Rio softball westbound for NAIA opener


By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing



Members of the 2022 University of Rio Grande softball team pose for a picture after being crowned as the River States Conference regular season champions. The RedStorm head to Oregon for their opening round matchup in the NAIA Tournament.

Members of the 2022 University of Rio Grande softball team pose for a picture after being crowned as the River States Conference regular season champions. The RedStorm head to Oregon for their opening round matchup in the NAIA Tournament.


Courtesy photo

RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande will face William Jessup (Calif.) University in the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round’s Klamath Falls Bracket.

The RedStorm and the Warriors will square off on Monday, May 16, at 3 p.m. EDT, at Stillwell Stadium in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Rio Grande (39-13), which qualified for the tournament as the River States Conference’s regular season championship, is seeded third in the four-team, double-elimination bracket.

The RedStorm is coming off a 2-2 showing in the RSC Championship, dropping a pair of last at-bat decisions to eventual tourney champ St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.

William Jessup (36-13), the No. 2 seed in the bracket, was the regular-season and tournament champion of the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). The 36 wins represent a single-season high for the Warriors and the national tournament berth is a first in program history.

Third-year head coach Brie Campbell’s squad include six all-GSAC selections. Campbell was named the GSAC Coach of the Year.

Offensively, Jessup is led by graduate senior outfielder Kaela Hangebrauck (.360, 9 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 31 RBI), freshman utility standout Maddy Ybarra (.349, 6 2B, 10 3B, 8 HR, 29 RBI, 34 SB), freshman infielder Natalie Nash (.331, 14 2B) and sophomore utility Sam Lorge (.314, 10 HR, 41 RBI).

Pitching-wise, the Warriors are fueled by the duo of sophomore right-handers Katie Blankenheim (19-4, 2.07 ERA) and Maikayla Nelson (12-6, 2.41 ERA).

The bracket is being hosted by top-seeded and fourth-ranked Oregon Tech (46-10), which will take on No. 4 seed Cottey (Mo.) College (30-15) in Monday’s second game at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

The host Owls were champions of the Cascade Collegiate Conference this season, while the Comets earned a spot in the tournament after finishing as runner-up in the CAC Tournament.

The two winning teams from Monday will square off at 3 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, with the two losing teams playing at 5:30 p.m.. An elimination game will follow at 8 p.m. EDT.

Wednesday’s championship first final is slated for 4 p.m. EDT, with a second final — if needed- set for 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Members of the 2022 University of Rio Grande softball team pose for a picture after being crowned as the River States Conference regular season champions. The RedStorm head to Oregon for their opening round matchup in the NAIA Tournament.
https://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2022/05/web1_5.13-RIO-sb.jpgMembers of the 2022 University of Rio Grande softball team pose for a picture after being crowned as the River States Conference regular season champions. The RedStorm head to Oregon for their opening round matchup in the NAIA Tournament. Courtesy photo

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.