Southern Oregon University softball coach Jessica Pistole, who guided her team last month to SOU’s first-ever national championship in a women’s sport, was the NAIA Softball Coach of the Year on Wednesday.
The fifth-year head coach has led the Raiders to three consecutive NAIA World Series appearances. This year’s team made it through the winners bracket of the double-elimination tournament unbeaten, then had two chances to beat longtime powerhouse Oklahoma City, which came out of the loser’s bracket needing a two-game sweep.
Oklahoma City won the first game before the Raiders won the World Series with an 8-3 win in an elimination game for both teams.
SOU went 15-23 the season before Pistole became head coach and has gone 219-82 in the five seasons since, including a 149-38 mark over the last three years.
Pistole and her assistant coaches – Duane Pardue, Cheyenne Bricker, Mike Mayben and Harlee Donovan – last week were named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s NAIA National Coaching Staff of the Year.
The program has also won three consecutive Cascade Conference regular-season titles and three consecutive conference tournament titles, and has set program records for wins in each of the last three seasons.
The Raiders have earned NAIA Scholar Team honors each season under Pistole.
The coach, originally from Loomis, California, was named the CCC Coach of the Year for the third time this season.
Her team finished this season with a 52-8 record and its first-ever No. 1 ranking in the final NAIA Top 25 poll.
The Raiders ranked sixth nationally in hits per game (10.3), seventh in team batting average (.360) and runs (7.0), and 16th in earned-run average (2.08).They also committed fewer than half as many fielding errors (58) as their opponents (118).
This story is based on an earlier version at souraiders.com