Columbia athletics

UBC softball honored with conference awards

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The 2022 Cascade Collegiate Conference Softball postseason awards were announced Thursday by the conference office.

The UBC Thunderbirds won the Les Schwab Team Sportsmanship Award after a season that really showcased the program genre. T-Birds Head Coach Gord Collings built. Mia Valcke was named to the CCC first team as Emma Dorval earned second-team CCC honors.

Valcke averaged .354 at home plate this season, connecting on three home runs, seven doubles and his 11 stolen bases led the team.

Dorval’s stellar first season as a T-Bird earned him a berth on the conference second team by batting .345 with 30 hits and 15 RBIs.

Olivia Malesku was a second-team honorable mention after a strong first season that showed consistency and positional versatility.

The top two seeds in the CCC Softball Tournament, presented by US Bank, each had two big winners. Southern Oregon University’s No. 8 Riley Donovan was named WVT Lab Player of the Year, while Cayla Williams took home Newcomer of the Year. 4-ranked Oregon Tech saw Sarah Abramson land pitcher of the year and Greg Stewart was selected coach of the year. UBC received the Les Schwab Sportsmanship Award.

Donovan, a junior from Half Moon Bay, Calif., had a stellar second season with the Raiders after being named CCC Newcomer of the Year and NAIA World Series MVP last year. Heading into the playoffs, Donovan ranks in several NAIA stat categories, including: first in RBI (83), first in walks (46), first in on-base percentage (.611), second in home runs ( 17), second in doubles (22) and third in batting average (.503). She has already broken two SOU records in a single season and could set more before the end of the season.

Abramson, a senior from Milwaukie, Oregon, led the Owls to capture the CCC regular season title and earn hosting honors as the conference tournament seed. She boasts a 1.86 ERA (fourth in the conference) and is a circle force with 24 wins (third in the NAIA) under her belt. Abramson is a knockout queen with 202 strikeouts (eighth in the NAIA), including 54 seeking, to hold opponents to a .190 batting average — which leads the CCC.
Williams, a junior from San Jose, transferred to the Raider team after two seasons at West Valley College and became a key part of SOU’s success as a threat both in the circle and in the batting box. Only behind Donovan, Williams has a .480 batting average and .824 hitting percentage. She has 17 doubles, one triple and eight home runs heading into the playoffs. In the circle, Williams has a 1.68 ERA (first in the CCC) with 16 wins (third in the conference), four saves (first in the CCC) and 83 strikeouts. She holds her opponents to a .204 batting average (fourth in the conference) and helped the Raiders to eight shutouts.

In his 18th year in charge of the Owls, Stewart led Oregon Tech to win the regular-season conference championship. After finishing second in the NAIA, the Owls started the year as the NAIA’s No. 1 ranked team and never slipped into the top five. Under Stewart, the Owls have the best pitching staff in the conference with a 2.09 team ERA, totaling 331 strikeouts, including 102 seeking. The Owl offense also ranks second in the conference with a .341 batting average, 386 runs scored, 332 RBI and 41 home runs. This is the seventh time he has won CCC Coach of the Year.

OIT and SOU each had seven all-conference selections, while Eastern Oregon University, ranked No. 15, had four to win the honor and the College of Idaho, ranked No. 20, saw six win the accolade. Northwest University made history and saw its first-ever all-conference honorees.

HERE is a complete list of this year’s All-Conference and Gold Glove winners, as voted on by CCC’s head softball coaches. The Gold Glove is awarded to the best defensive players at each position.