With her high school fastpitch season over, Maddy Stensby admits she played at less than 100 percent because of an ankle injury.
Not that anybody would have noticed. The junior from Olympia High, selected as The Olympian’s all-area fastpitch player of the year, was the 4A Narrows League pitching MVP after leading the Bears to a share of the league title.
And she did it with her right foot often stuffed inside an ankle brace for support after she rolled it during March’s early-season jamboree at the Regional Athletic Complex.
“From then on, it was an uphill battle,” Stensby said.
It was a fight Stensby won. She set career bests in strikeouts (219) and victories (20), and also hit .462 with six home runs and 33 RBIs. The home run and RBI totals broke the 2013 school records held by Nikki Schroeder, who wrapped up her freshman season at Long Island University.
“I knew I had big shoes to fill,” Stensby said. “... If I got on base, that’s an opportunity for them to hit.”
The power was a new element to Stensby’s game. She had been more of a singles hitter until 2014, but Stensby, like a lot of her teammates, muscled up. The Bears had a record-setting offensive season, batting .377 as a team.
Stensby was equally as impressive in the circle. Pitching in two fewer games than 2013, she struck out 39 more hitters this season. She matched Ryanne Horton’s school record for wins and came eight strikeouts short of Horton’s school record (227 in 2004).
Olympia coach Matt Loes said Stensby’s time and effort mastering her command made the difference. Loes said her curveball – which Stensby said is her “go-to pitch” – can drop anywhere from four to 10 inches.
“She can spot it really well and that’s her best pitch,” Loes said. “She’s quite the player.”
Stensby is being recruited by regional and out-of-state NCAA Division I and Division II programs. She said she honed her array of pitches – rise, fastball, change and that devastating curveball – while facing elite competition as a player for the Northwest Sidewinders travel team.
“Going out of state and being challenged by hitters in California raised on softball,” is big, Stensby said. “That helps a lot to be exposed to the best of the best and grow from that.”