Lady Owls Sweep Corban to Claim CCC Title
Oregon Tech Senior Brittany Cherry hit a 5th inning game winning grand slam homerun to lift No. 17 Oregon Tech past Corban University 6-3 (Photo by Kelly Caleb)
SALEM, Ore. – No. 17 Oregon Tech (32-11, 18-4 CCC) swept a conference double header from Corban University (20-15, 12-8 CCC) Friday at Warrior Field, 6-3 & 8-2, to clinch the outright Cascade Collegiate Conference regular season title and the No. 1 seed in this year's CCC Championship tournament.
The CCC Tournament will feature the top three finishers in the CCC's regular season standings on May 6th and 7th in Klamath Falls. The tournament champion will then earn the conference's automatic bid to the NAIA Championships, which are slated for May 19-25 in Gulf Shores, Ala.
In the opener, Oregon Tech would get on the board first when freshman Shauna Collins drew a lead off walk before coming home two batters later on a single to center field by sophomore Jess Plummer to put the nationally-ranked Owls up by a single run (1-0).
Oregon Tech would add another run in the top of the third inning when Collins registered a one-out single to second base before stealing second and coming home on a single up the middle by junior Ashleigh Larson to make the score 2-0 in favor of the visiting Owls.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Corban finally got on the board when sophomore Stephanie Nippert led off the frame with her 15th home run of the season over the right field fence making the score 2-1. One batter later, sophomore Tamara Feb belted her fifth home run of the season over the right center field fence to tie the score at 2-all through four innings of play.
Oregon Tech would waste no time in retaking the lead, as the Owls plated four runs in the top of the fifth inning on a pair of hits. Senior Brittany Cherry would be the dagger in the Warriors’ armor when she hit her third home run of the season via a grand slam that sailed deep over the left field fence to put the Owls up by four runs (6-2). Corban nearly got out of the inning unscathed, as Corban's fourth-year head coach Nathan Ohta made a strategic move with runners on second and third by walking Larson to load the bases with one out. OIT's Plummer would hit a ground ball back to the pitcher, as Corban attempted to end the inning with a double play but could not complete the play despite getting the lead runner. Unfortunately, Cherry would embark on an eight-pitch battle with the Warriors’ pitcher before depositing the eventual game-winning hit on the opposite side of the fence.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, junior Emma Winckler and freshman Courtney Castronovo led off with back-to-back doubles with the second hit driving home Corban’s third and final run of the afternoon. The Warriors had a chance to extend the game with runners on first and second following an infield single by junior Abbie Pynch with two outs, but OIT’s pitcher got the final out with Nippert waiting in the on-deck circle.
Tech’s Jackie Imhof improved to 16-5 on the season, while Corban's Makenzie Marchbanks evened her record at 9-9 after each pitcher went the distance.
In the finale, neither team scored in the opening inning before Oregon Tech exploded for six runs on four hits in the second inning with sophomore Taylor Schmidt and Larson both hitting home runs via a two-run and three-run blast, respectively.
Corban would get one run back in the bottom of the fourth inning when Nippert doubled to right center with one out before coming home on a Feb single to left field that pulled the Warriors within five runs (6-1).
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Nippert took the second pitch that she saw to lead off the inning deep down the left field line over the fence for her 16th home run of the season making the score 6-2 in favor of the visiting Owls.
Oregon Tech would add two more runs in the top of the seventh inning, as Collins led off with a double to left center before coming around to score on Larson’s double to right field. Plummer would bring Larson home with a run-scoring single to right field that would cap the game’s scoring at 8-2.
Tech’s Taylor Schmidt pitched a complete game allowing two earned runs with a game-high five strikeouts, while Winckler went the opening 1.2 innings allowing six runs (three earned) on five hits for Corban before giving way to junior reliever Brittany Wagner for the final 5.1 innings of work.
Both teams will return to action tomorrow – Saturday, April 23rd – with Corban hosting the Raiders of Southern Oregon and Oregon Tech traveling south to take on Northwest Christian. The late-morning double headers will start at 11:00 a.m. in Salem and Eugene.
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