Skyview softball coach shows her dedication to the Storm

Skyview softball coach Kim Anthony (sitting) and her players are heading to the state tournament this weekend as the No. 1 seed. Anthony was a star at Columbia River in the late 1980s and her college team, UNLV, was just recently honored by the university’s Hall of Fame. Photo by Paul Valencia
Skyview softball coach Kim Anthony (sitting) and her players are heading to the state tournament this weekend as the No. 1 seed. Anthony was a star at Columbia River in the late 1980s and her college team, UNLV, was just recently honored by the university’s Hall of Fame. Photo by Paul Valencia

Kim Anthony was a key member of the 1991 UNLV team that finished fifth in the Women’s College World Series

Paul Valencia

She shined at Columbia River High School in the late 1980s.

Excelled in college, too.

Decades later, she is the head coach of the top seed for the upcoming Class 4A state softball tournament.

“I am still in the game,” Skyview softball coach Kim Anthony said. “I still love the game a lot.”

The game loves her, too.

This past weekend, Anthony and her 1991 college teammates were inducted into the athletic Hall of Fame at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Anthony was not in Vegas, though. Instead, she was with the Storm at the bi-district tournament, qualifying for the state tournament.

“I was never going to leave my team. That was never an option,” Anthony said of the Storm. “We talk about team a lot and being focused and dedicated.”

It was difficult to miss out on the ceremony in Nevada, but not a difficult decision to stay with Skyview in Washington.

“It just happened to fall on the same weekend as bi-district,” Anthony said. “I was sad and shed a few tears. There are so many of my teammates I have not seen in a long time.”

The present means more than the past, though.

“I had my moment. No one can take that away from me. But this is their moment,” Anthony said as her players showed up for practice Monday.

The players appreciated the actions of their coach.

“It just shows her dedication to our team. It was a great honor to be put in the Hall of Fame, and she chose to be there with us,” said senior Samantha Groesbeck. 

The Storm not only qualified for state this past weekend, they also won the bi-district tournament.  

Groesbeck, by the way, is a lot like Anthony as an athlete. Groesbeck is a throwback, a three-sport athlete. She has earned 10 varsity letters for the Storm, playing soccer, basketball, and softball.

That is how Anthony, then Kim Smith, was brought up, first living in California and then moving to Vancouver during elementary school.

“I played everything,” Anthony said. “I played volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball. I started pitching when I was 12. I loved the individualized part of a team sport. It was a team sport, with all the fun I had with my friends, but the one-on-one competition between me and a batter, I liked that.”

She was a three-sport athlete early in her high school career, then chose volleyball and softball in her final seasons at Columbia River.

“I kept playing a lot of sports. I just happened to excel in softball,” Anthony said.

Back then, though, she did not play to earn a scholarship. That was not the motivation. In the 80s, for women athletes, there just was not a lot of talk about that, she said.

“It wasn’t how these girls think about it now, so early,” Anthony said. “It was more like, ‘Wait, I love this and I can do this and they’ll pay for my school?’”

Kim Smith, at the time, dominated from the pitching circle at Columbia River and, more importantly, for her club team. Playing at nationals one summer in Texas, she pitched every inning in a 16-inning 1-0 victory. After that, she started getting letters of interest from colleges across the country. She went on several visits and chose UNLV.

UNLV had its first winning season the year before Kim arrived, then made it to the Women’s College World Series her freshman season. As a sophomore, the team returned to Oklahoma City for back-to-back appearances in the World Series. 

That 1991 team that finished fifth in the country is the one that was inducted into the Hall of Fame this past week. Kim went 25-6 with a 0.68 ERA that season.

“I played in two College World Series, and I don’t have one video to show for it. It stinks,” she said with a chuckle. “But it’s so cool to see how far women’s sports have come.”

There was no live TV coverage of the series back then, as far she knows. Now, every game in the tournament, throughout the country even leading up to the final games in Oklahoma City, is available. 

Some 33 years later, the team got together again in Vegas to be celebrated by the university. Smith “participated” via texts and photos from Washington.

“I have a cool plaque coming in the mail,” Anthony said. 

Her teammates sent her a group photo, and Anthony edited her face into the picture.

Beyond softball, UNLV was very important in other ways.

Kim met Charles Anthony her freshman year there, and they have been together ever since. Charles played football at UNLV. 

“I got my MRS degree,” Anthony said with a laugh. “Your Misses degree.”

The married couple moved to Vancouver in 2009. (Charles Anthony is now the principal at Mountain View High School.) They have three daughters, and all of them excelled in softball, too.

Kim Anthony became Skyview’s coach in 2012. The Storm finished second in state in 2022.

Now, the Storm are looking for something special.

“Skyview softball has a bit of a legacy,” Groesbeck said. “I feel we have to live up to that. The title, we want, but we have to play like us this weekend. Not just play for the state title, but play Skyview softball.”

Kim Anthony has the team ready.

“I tell them to be confident because we are prepared,” Anthony said. “But to not ever be cocky because so many things have to go your way. So many things have to fall into place to win a state title.”

The players have done so much to put themselves in this position. Just like their coach, they understand priorities must be in order to become one of the best programs in the state.

“They miss out on dances. They miss out on friends’ birthdays,” Anthony said. “You sacrifice, but you gain so much more. They definitely do sacrifice. We require a lot.”

Kim Anthony has dedicated her life to this sport.

“For me, it has just so many good memories and softball brought me so many opportunities,” Anthony said. “I like to impart the love of the game into the kids. Being around them keeps me young. I’m grateful to be a part of their lives. I’m grateful for the game.”

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