After being robbed of last year’s season Inchelium picks up the pieces and moves forward into a new era of Hornet softball
INCHELIUM – Inchelium coaches and fans felt like they had something taken from them last spring as the Inchelium High School softball team was one of thee top 1B teams in the state.
After finishing third at the state tournament in 2018 and 2019, the Lady Hornets were poised to break though in 2020 and they had the roster to potentially hoist up the championship trophy.
However, COVID-19 put an end to all of that as last year’s season was cancelled and with it the hopes of winning a softball state championship.
“Last year was horrible,” said Guy Stensgar, head coach for Inchelium. “Those girls just got done winning the State B Championship in basketball and like me and many others believed they would do the same in softball.”
To makes matters worse, last year’s team may have been one of the most talented teams to pass through the halls of Inchelium High School.
“That was an extremely talented group of girls that had already placed third twice in state,” Stensgar said. “It was heartbreaking these ladies didn’t get a shot at winning a second title in the same year.”
After being robbed of a potential championship season last spring, Inchelium had to pick up the pieces and start all over.
Leading the charge, Stensgar and the rest of the coaching staff are confident about the future as they are ushering in the new era of Inchelium softball.
“I’m very excited for our future,” Stesngar says.
The reason for excitement and optimism is that Inchelium might have one of the youngest rosters in the entire state.
This season, they started four eighth graders, three freshmen, one junior and one senior.
The Lady Hornets started off the year with a bang, winning eight straight games and eventually finishing as one of the top 5 teams in the state.
“These girls are super young and very talented,” Stensgar says. “I think they have a chance to make multiple runs at the state title in the upcoming years.”
“This year is just a warm up for them,” says Colville tribal member Bonnie Boyd, who has two daughters playing on the team.
Despite not having a state tournament this year Inchelium didn’t let that deter or slow them down.
The Lady Hornets led by lone senior Grace Kohler finished with an overall record of 13-3 playing the bulk of their games against 1B Northeast opponents.
“It went really good,” said Kohler. “It was different. That was the first time I’ve been put into a leader position for sports. I enjoyed being the role model for the younger girls.”
Maxpreps.com had Inchelium ranked as the fourth best team in the state for all 1B schools, their top five are; Number 1: Colton (11-0). Number 2: Wilbur-Creston-Keller (12-0). Number 3: Naselle (13-1). Number 4: Inchelium (13-3). Number 5: Liberty Christian (13-4).
“I’m happy we got a season in,” says Stensgar. “These girls were excited to get on the field.”
Inchelium closed out the year sweeping Mary Walker in a doubleheader (19-9 and 22-9) as Grace Kohler went off in those two games, hitting a walk off grand slam in the first game and going 4-for-4 in the second game, in her final games as a Hornet.
The Lone senior
INCHELIUM – Colville tribal descendant Grace Kohler, the only senior on the Inchelium High School varsity softball team, saved her best for last.
“She had an outstanding season this year both offensively and defensively,” said Stensgar. “We moved her to third base this year and she looked like she’d played there her whole life. She really crushed the ball this year too.”
Kohler finished with a team leading .763 batting average as well as leading the team in home runs (5) runs batted in (RBI’s) with 35 and hits (29). She had seven doubles on the year and hit two triples in only 12 games, scoring a total of 34 runs on the year.
“She was a great team leader for our young team,” said Stensgar.
One of her favorite memories from this past season was getting the chance to play ball with her younger sister.
“That was probably one of the funniest parts. I played third and she played first so most of the time it was me throwing the ball to her,” said Kohler.
Of course what’s the point in having a younger sibling if you can’t boss them around.
Inchelium 2021 spring season: 13-3 overall record
3-31 Curlew W 14-7 1-0
3-31 Curlew W 16-5 2-0
4-12 Republic W 24-8 3-0
4-12 Republic W 30-2 4-0
4-17 @ Wellpinit W 19-6 5-0
4-17 @ Wellpinit W 22-4 6-0
4-10 Mary Walker W 18-3 7-0
4-10 Mary Walker W 22-9 8-0
4-24 Northport L 12-27 8-1
4-24 Northport W 18-17 9-1
5-1 @ Selkirk W 25-9 10-1
5-1 @ Selkirk W 14-2 11-1
5-4 @ Wilbur-Creston L 0-13 11-2
5-4 @ Wilbur-Creston L 5-11 11-3
5-5 Mary Walker W 19-9 12-3
5-5 Mary Walker W 22-9 13-3