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SOU’s Pistole receives 2nd NAIA Coach of the Year honor

ASHLAND — Jessica Pistole’s successful return to Southern Oregon University resulted in a second straight NAIA Softball Coach of the Year award Friday, three weeks after it yielded another national championship.

Pistole earned the same accolade after the Raiders won the same title in 2019, her fifth season at SOU. But her sixth season, preceded by a one-year stint at University of San Diego, was uniquely dominant at nearly every turn.

The Raiders went 55-6 overall, breaking the school wins record for the fourth full season in a row.

They were 26-1 in Cascade Conference play, making them the only team in CCC history to get through the schedule without multiple losses.

And at the NAIA World Series, they became just the second team in 10 years to capture the championship out of the elimination bracket and the second team in 20 years to win at least five consecutive elimination games. They capped the run, of course, with back-to-back victories against rival Oregon Tech, claiming the winner-take-all finale in extra innings.

Pistole is now 274-88 at SOU, giving her a win percentage of .757. She’s produced the only four World Series teams in school history, and those teams have combined to go 204-44 (.823).

Pistole has now coached two NAIA Players of the Year: Harlee Donovan (2018) and Lauren Quirke (2021). In total, 10 Raiders garnered some form of all-star recognition this year, and they’ll soon be named an NAIA Scholar Team again.

Earlier this month, SOU also received the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s NAIA Coaching Staff of the Year accolades.

Jessica Pistole