2023 Spring Sports Preview: Fastpitch softball capsules for the Greater Spokane League
Sun., March 19, 2023
From staff reports
Capsules for the fastpitch softball teams in the Greater Spokane League.
Teams listed in alphabetical order. Records and standings from 2022 season.
Central Valley (9-13, 9-9, seventh): Seven starters return for coach Joe Stanton, entering his 13th season with the Bears. First-team senior OF Madison Baty is a leader, joined by senior OF Sierra Fischer and junior 3B Sofia Morales. “We will get a lot of offensive production from the top of the order,” Stanton said. “We will need the bottom to produce.”
Cheney (11-11, 11-7, fourth): The Blackhawks lost three key players to graduation, but coach Gary Blake, in his 18th year, has seven starters back. Senior SS Tatum Sloan leads the pack, along with senior catcher Rhyan Kucirka, junior OF Sedona Ericson and 1B/OF Mia Ashcroft. “We graduated three of our top four hitters,” Blake said. “We will need to step up in order to be competitive in the GSL.”
Ferris (12-10, 10-8, fifth): Veteran coach Linda Bushinski has 10 letterwinners back but has only one senior – 1B Emma LaRue. Juniors C/INF Katelin Terry and SS Mary Johnson are key returners. “We have lots of defensive experience playing together between last spring and this past fall in slowpitch to support and back up our new pitchers,” Bushinski said.
Gonzaga Prep (10-13, 9-9, sixth): John Dressler takes over head coaching duties for the Bullpups with eight returning starters. The team will be led by senior catcher Morgan Cerventes, junior 2B Emma DeLeon and sophomore SS Sydney Wysocki. “So many returning letterwinners will help on both offense and defense,” Dressler said. “Our pitchers are young and inexperienced.”
Lewis and Clark (2-19, 2-16, ninth): Chuck Scheiwiller is the new coach and will lean on seven returning starters, including seniors 3B Olivia Boures and CF Grace Grant, for leadership. “Our keys to be competitive are an active infield defense, aggressive at-bats and a positive approach in dealing with adversity,” Scheiwiller said.
Mead (15-8, 14-4, third): The Panthers have eight starters back for sixth-year coach Tiffany Casedy, led by first-team All-GSL junior C/1B Campbell Brose and second-team senior pitchers Carolyn Tyson Guess and Sierra Wyatt. “We are mostly juniors and seniors who are ready to be at the top of this league,” Casedy said. “We have found a team chemistry and willingness to work really hard for their goals this season.”
Mt. Spokane (17-7, 15-3, second): Carl Adams returns for his 23rd season at the helm and brings back nine letterwinners and eight starters but will have to fill the big shoes of SS Payton Dressler who graduated. League MVP Jessica Waters, the program career and single-season home run leader, and All-GSL first-team picks CF Willow Almquist and UTL Gracie Boe return for their senior season. “We have shown a willingness to want to work hard even as the weather has presented a less than ideal start.”
North Central (1-17, 1-17, 10th): The Wolfpack struggled last season and is under new leadership, with first-time head coach Allison Hochhalter at the helm. “There are many talented players on the roster,” she said, “but we are a completely new team and we plan on redefining North Central fastpitch softball.” Seniors Amber McElroy and Mia Sebesta will be leaders.
Ridgeline (3-15, 3-15, eighth): Second-year coach Alyssa Rasmussen has seven starters back on a team she calls “young but full of grit.” Seniors Samantha Mowrey and Savannah Smith have been program builders while juniors Grace Skaugstad and Maggie Carvo are the next wave of leaders.
University (19-5, 16-2, first): The Titans reached state last year, but two straight losses made for a quick trip. But Matt Connor, in his second season as fastpitch coach, has 11 letterwinners and five starts back from that team. It all starts with junior P Maliyah Mann and junior INF Matalie Singer, returning first-team All-GSL picks. “We should be sound defensively,” Connor said. “We’re counting on some underclass athletes to fill some big shoes from ’22.”
Clarkston (11-8, 9-6, second): The Bantams return nine letterwinners and seven starters for eighth-year coach Shane Burke. “We are a young team and we should be competitive at the top,” Burke said. “We need to become better, more consistent hitters.” Junior pitcher Emma McManigle, junior SS Leah Copeland and sophomore catcher Joey Miller were first-team All-GSL picks.
East Valley (8-13, 7-9, fourth): Kelli Peckham returns for her fifth season with four starters back, including first-team All-GSL P/INF sophomore Shelby Swanson and second-teamers senior 1B McKenzie Ervin and junior OF Jersey Dorian. “We have some great young players with us this season who will be making a great impact for us,” Peckham said.
Rogers (0-20, 0-15, sixth): Seven starters are back for second-year coach Kali Capps, but the Pirates are still young, led by sophomore catcher Haley Bernard and junior 1B Jayaira Lewis. “We are looking forward to the majority of our team being back and picking up where we left off,” Capps said. “We are trying to provide a safe, positive space for these girls to thrive in and see what they can really accomplish when they work hard.”
Shadle Park (21-4, 16-0, first): The Highlanders were two games away from the third-place game at state after a league and district championship last year, but lost five first-team All-GSL player to graduation, including two-time MVP Chloe Flerchinger. Junior Crimson Rice will be a presence in the circle and the batter’s box. “Pitching should be a strength,” fifth-year coach Scott Kine said. “If we can make plays behind them, we should compete for another GSL title and get back to state.”
West Valley (11-13, 8-7, third): The Eagles graduated a big chunk of their squad from last season, with pitcher Sorrel Stewart the key returner for fifth-year coach Brain Ostby. “We are no doubt in a rebuild,” Ostby said.
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