Oakland Softball Team closes out season with pair of Horizon League championships


Jose Juarez

Oakland softball lost via mercy rule to the Michigan State Spartans on Sunday. Photo courtesy of OU Athletics.

The winter semester of classes ended last month and students are off for the summer, but student athletes that participate in spring sports are still competing and hoping to win championships. 

The Oakland softball team is doing just that. Despite going just 7-6 in its last 13 regular season games, the Golden Grizzlies put together a good enough season to claim the Horizon League regular season title. 

The Golden Grizzlies dropped a three-game series against Cleveland State during exam week back in April as the final stretch of the season loomed. 

Oakland then got back on track with a double-header sweep of Youngstown State. Runs were hard to come by for both the Golden Grizzlies and the Penguins, as the two-game combined score was just 4-1 in favor of Oakland.

The Golden Grizzly winning streak was extended to three games on April 29 when Sydney Campbell made light work of the Robert Morris lineup. Campbell pitched a complete-game, six-strikeout shutout.

However, the series was spoiled on Senior Day when the Colonials stole a pair of games to win the series. 

Oakland then opened the month of May with a split double header with IUPUI. The team then closed out the regular season with a series victory over Green Bay to clinch the regular season Horizon League championship. 

The Golden Grizzlies finished the regular season with an 18-7 conference record, which was good enough for a first-place finish and the No. 1 overall seed in the Horizon League Tournament. 

Oakland then set its sights on the Horizon League Tournament, which it came up just one run short of winning last season. Head coach Lauren Karn explained before the season began that winning the league championship was one of the most important goals for the 2022 team.

“We have a very specific goal now,” Karn said. “When it comes to winning the championship, that’s not the only thing that’s going to define our success, but it is a big part of what we’re working for every single day.”

The Golden Grizzlies began their quest for their second championship of the season with a 2-0 victory over the Green Bay Phoenix in the tournament’s opening round. Campbell pitched another seven-inning shutout as she lifted Oakland to the second round.

Campbell pitched again on Friday in the second round matchup against Northern Kentucky. The Grizzlies’ ace went seven full innings yet again, and the Oakland bats added a few insurance runs to send the Grizzlies to the championship game. 

Oakland then found itself in the same situation as last season. Just one win away from claiming both the regular season and tournament titles, the Golden Grizzlies delivered. Robert Morris claimed an early lead, but Oakland scored four runs in the final three innings to secure the championship. 

Oakland will now head to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. The team will face the ninth-ranked Northwestern Wildcats in the Evanston Regional on Friday, May 20 at 4:30 p.m.