Prep softball: Fluetsch stays on fire, pushes W.F. West past Centralia


W.F. West High School’s Staysha Fluetsch calls softball her main sport. Even though she’ll double up in soccer and softball in college, her first love has always been a bright yellow ball and a diamond.

The senior has been in a zone since the start of the season and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Fluetsch was 4-for-4 at the plate with a home run and driving in seven runs to help the Bearcats stave off Centralia 12-7 in a Class 2A Evergreen Conference contest and win the first game of the annual Swamp Cup  on Friday night at Recreation Park.

Two days after losing its first game of the season, W.F. West (4-1, 1-1 EvCo) responded emphatically. Seven of its 10 hitters that took an at-bat reached base and the 12 runs ties for the third most this season.

“We have a brand new team, so it is showing these girls what we are made of,” Fluetsch said. “Our energy was there. We (hadn’t) played in wet (weather) yet; I believe in us.”

The left-handed hitting Fluetsch has notched multiple hits in each game so far. She’s been the one that provides the RBI-driven mentality behind speedsters Lena Fragner and Addison Froschauer plus all-around hitter Avalon Myers.

Working with her hitting coach and her father over the offseason, Fluetsch has garnered a better understanding of outside pitches and how to attack them.

“I’m hugging the plate and getting on those,” she said. “As I continue in my career, my hitting is my strong suit.”

Fluetsch roped RBI singles in two of the first three innings, brought in two on a base hit in the fourth and launched a no-doubt three-run home run in the sixth to straight away center field to put the finishing touches on her night.

It was the most runs she’s driven in for a single game all season.

“I can’t remember a bad at-bat and that’s what makes a good hitter,” Bearcats head coach Kevin Zylstra said. “She’s just relentless. The girl works really hard and she’s a student of the game.”

Centralia (2-3, 1-1) dug too deep of a hole to get out of. Makayla Chavez got the three runs back in the seventh on a home run, but Taylor Tobin ended the game for the Bearcats with an infield popup.

Still, Tigers coach David Orr was pleased with the grit at the end.

“Early on there were a couple mistakes we got to clean up,” he said. “There were some good things to take away from this. We’ll regroup and bounce back.”

The game was pushed back an hour to try and beat the rain. It did have an effect on the pitchers early as both sides scored two runs in the first frame and went back-and-forth for a bit.

W.F. West took the lead in the second on a Fragner RBI single, then Centralia answered in the third to tie it up. Fluetsch’s run-scoring single in the third gave the Bearcats the advantage for good.

They tallied five more in the fourth, the capper a two-run bomb from starter Monroe Dalrymple, who also picked up the win in the circle, to break away from the Tigers. Tobin registered three hits and Myers had two.

“(Monroe) takes a pitch and knocks the stuffing out of it,” Zylstra said.

Centralia was piecing together a rally in the fifth, getting its top-two hitters in the lineup to third base. W.F. West catcher Kenley Fragner tagged Gracie Schofield out at home on a groundout, then whipped a throw to third to get Lauren Wasson out and the frame ended.

The freshman also helped Dalrymple frame a couple pitches on the outside corners for strikes.

“She’s very verbal, she wasn’t quiet,” Fluetsch said. “When someone comes in as a freshman and you’re helping them out, it shows what a team is.”

Orr had no problem with Schofield taking off, but admitted he and Wasson were caught off guard by the pickoff attempt.

“Surprised both of us,” Orr said. “That’s on me, I didn’t even see it coming. She got hosed there.”

Chavez drove in four runs on two hits for the Tigers while Schofield and Wasson each recorded two hits. Those three were responsible for all of their runs crossing home.