Southern Oregon University’s Softball seniors left with difficult choice

ASHLAND, Ore. — The defending National Champion Southern Oregon University softball team had big plans for this season. They had barely begun when players’ dreams of defending the school’s title were crushed due to coronavirus. Now the seniors are left with a difficult choice.

“Today we would’ve been playing a doubleheader,” senior, Paige Leeper said.

After a record-breaking 2019 season, the Southern Oregon University softball team had one thing on their minds — winning. But now, dreams of a back to back championship run is out of the question. The NAIA made the decision to cancel all athletic events, leaving college athletes confronted by the end of their season before it’s even begun.

“You don’t know how much you love the game until you it’s taken away from you,” senior, Hannah Wessel said.

Seniors are now facing an extremely tough choice, one they could never have even considered. Wait another year to graduate, go for another degree or leave school, giving them no chance to defend the school’s first softball national title.

“It’s like a hundred pieces to a puzzle we’re not even sure how it’s going to look at the end. It’s a lot of consideration, I’m done with my major at the end of spring term,” Leeper said. “There’s just a lot of other things that go into it.”

The seven seniors say it’s not an easy decision and they’re still processing the pros and cons.

“If I can’t picture my life without softball I’ll have to really think about coming back,” Wessel said.

They say they’re glad they have both SOU and their teammates behind them wherever they go next.

“When you’re in this world, you feel like you’re the only person being affected but it’s a whole world that’s being affected,” Leeper said. “It just hits a little harder when it hits your world.”

SOU’s athletic director said these spring athletes don’t have a deadline to make this decision. The door is open if and when these spring athletes decide to come back.
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