Centralia College softball will have new handwriting on their lineup card next year after a series of developments on Tuesday.
In the morning Kevin Slorey, who had been head coach of the Trailblazers since 2016, officially submitted his resignation to the college due to health concerns. Then, in the afternoon, the college sent out a press release announcing that assistant coach Katie Aden will be taking over the skipper position immediately.
Slorey took over as head coach for Matt Bajo in 2016 and spent five years with the Blazers softball program in total.
“Kevin has been a great coach for us,” said Centralia College athletic director, Bob Peters, in the release. “We’ve been to the NWAC tournament every year he’s been here. He’s definitely going to be missed. But, I don’t think we’ll miss a step with Katie coming in. She’s going to do a great job for this team.”
Aden was hired as an assistant on the Blazers coaching staff in September 2018. She was a two-year team captain for the Concordia University softball team before graduating in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science. She began her coaching journey as an assistant at Concordia before moving on to Clackamas Community College for three years.
In the press release, Aden expressed excitement for the opportunity to add head coach to her resume.
“It is a tremendous honor to be named the head coach for the softball team here at Centralia,” Aden said. “The student-athletes I coach have made it so easy, they work extremely hard and continually strive to get better. I am here to support their academic and athletic success and hope to make an impact in our league as my predecessor has done.“
On the phone Tuesday evening Aden, added even more admiration for the job that Slorey did during his tenure talking to the umpires for Blazers softball. Specifically, she noted that players appreciated his mode of provoking inspired play without inducing burnout.
“Kev was really motivational with the girls and he had an ability to connect with them,” Aden explained. “He was able to keep the environment super fun and laid back while still working hard. That’s become part of the culture here.”
Aden noted that she first came to Centralia in order to be near her fiance and former Trailblazers baseball assistant coach, Cam Margaris. After landing a job on campus, Aden said she “fell in love with the small town vibes. Everyone is just a big family here.”
Aden has already been leading fall workouts for the Blazers over the last two weeks and expects to have five returners on a 13-player roster next spring. Those returners include McKenna Smith of Centralia High School, Olivia Dean of W.F. West, Jamie Carlson of Mossyrock, Alyssa Jorgensen of Shelton, and Meeghan Peters of Toledo.
Aden says she plans to be an active recruiter during her time at the helm of the diamond Blazers.
“A big thing I want to do is make sure that we’re getting the best talent out there. I’m going to be bringing them to Centralia and showing them what we're all about. We’ve got a great school and a great community and sometimes I don’t think people really realize that.”
Aden’s first recruiting efforts have been focused on coaxing a return to the diamond out of her fiance, Margaris, who left Centralia College baseball last year for a job coaching at Campbellsville University in Kentucky but has since returned.
“I told him he’s going to be out there on the diamond with me as my assistant,” said Aden with a laugh.
Centralia will play their first fall-ball game at St. Martins University on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in Lacey.