Kelsey Anchors made history as Oregon's first female baseball coach. Then came time to say goodbye.
The former Division 1 softball player never went out to make history. Nor did she set out to leave so soon.
When Kelsey Anchors first saw the news that the Hillsboro Hops had hired Ronnie Gajownik to manage the club for the 2023 season, the Ridgefield softball coach had to do a double-take.
“It was like, ‘Am I reading this right?’ the 2008 Olympic High graduate said. “I don’t want to be surprised by it, but I was shocked.”
But when she began to think of it, women coaching baseball have become more of a common sight, right? Last year, Rachel Balkovec became the first woman to manage a professional team when she took over the Single-A Tampa Tarpons. And it was around this time a year ago when Alyssa Nakken made history with the San Francisco Giants by coaching first base.
And, well, there’s Anchors’ own story.
“If my high school girls see this they might hate me,” she says, “but I’d rather coach boys.”
That’s what making history in 2018 as the first woman to coach a varsity baseball team in Oregon taught her.
“Boys are no BS. My team right now is, too. But, like, they’re teenage girls.”
Anchors didn’t set out to make baseball history.
She broke nearly every record at Olympic High School in Bremerton, earned Washington all-state honors and went on to appear in the College World Series during her career at Oklahoma State. After college she settled in nicely teaching P.E. and assisting the softball team in Grants Pass at North Valley High School.
Long-term, the head softball gig might have been a possibility. But in the short-term, a joking conversation about the vacant baseball head coach position became more serious over time with North Valley Athletic Director Tim Sam.
It just kind of made sense. Anchors knew most of the players from classes and nobody could question her credentials on the field — especially at a North Valley program in the beginning stages of a full-on rebuild. The only major concern Anchors had involved the pitching mound.
“It’s just like throwing overhand, right?” Anchors joked. “There’s not much to it.”