PENDLETON — Although its 2020 season ended prematurely, the Blue Mountain Community College softball team is already gearing up for next year, as a new head coach has been welcomed aboard.
Former Timberwolf Hailey Kline is rejoining the pack, but this time to lead the way. Kline, a 2014 Pendleton High School graduate, competed with the Buckaroos all four years of her high school career, two of which ended with state titles. She then went on to join the Timberwolves from 2014-2015 before stepping up to bat for Eastern Oregon University from 2015-2018. During her senior season as a Mountaineer, Kline tallied 151 strikeouts. She also helped lead the team to national tournament berths in 2016 and 2018.
“I’m excited to come back to the program where I started my collegiate career, and to help young athletes get to the next level,” Kline said in a press release. “I’m also excited to be back in my hometown where there is such a great community atmosphere. I’m looking forward to seeing the players grow and the opportunity to coach a great group of girls.”
Kline replaces former head coach Steve Richards, who helmed the Timberwolves for five seasons. For their most recently completed season, 2018-2019, Blue Mountain went 6-34 overall and 6-26 in Northwest Athletic Conference play, where they would finish eighth of nine teams in the conference’s East Region standings.
In the spring of 2019, the team held a 1-9 overall record before the COVID-19 pandemic caused their season to end early. Before the statewide cancellation of spring sports, the Timberwolves had tallied 43 runs across 10 games. They were scheduled to kick off NWAC play with a home doubleheader against Wenatchee Valley just before the season came to an untimely end.
“I am thrilled to see Coach Kline continue on with the program and what she can do as the interim head coach,” BMCC athletic director Dawn DiFuria McClendon said in a press release. “She was formally the assistant coach last season. I know the BMCC softball program will benefit greatly from her knowledge, consistency, and passion for the game.”
The Timberwolves will report for the season on Jan. 2, 2021, following the NWAC announcement for the return to play plan.