Bonney Lake fastpitch: Panther coach resigns during playoffs

A week before the top-ranked Bonney Lake High girls fastpitch team was to play for seeding in the West Central District subdistrict tournament, coach Dave Loveless suddenly resigned May 8.

Assistant coach Andrew Sage will assume the coaching duties in the playoffs.

Loveless, who guided the Panthers to the state tournament in 2006 and 2007, said he resigned because of complaints from players and parents.

“It started a couple of games into the season,” Loveless said. “Some kids complained about playing time and parents were complaining about the seniors not playing more. With 13 girls on the team, who can make everyone happy?”

Loveless, who was in his third season, said he kicked a player off the team, along with a volunteer coach, both for swearing during a game.

He said he didn’t have all of the parents’ support and felt it trickled down to some players.

“When the parents don’t respect the coach, then the kids will do the same,” Loveless said. “Every day it was something new to deal with and it just got to be tiring. It wasn’t fun anymore.”

Loveless said he considered coaching through the postseason, but felt it was better for him to resign.

“I wish the team a lot of luck in the postseason,” he said.

Even through all the conflicts, Loveless said coaching is still in his future.

“I’ll coach high school again,” he said.

Loveless was 56-16 in three seasons and the Panthers finished fifth at state in 2007 and fourth in 2008. He was named Coach of the Year in the South Puget Sound League 3A in 2007.

Sage, a teacher and assistant football coach at Bonney Lake High, has high school coaching experience in fastpitch at Issaquah and football at Auburn Riverside, according to a letter sent to families of players.

Sage coached Issaquah to the Class 3A state fastpitch championship in 1998. The Eagles lost to Capital, 1-0.

In the letter, Bonney Lake High Athletic Administrator Brian Scheerer asked the families for their full support of Sage as interim coach.

Shane Kissner and Loretta Fulk will serve as Sage’s assistants during the postseason.

Sage coached the Panthers during an 8-0 win over Sumner May 11. Bonney Lake opened subdistrict Monday against Mount Rainier.

Weather permitting, the Panthers, 15-1, will face 4A Emerald Ridge in a nonleague game before district. Bonney Lake’s only loss was the Centralia April 14 at the University of Washington Fastpitch Festival in Seattle.

Reach Dannie Oliveaux at or 360-802-8209.

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