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Raiders bring it home

The wait was more than worth it.

Displaying all the tenacity that got them to the NAIA World Series in the first place, Southern Oregon University’s softball team started the day Wednesday with an 8-4 loss to third-ranked Oklahoma City University. That meant they had to play a second game to win the title. SOU got two chances to knock off OCU because the Raiders made it through the tournament’s winner’s bracket without a loss and defeated OCU on Monday night.

But the team would have to wait through an agonizing 8.5 hour rain delay when the second game was halted after four innings with SOU up 6-3. That lead was sparked by a first-inning grand slam by shortstop Paige Leeper.

When play resumed at

7:30 p.m. Missouri time, the Raiders held off the Stars, scoring two more runs to take the deciding game 8-3.

SOU’s athletic programs have had dramatic success in recent years, with the football team winning the national championship in 2014 and making the finals the following year. The men’s and women’s basketball teams have made the national championships, along with women’s volleyball, the track and field teams and the wrestling team.

Now, the softball team has brought home a national championship.

These are not big-time college athletes playing for big-name schools with big athletic budgets supported by top-level donations and television revenue. But their success inspires just as much pride — and winning national titles helps to boost enrollment.

Way to go, Raiders, and here’s to future success.

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