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SOU softball bows out of CCC tourney

KLAMATH FALLS — Mia Valcke and the British Columbia Thunderbirds directed Southern Oregon to an early exit Saturday in the Cascade Conference Championships presented by U.S. Bank with a 10-2, six-inning upset at Stilwell Stadium.

The eighth-ranked and No. 2-seeded Raiders led 2-1 until a disastrous fifth inning, where Valcke ripped a two-out, two-run double off the wall. An SOU error opened the door for four more runs.

Valcke then hit a two-run home run in the sixth, sending SOU to its first run-rule loss since 2018.

The Raiders (46-12), who lost their tournament opener 3-1 to Eastern Oregon on Friday, will still be in the NAIA Softball Championship Opening Round, hosting May 16-18 at Medford’s Lithia & Driveway Fields. Their guests will be revealed Tuesday during the selection show. They also entered last season’s national playoffs after a disappointing showing at the CCC Tournament, going 1-2 as the top seed.

UBC (21-19), the No. 5 seed, advanced to play another elimination game at 4:30 p.m. against College of Idaho. The Thunderbirds got a solid pitching performance from Shelby Kempel, who worked around nine hits and four walks to defeat SOU for the second time this season. The Raiders left 10 runners on base.

After leading the NAIA in runs scored during the regular season, the Raiders were held under three in back-to-back games for the first time in 2022. Phelicity Fa’aita and Sarah Kerling had two hits apiece, and Kerling and Ashton Cathey had their RBIs. Riley Donvovan reached base all four plate appearances with a hit and three walks, but the Raiders couldn’t take advantage.

Katie Machado gave up with five runs, but just three were earned over 4 2/3 innings. She fell to 14-4.