Defending NE 2B champs hope to get on field this week
Donâ€™t talk to Kettle Falls High softball coach Amy Owens and her team about the effects of Global Warming. As far as Owens and the Lady Bulldogs are concerned, it has been pretty much the return of the ice age.
Welcome to Northeast Washington, spring sports and all those â€śliquidâ€ť schedules.
As of this writing, KFHS still hadnâ€™t been able to get on their field because of the snow, ice and water. No, donâ€™t talk about infield dirt. Owens and her girls are still looking at mud.
â€śItâ€™s been tough,â€ť conceded Owens, in her second year at the helm. â€śWeâ€™ve been chopping at ice and digging trenches to drain the water.â€ť
Kettle Falls was scheduled to host Omak last Saturday. No, there were no miracles forthcoming and the Lady Bulldogs didnâ€™t have room to play that one in the gym. Moving the game to Omak didnâ€™t help either. Their field wasnâ€™t playable on a wet weekend.
Chewelah scheduled at home on Friday
Owens and her girls are working to get the field in shape for a single game on Friday (4 p.m.) against Chewelah.
It was an auspicious inaugural campaign for the Kettle Falls product last spring. Owens led the Lady Bulldogs to a 22-4 season, a Northeast 2B (Bi-County) League championship, a District 7 2B title and State berth in Yakima.
Kettle Falls lost six key seniors off that team. All six players started.
â€śWe have some holes to fill,â€ť conceded Owens, who greeted a big group of 42 players back in late February when workouts began in the gym. Those numbers, and the fact that KFHS wonâ€™t field a C squad, meant that Owens and her staff had to go through the cut process for the first time.
â€śThat was awful,â€ť Owens conceded. â€śWe couldnâ€™t find any games (for a C squad) so we had to cut.â€ť
When it was all said and done, 33 players tried out for varsity and junior varsity spots; 27 were kept.
Owens concedes that last season there really were no expectations. Well, this time around, KFHS isnâ€™t going to sneak up on anyone in their second season at Class 2B (the Lady Bulldogs will be forced to move up to the Class 1A Northeast A League next fall for at least the two-year cycle).
There are four seniors on this yearâ€™s teamâ€”Jessica West, Sam Adams, Dylanie Robertson and Peyton Rogalette.
â€śThe seniors are stepping up and providing good leadership,â€ť Owens said, adding that â€śI think this group will be competitive. I think that at this point, if we had an indoor softball program, weâ€™d be very tough.
â€śThe girls are working hard. They are focused and there seems to be good chemistry. We just need to get on our field.â€ť
Back in the circle for Kettle Falls will be junior Krislin McInelly. She logged a lot of innings last season and will be relied on to carry the bulk of the load this spring.
â€śShe has worked at it and attended some camps,â€ť Owens said. â€śKrislin also is a strong player offensively and has a good bat.â€ť
Those six seniors will be hard to replace and replicating a season where losses were few and far between may be hard to duplicate. But that said, the Lady Bulldogs will certainly be in the Northeast 2B mix with the likes of veteran Colfax, Lind-Ritzville/Sprague, Reardan and Northwest Christian.
One thing is certain, Owens will be working harder to implement the â€śShort Gameâ€ť into her teamâ€™s offensive arsenal this spring. There is good speed on the team and she plans to utilize that.
â€śI learned a lot at the state tournament last year about the short game (bunting, slapping),â€ť she said. â€śI was never really big on that, but itâ€™s a huge part of the gameâ€¦we will bring that element in this spring.â€ť
Seniorsâ€”Sam Adams, Dylanie Robertson, Jessica West and Peyton Rogalette.
Juniorsâ€”Annie Anderson, Kelsey Eslick, Katie Harris, Krislin McInelly, Jessica Passmore, Serena Pounds.
Sophomoresâ€”Kourtney Keenan and Emily Owens.
Friday, March 23â€”Chewelah at Kettle Falls, 4
Saturday, March 24â€”At Liberty (DH), noon
Tuesday, March 27â€”At Northwest Christian (DH), 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 7â€”At Colfax (DH), noon
Saturday, April 14â€”Lind-Ritzville at Kettle Falls (DH), noon
Thursday, April 19â€”At Priest River, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 24â€”At Reardan (DH), 3 p.m.
Tuesday, May 1â€”Davenport at Kettle Falls (DH), 3 p.m.
Thursday, May 3â€”At Freeman, 4:30 p.m.