Northwest Softball Steals the NAIA Spotlight with 1-2-3 Finish
By Tom Mauldin - June 6, 2021
Traditional powers Washington and Oregon didn’t make the 2021 Women’s Softball College Division 1 World Series, but in the world of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), it was a Northwest sweep for the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
The CCC didn’t just steal the spotlight at the NAIA World Series in Columbus, GA., they dominated it as Southern Oregon University (Ashland), the Oregon Institute of Technology (Klamath Falls), and the College of Idaho (Caldwell) finished ONE-TWO-THREE.
Say it again — a clean sweep for the CCC — ONE, TWO, THREE.
Teams from the CCC have always made strong showings at the national. SOU was defending National Title winner, Corban was runner up four years ago and OIT grabbed a title in 2011. However, the top three finish is a first for the CCC and the Northwest.
All three teams have Fastpitch Northwest alumni in their lineups.
The final rounds of the NAIA championship tournament had a CCC loo to it with SOU, OIT and COI all playing one another. OIT won the CCC tournament defeating COI in the finals. SOU was third.
COI (44-18) put SOU (55-6) in the loser’s bracket, but the Red Raiders reeled off five-straight wins including 3-2 and 7-5 in nine innings over OIT (48-10) to defend their 2019 title. There was no 2020 champion due to the coronavirus pandemic cancellation of most sports activities nationally.
Washington, which finished the season losing five of its final 10 games, lost to No. 1 Oklahoma and failed to advance to the WCWS. The Huskies were 45-14 for the 2021 season.
Oregon was eliminated in the postseason by Texas, which lost in the Super Regional to Oklahoma State. The Ducks finished the season 40-17.
Former NAIA members Pacific Lutheran (Tacoma, WA), Simon Fraser (B.C., CA) and Western Washington also have titles. Simon Fraser (four titles) and WWU (1) are members of the NCAA D2. PLU, now an NACC D3 member, has two NAIA championships.
SFU’s four titles are second most to Oklahoma City University’s 10 titles.
Western Washington (23-14) won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament, but lost two straight in the first round of the NCAA D2 tournament.
Regular season champion Northwest Nazarene (31-14) and Central Washington (18-16) went 1-2 in the postseason.
Linfield (38-8) went 2-2 in the NCAA D3 Regionals.
With no Northwest teams in the NCAA D1 finals, the focus turns to Fastpitch Northwest Prospect Evaluation Camps. Click her to register for a PEC near you.