Since 2005, the Greater Spokane League has been a driving force for the return of slowpitch softball, and leagues across the state have been picking up the sport again in an effort to provide girls another opportunity to experience a varsity sport in the fall.
With the adoption of a sanctioned state tournament a couple of years ago, the sport continues to gain recognition across the region and state.
In June, Mt. Spokane topped Mead in the “East Region Championship” to win its second softball title of the abbreviated school year and both teams are expected to be at the top of the league again despite significant losses to graduation.
League records from 2021 spring season.
Central Valley (9-2): The Bears have six letter winners and five starters returning for coach Joe Stanton, entering his 17th season. Senior SS Emily Schulhauser and juniors OF Sierra Fischer and CF/P Madison Saty are key cogs. “We are going to have a strong showing defensively and should have plenty of power in our lineup,” Stanton said.
Cheney (6-5): Interim head coach Jeff VanHorne has six letter winners and four starters back, including seniors Pyper and Parker Cagle and Maddie McDowell. “Our strength this season is our infield, as we have a veteran group returning,” VanHorne said. “Unfortunately, our weakness is our multitude of injuries and lack of depth.”
East Valley (6-6): The Knights lost seven letter winners to graduation and have just two starters returning for first-year coach Makayla Shay. Seniors Rachel Throckmorton and Jordan Embree will be counted upon as leaders. “Our strengths are incredibly strong defense, game knowledge and speed,” Shay said.
Ferris (7-5): Linda Bushinski has coached the Saxons since the league readopted the sport in 2005. League MVP Katelyn Strauss has graduated, but younger sister Donyelle, a ninth-grade shortstop, is on the roster to continue the family tradition – she’ll be the fourth sister to come through the program.
Gonzaga Prep (4-8): Coach John Dressler returns for his third season with the Bullpups with five starters returning. Kayla Wende and Justin Burke have already made an impact this season.
Lewis and Clark (3-9): Seven starters are back for first-year coach Jason Wederspahn, including junior all-league selection 3B Olivia Boures. “We’re still very young, with only two seniors returning but the growth of another season should prove beneficial for a couple of key players to make sizable jumps,” Wederspahn said.
Mead (9-2): Coach Tiffany Casedy starts her fifth year with the Panthers with five returning starters, including three all-league picks: senior SS Bailey Wilkins and sophomores C Campbell Brose and 1B/OF Kennedy Sather. “We lost our big senior leaders on our team, but we have some really great girls who are looking forward to stepping into those big shoes and leading this pretty raw and inexperienced team,” Casedy said.
Mt. Spokane (7-3): SS Payton Dressler and 1B/P Jessica Waters were both all-league picks and lead five letter winners returning for ninth-year coach Carl Adams. “If we can learn our roles and improve as we go, I’m excited to see what we can do this season,” he said.
North Central (0-10): The Wolfpack start with 10 letter winners and three starters back for fifth-year coach Chris Lester. Juniors SS Amber McElroy and OF Mia Sebesta were all-league picks, while seniors INF Maddy Nelson and INF/P Sophia Van Sickle are leaders.
Ridgeline (0-0): Coach Alyssa Rasmussen brings a ton of playing experience to the new program with the Falcons. The team is led by five juniors with playing experience: P Charley Palm, INF Samantha Mowery, INF/OF Savannah Smith, OF Mikyla Adams-Smith and OF Lorna Adams-Smith.
Rogers (6-5): Seven Pirates starters return for coach Cris Coffield, entering his 18th season. League co-MVP Destiny Sandbergen graduated, but four all-league picks, including seniors OF Jacintha Moore, rover Abbey Blackwell and OF Sekoiya Davis are back, as well as junior SS Jamie Olsen. “We return half of our full team that was second in state two years ago,” Coffield said. “We will hit for power and play good defense.”
Shadle Park (2-10): Scott Harmon enters his third season with the Highlanders and has five starters back and a strong senior class, led by OF Liz Carter, P/OF Brooklyn Brunette and P/OF Winnie Winchester. “Our slowpitch softball continues to make strides in the right direction,” Harmon said. “We added 10 ninth-graders and are fielding a JV team for the first time in a couple of seasons.”
University (6-4): The Titans will be one of the most experienced teams in the league, with nine starters and 11 letter winners back for third-year coach Matt Connor. Senior OF Jenna Williamson and junior OF Carly Bippes were all-league picks. “We should be a solid defensive team with the ability to score runs with a lot of experience at the plate,” Connor said.
Note: Clarkston, Pullman and West Valley do not field slowpitch programs.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.