Defending NE 2B champs hope to get on field this week
Donât 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 âliquidâ schedules.
As of this writing, KFHS still hadnât been able to get on their field because of the snow, ice and water. No, donât talk about infield dirt. Owens and her girls are still looking at mud.
âItâs been tough,â conceded Owens, in her second year at the helm. âWeâve been chopping at ice and digging trenches to drain the water.â
Kettle Falls was scheduled to host Omak last Saturday. No, there were no miracles forthcoming and the Lady Bulldogs didnât have room to play that one in the gym. Moving the game to Omak didnât help either. Their field wasnât 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.
âWe have some holes to fill,â 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 wonât field a C squad, meant that Owens and her staff had to go through the cut process for the first time.
âThat was awful,â Owens conceded. âWe couldnât find any games (for a C squad) so we had to cut.â
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 isnât 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 yearâs teamâJessica West, Sam Adams, Dylanie Robertson and Peyton Rogalette.
âThe seniors are stepping up and providing good leadership,â Owens said, adding that âI think this group will be competitive. I think that at this point, if we had an indoor softball program, weâd be very tough.
âThe girls are working hard. They are focused and there seems to be good chemistry. We just need to get on our field.â
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.
âShe has worked at it and attended some camps,â Owens said. âKrislin also is a strong player offensively and has a good bat.â
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 âShort Gameâ into her teamâs offensive arsenal this spring. There is good speed on the team and she plans to utilize that.
âI learned a lot at the state tournament last year about the short game (bunting, slapping),â she said. âI was never really big on that, but itâs a huge part of the gameâŠwe will bring that element in this spring.â
SeniorsâSam Adams, Dylanie Robertson, Jessica West and Peyton Rogalette.
JuniorsâAnnie Anderson, Kelsey Eslick, Katie Harris, Krislin McInelly, Jessica Passmore, Serena Pounds.
SophomoresâKourtney Keenan and Emily Owens.
Friday, March 23âChewelah at Kettle Falls, 4
Saturday, March 24âAt Liberty (DH), noon
Tuesday, March 27âAt Northwest Christian (DH), 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 7âAt Colfax (DH), noon
Saturday, April 14âLind-Ritzville at Kettle Falls (DH), noon
Thursday, April 19âAt Priest River, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, April 24âAt Reardan (DH), 3 p.m.
Tuesday, May 1âDavenport at Kettle Falls (DH), 3 p.m.
Thursday, May 3âAt Freeman, 4:30 p.m.