MOSES LAKE — When will Moses Lake softball’s dominion over the Columbia Basin Big Nine end?
The Chiefs are six-time defending league and district champions. They return both pitchers and seven all-league players.
The run is likely to continue, but the games still need to be played.
“Here we go again,” head coach Mike Hofheins said. “We’ve got a good core group of girls and hopefully we’re going to be in the running for the league title and make some noise in the postseason.”
Yes, the Chiefs did graduate unanimous first-teamer Brooke Richardson, however, the roster is far from spotty.
“Thank God she was the only one that left because our team is super set right now,” senior Brooklyn Bailey said. “I know we had to pick up a little bit of Brooke’s slack because she was a good hitter and good player all-around, but I think our team is going to do just as good as we did last year.
“Maybe even better.”
League MVP Gina Skinner? Back.
Defensive Player of the Year Savannah Ashley? Back.
Skinner and Ashley will continue to hone their pitching skills, now on the precipice of their third varsity season.
“They add a lot,” Bailey said. “I’ve played a lot of places, but seeing it from their perspective was completely different. It’s just easy for them. It’s all routine for them so I think everything’s just fine.
“Everything is normal to them. Pushing themselves 100 percent every time, every day is normal.”
Skinner and Bailey return with an all-league first team distinction. Ashley, who plays shortstop when she isn’t pitching, and outfielder Michelle Turner were all-league second team last season. Laurissa Martinez, Sydney Ries and Madi Olson were named all-league honorable mention in 2018.
It’s a roster with few holes.
“We have several players that are pretty versatile and can play multiple positions,” Hofheins said. “We’re just trying to put our puzzle pieces in the spot where we’re going to have the best product on the field.”
Hofheins did mention the Chiefs won’t be the fastest team on the base paths, but speed isn’t an issue when the ball flies over the fence.
Moses Lake will be a heavy favorite in the CBBN, which is why quality non-league opponents were scheduled throughout the season. The Chiefs will face Class 3A state qualifiers Mt. Spokane and Marysville-Pilchuck, Class 4A state qualifier University, in addition to perennial Central Washington Athletic Conference contenders East Valley and Othello.
“We picked up eight pretty solid opponents for non-league games and I think that will help us in the end,” Hofheins said.