Pe Ell-Willapa Valley senior shortstop Katie Adkins is heading west on Route 6 to continue her academic and athletic career after committing to Centralia College softball.
Adkins, a four-year starter for the Titans, has racked up the accolades. She was a first-team all-state selection as a junior in 2019, including first-team all-Pacific 2B League at infield and first-team all-league in volleyball.
She’s no stranger to winning, either, helping the Titans capture the 2B state championship in 2017 as the starting second baseman, along with a third-place finish in 2018 and a second-place trophy in 2019.
With a bunch of options to choose from, Adkins made her decision to sign with Centralia after making a campus visit and meeting new coach Katie Aden, who took over as head coach in September 2019 after being the assistant for a year.
“She has such a positive vibe and I loved it so much,” Adkins said. “That’s what I wanted on the softball field. I want to have fun. I think she’s going to make the program really good. I just wanted to contribute to that.”
Adkins had offers from Northwest Athletic Conference powerhouse and Centralia rival Lower Columbia College, as well as Division-II Western Washington University and Pacific Lutheran University. She even had a bevy of out-of-state schools interested after playing in a big tournament down in Las Vegas in fall 2019 for her travel team Washington Illusion, based out of Kelso.
College coaches would rotate from each team so they could get a good look at each prospect. She primarily plays shortstop for the Titans, but is a utility player that can be plugged in just about everywhere, including at pitcher. By the end of the tourney she had received cards from 13 different coaches, including some campus visit offers.
“I was shocked, myself,” Adkins said. “I was like, ‘What the heck?’ They saw me pitch, too. I’m not going to Wisconsin. Sorry.”
She already knew she didn’t want to go out of state because of the increased tuition cost. Centralia is close to her family in Menlo, about an hour drive down state Route 6, so it seemed like the logical choice. She’s also looking to enter Centralia’s pre-dental hygiene program.
She even knows a few of the current women on the Trailblazers team after having played on travel teams with them in the past. Former PWC catcher Grace Hodel was part of the 2017 state title team and was a freshman for the Trailblazers this past season. Adkins also knows Kerianne Cline, a freshman from Castle Rock, and Jamie Carlson, a sophomore from Mossyrock.
Adkins also knows a lot of the women on Lower Columbia’s team, too, but it was coach Aden’s personality that pushed Adkins’ decision to commit over the top.
“Katie’s energy was unreal,” Adkins said. “I don’t see that in a lot of college coaches. She’s so positive and loud and outgoing. That was kind of the deal (maker).”
Adkins was drawn to Aden’s vocality, something she, herself, is known for on the field. She’s not a quiet leader at shortstop; she’s loud and boisterous. It helps pump her up during games.
“I’m always the one talking to myself on the field,” Adkins said. ‘(Teammate Britney Patrick) looks at me from third (base) and says, ‘Katie, you’re so weird.’”
Adkins should provide an instant boost to a Trailblazers team that graduates four sophomores. Adkins, a contact hitter with decent speed, batted second in the lineup last season as a junior, hitting a slash line of .481/.533/.594 with 39 runs, 38 hits, 20 RBIs and nine doubles. As a sophomore, she batted .476 with 53 runs, 50 hits, 39 RBIs and nine doubles.
Centralia played only two games in the 2019-20 season, going 1-1, before the season was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak in early March. The Trailblazers were looking to advance to the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament for the fourth-straight year.
For now, Adkins is focused on graduating high school, settling in in Centralia later this summer and embarking on her new academic and athletic career.
“I’m really excited to get a whole ‘nother bond with different girls, and hopefully get a good connection and play really good and win some games,” Adkins said.