Inchelium places third at 1B girls state softball tournament for second consecutive year
YAKIMA – Not many schools in the 1B classification can say they’re team made it to the 1B girls state softball tournament, with only eight teams earning a spot.
Even fewer teams can say they placed.
But for the small rural town of Inchelium, population under thousand, they’ve put their name as one of the elites in the 1B softball world.
And who could argue? The Lady Hornets for the second consecutive year, earned a spot in the state tournament but also for the second straight year placed third at the 1B girls softball state championships.
They’d eventually go on to beat Pomeroy 6-2 in the 3rd/4th place game on (May 25) at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima, capping off their season.
Meika Heath (Colville tribal member) struck out 13 for the Lady Hornets in a complete game and fellow teammate and tribal member Sammi Stensgar drove in a pair of runs for Inchelium.
“This past season was amazing,” said Heath, pitcher and shortstop for the Lady Hornets.“It was great being able to go back to state for a second year."
"That was our goal to make it back. Being able to accomplish that and take third place again, it was great.”
Heath and Cloey Simpson (Colville tribal member), second baseman, are the only two seniors that will be gone from next year’s squad.
“The past season has been bittersweet,” said said Rylee Desautel (Colville tribal member) shortstop and pitcher for the Lady Hornets.
“Having to say goodbye to Meika and Cloey has been hard. Tears were inevitable.”
The Lady Hornets started off this year’s state tournament with an 18-5 pounding over Naselle and would be within one game of the state championship.
Standing in their way would be their long time rivals in Almira-Coulee-Hartline.
A.C.H would go eventually go on to win 6-2 over Inchelium in the semifinals, knocking the Lady Hornets to the consolation bracket and ending their hopes of bringing home the school’s first softball state championship.
In do or die mode, Inchelium would go on to beat Wishkah Valley 11-1 on Saturday afternoon to advance to the 3rd/4th place game, later in the day.
Heath struck out nine in a complete game and Desautel had three triples in the game to propel Inchelium to a placing game.
“It’s been fun,” said Guy Stensgar, head coach. “The girls had a good chemistry this year and that always makes for a fun season."
"I think not only going to state but also placing for two consecutive years is huge for the softball program. These ladies know they belong there and are expecting to be there again next year.”
Desautel finished the year with a team high .565 batting average. Her at bats included six home runs, 20 singles, 20 doubles and a team high 10 triples.
Simpson finished with a .547 batting average. She had a team high 34 singles, tied for the team in doubles with 20 and finished with four triples.
Heath finished with .541 batting average. She had three home runs, 29 singles, 14 doubles and five triples on the year.
Amaya Simpson (Colville tribal member), catcher, for the Lady Hornets ended the year with a .489 batting average, 29 singles, 12 doubles and two triples.
Grace Kohler (Colville tribal descendant) ended with a .477 batting average/ She finished with 24 singles, eight doubles, five triples and three home runs.
Chenoa Erickson (Colville tribal member) played first base for the Lady Hornets and ended the year with a .494 average, tallying 22 singles, 17 doubles, one triple and one home run.
Erika Romero (Colville tribal member) played third base for Inchelium and she finished the year with a .358 average, while hitting 25 singles, three doubles with one triple.
Sammy Stensgar (Colville tribal member), center fielder for the Lady Hornets, finished with a .322 average, which included 14 singles, four doubles and one home run.
Stensgar belted her only home run of the season at the state tournament against Naselle in the first round.
Setra Ford (Colville tribal member) had a .136 average with five singles and one double while spending time playing left field.
Michaela Ferguson (Colville tribal member) finished with a .100 average, with one single and one double on the year.
Heath, on the pitching side of things, had a total of 167 strikeouts, and Desautel finished with 65 strikeouts.
“Inchelium has a strong history of great softball players,” says Mike Heath assistant coach for the Inchelium softball team.
Northeast 1B District Championship at Kettle Falls High School
May 4 Almira/Coulee-Hartline W 2-1
Regional 5/6 and 7/9 softball tournament at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex
May 10 Sunnyside Christian W 11-0
May 10 Colton L 4-12
May 19 Garfield-Palouse W 7-3
May 19 Pomeroy L 10-18
1B State at Gateway Sports Complex, May 24 and 25
May 24 Naselle W 18-5
May 24 Almira/Coulee-Hartline L 2-6
May 25 Wishkaw Valley W 11-1
May 25 Pomeroy W 6-2