The W.F. West softball team — no stranger to success — didn’t achieve its major goal last season.
Finishing third at state after an undefeated run through districts for a championship and a second-place finish in league behind Tumwater, the Bearcats are hoping to remedy that in 2023, with mostly the same cast of sluggers.
“Ultimately, our goal is to play Saturday at 2 p.m. on Field 4,” Longtime W.F. West assistant and first-year head coach Kevin Zylstra said. “A lot of people don’t know what that means, but we do. We’ve been there and we want to go back, we were so close last year. These girls are so hungry for that.”
Most of W.F. West’s top bats — including Savannah Hawkins, Avalon Myers, Lena Fragner, and Brielle Etter — will return to wreak havoc on opposing infields, while also being incredibly steady themselves on the defensive side of things.
A year after dominating teams with home runs in most contests, the Bearcats have already launched several balls over the Rec Park fence from an array of hitters.
That won’t be much different from last season.
“They’re hitting the ball, I just try not to get in their way too much,” Zylstra said.
Where the biggest change will be is in the circle. All-time Bearcat great ace Kamy Dacus has graduated, leaving a huge void on the rubber for a W.F. West team that relied on the strikeout ace for four years prior.
Senior Staysha Fluetsch, junior Ella Young, and sophomore Monroe Dalrymple will all factor in the circle for the Bearcats as they look for a consistent arm to throw in league contests coming up.
“We’ve been looking for a pitcher to step up and take charge because we have a high octane offense and we just need someone to hold down the defense,” Zylstra said.
That group has been steady so far, and if the Bearcats can find some consistency in the circle, their lineup and defense will more than make up the difference with returners all over the field as W.F. West looks to trophy once again in Selah this spring.