Softball

The Touchet High School slowpitch softball program, led by coaches Dan See and Darrell Loney, unleashed a decade of excellence for much of the 1990s and early 2000s.

See guided the Indians to a pair of runner-up finishes in state tournament competition.

Loney was leader when the Indians claimed three state championships and two third-place performances.

Touchet made 14 state appearances — 12 as a 2B school and two as a 1A participant.

The Indians began the 1992 tournament by defeating Concrete, Pe Ell and Royal before losing in the championship game to Adna.

Touchet met Adna for the title two seasons later.

New season. Same result.

The Indians downed Mossyrock, Warden and Mary Walker to reach the championship game.

“I would like to give credit to the players and teams that helped build the program over the years,” See said. “We had good leadership and a great group of girls. In the tournaments, the pitching was strong, we played tough defense, and hit the ball well. It was a joy coaching with Darrell and watching those girls play.”

Loney was See’s assistant for 15 years and “learned all my stuff from him,” he said.

Touchet went 4-1 and took third in the 1998 state tournament.

A loss to Garfield-Palouse was sandwiched by opening victories against Davenport and Holy Cross, and concluding triumphs over Davenport and Napavine.

“We had to fight our way back through the losers’ bracket,” Loney said. “Gar-Pal was always one of our nemeses. But we never gave up. The girls had confidence in themselves, buckled down, and played good ball.”

The 1999 tourney was “one of the sweetest,” Loney said. Touchet outscored four opponents 61-18 and outdueled G-P for the crown.

“Beating Gar-Pal was a big step,” Loney said. “It went down to the nitty-gritty and we beat them. It was a big win.”

The Indians played six games at the 2000 state tournament and won five — four of which were achieved after a loss to Almira-Coulee-Hartline.

“When it came to push and shove, they pushed,” Loney said. “We played good offense and defense both.”

The pre-fast pitch era ended with back-to-back state titles in 2001 and 2002. Touchet was a combined 7-and-0 in those tournaments.

Rallies highlighted both championship-clinching victories — versus Lacrosse-Washtucna (14-13) and DeSales (8-7), respectively.

“L-W jumped out to a lead — 10-0 after two innings,” Loney said. “We came back. We scored six runs in the third inning, one in the fourth, and seven in the fifth and hung on.

“We were behind in the bottom of the seventh against DeSales,” Loney said. “I told the girls ‘Don’t try to hit home runs.’ We rattled off four runs in the last inning.”

Eight members of Touchet’s Class of 2002 contingent played as eighth graders and ended their careers with a 113-and-12 mark, Loney said.

“That first win over Gar-Pal gave us confidence,” Loney said. “That finally broke the camel’s back. It helped carry us the next three years.

“The girls were easy to coach,” Loney said. “We had a lot of talent and had a lot of fun.”

Roy Elia can be reached at royelia@wwub.com.