Modern Girls’ Softball in the Lower Columbia Basin, 1985 - 2003
By Brian Pipes

In 1985, four sports-minded people who wanted a more competitive softball league – Richard Rhodes, Karla Gardiner, Liz Lord and Brian Pipes started the Lower Columbia Girls’ Softball League. The teams in this league for girls aged 8 to 16 were Trail, Warfield, Genelle, Montrose, Fruitvale and Salmo. Later 17 to 18-year olds were included.


  • 1985-87 Montrose Red Hots went undefeated, winning 49 straight games
  • 1987 Gus’s Gals with girls from 12 to 18 won the Midget C Girls’ Championship
  • 1990 Local 480 Bantom won the Bantam B Provincial Championship
  • 1991-1992 Gus's Gals won the Peewee C Provincial Championship
  • 1995 W.K. Steelers won the Peewee B Provincial Championship
  • 1997 W.K. Steelers were Bantam B Western Canadian Bronze Medallists
  • 2002 W.K. Thunder were Peewee B Provincial Bronze Medallists
  • 2003 W.K. Steelers were Bantam B Provincial Bronze Medallists
  • 2001- 2003 W.K. Thunder 16-U were Babe Ruth Girls’ Softball Pacific Northwest Regional Bronze Medallists
  • 2004 W.K. Thunder 12-U were Babe Ruth Girls' Softball Pacific Northwest Champions
  • 2004 W.K. Thunder Babe Ruth Softball World Series

The 1989-93 Montrose Red Hots won 5 league titles. During the 1987and 1989-93 run the Red hots won an astonishing 118 games while losing 12. In the years leading up to 1998 the league was facing dwindling numbers, so in 1999 the Thunder Fast Pitch Program was started for girls 13 to 14 years old. This started out as a development program to strengthen the league and feed new players into the Bantams and Midgets.

1994 saw the start of the annual Thunderfest Tournament for girls 16 and up. Teams from all over BC and Alberta attend this tournament. As our Alberta team said, “This is the best-kept secret in girls’ softball tournaments.” This tournament is still running.

Players went on to:

  • Shannon Rhodes Washburn University, Kansas
  • Erin Rhodes Washburn University, Kansas
  • Marci Zino Jamestown College, North Dakota
  • Becky Makway NYIT, New York
  • Stephanie Pipes West Georgia University (Also Canadian Silver Medallist)
  • Jamie Zino Georgia College
  • Tara Pipes Cornell University, New York
  • Andrea Main Jamestown College, North Dakota
  • Stephanie Main Jamestown College, North Dakota
  • Cheryl Miller Jamestown College, North Dakota
  • Diane Dahl Cloud County Community College, Kansas
  • Jenean Wells Cloud County Community College, Kansas
  • Lauren Bay Oklahoma State University, Canadian Gold Medallist, Canadian National Junior Team, Canadian National Senior Team, Canadian Olympic Team, All-American
  • Charlene Dumont Queen’s University, North Carolina