper Love received honorable mention.

Despite losing eight of their 10 all-conference selections to graduation following last season, the Raiders matched Oregon Tech as the teams with the most honorees.

Donovan was the only one on the roster in 2021 and will be a frontrunner for the NAIA player-of-the-year award thanks to a monster regular season that anchored the country’s top-scoring team.

On the national leaderboard, the Half Moon Bay, Calif., native ranks first in hits (81), RBIs (83) and on-base percentage (.611), second in home runs (17), doubles (22) and slugging percentage (1.006), third in batting average (.503), and fifth in runs scored (65). Her home run and RBI totals are already SOU single-season records.

Behind Donovan, Williams arguably made the next-best case for top honors in her first season at SOU. At 18-2 in the circle, the junior right-hander leads all CCC players in win percentage (.889) and ERA (1.50) over 116 1/3 innings pitched. At the plate, she ranks second behind Donovan in batting average (.484) with eight home runs, 17 doubles and 52 RBIs. She was an easy pick for the Gold Glove with an unblemished fielding percentage, having turned all 59 grounders hit back to her into outs.

From the leadoff spot, Acosta tops the NAIA in runs scored with a new Raider record of 77, leads the CCC with seven triples and ranks second in stolen bases with 46 in 49 attempts. She’s batted .385 with 18 total extra-base hits and 38 RBIs. Fa’aita proved valuable as a pitcher with a 10-2 record and 3.98 ERA, and as a hitter with a .434 average, nine home runs, 13 doubles and 45 RBIs.

On the second team, Cathey would have matched the SOU home-run record if not for Donovan, launching 12 of them and batting .414 with 23 extra-base hits and 48 RBIs. Machado emerged as another ace, going 14-3 with a 1.94 ERA and six shutouts.

Love has batted .421 as a freshman and matched Acosta for the league lead in triples. She added seven homers and five doubles to drive in 31 runs.

Regular season champion OIT’s Sarah Abramson was voted the conference pitcher of the year and Greg Stewart the CCC coach of the year.

The Raiders (46-10 overall), who went 24-6 in conference play, open the CCC Tournament as the No. 2 seed at 4:30 p.m. today in Klamath Falls. They’ll meet the winner of an early game between No. 3 seed Eastern Oregon and No. 6 seed Corban.