Morgan Flesland throws hard. Her fastball sits 61-63 mph, and she’s touched 64.
But what makes the fastball even more challenging to hit is her devastating change-up.
She used both to great measure on Tuesday when she struck out 16 – allowing three hits and no walks – and visiting Mt. Spokane (6-0) beat Gonzaga Prep 13-1 in a Greater Spokane League game.
The Oregon State commit also went 3 for 4 at the plate with a double and three-run home run.
Asked what she likes better – striking out batters or hitting home runs – the senior laughed.
“I’d like to say I like hitting home runs better,” she said, “But strikeouts are always nice.”
She was sitting on a high strike to drive.
“Oh, I saw it coming in high and I knew the umpire was calling things high, so I’m like, ‘Well I’ve got to swing at it,’ and the right part of the bat hit the right part of the ball and there it goes.”
Tuesday’s performance, while impressive, was the slightest of regressions for the power pitcher. Flesland’s past three starts were all no-hitters, including a perfect game against G-Prep on Friday, in which she struck out 13 Bullpups.
It was her second perfect game – she also had a five-inning no-hit, no-run, no-error game as a sophomore.
Flesland has 64 strikeouts over six games this season, and she has yet to allow an earned run.
“Honestly, a lot of it goes to my catcher Peyton (Dressler), because she calls such a great game and makes me, like, not nervous,” Flesland said after Tuesday’s win. “I don’t know how to put it, but she’s always there for me.”
Flesland has toyed with the change-up since grade school but sharpened it over the years.
“I’ve been doing a change-up since probably 10-U,” she said. “I’ve had it for a long time but to be able to throw it like that, it’s taken me two to three years. I’ve always had one, but to get it to that level it’s taken a while.”
“This year she’s using it when she needs to,” Mt. Spokane coach Carl Adams said. “I don’t know that it’s all the time, but when someone’s (timing the fastball) she’ll go to it a little bit and use it effectively.
“She’s very obviously a highly intelligent young lady, and understands the game in what she wants to do, she wants to attack hitters. Our catcher’s calling pitches this year and they have a good relationship out there. And I just trust them both because they work together and they understand want they want to do.”
Adams appreciates being able to lean on a Division-I athlete in the circle.
“It’s a huge luxury,” he said. “It allows me to focus on other parts of our team and our game defensively.
“We’re a little bit young behind her, and to know that she’s gonna keep us in the game just pumping strikes and I can focus on other things, other parts of the game that I wouldn’t have to, you know, have the time to do otherwise.”
Having her commitment in her back pocket this season has allowed Flesland to enjoy her last high school season with her teammates, even if it has been shortened in half by the pandemic.
“I don’t want to say it makes it easier, but it’s a lot of pressure off of myself to be able to know that I’m recruited rather than going back to the recruiting process and all over again,” she said.
Flesland’s older brother Stu, a standout on the hill at Mt. Spokane, originally signed at Boise State before the Broncos dumped their baseball program. He transferred to Washington and will be just up the road from his little sister in Corvallis.
“I like to give him a lot of (grief) because I’m going to the school that’s better in baseball, and he’s going to the school that’s better in softball,” she said. “I think it’s really funny and I also think it’s cool that we’re so close.”
Flesland tries not to dwell too much on the time lost over the past year.
“I’ve thought about it, but then again, I can’t do anything to go back in time and fix it,” she said. “So it’s like, at this point, like we’re rolling with the punches. We’re getting it done.”
She has relished the opportunity to get one last go-round at Mt. Spokane.
“I missed not being with my team,” she said.
“Honestly, our team as a whole – I like to say we’re family, but we’re also really rowdy too, so it’s really fun and I missed that.”
Tuesday’s game didn’t get a chance to be dramatic with regards to a fourth consecutive no-no. The first batter of the game laid down a bunt that Flesland bobbled.
“Oh my gosh,” she said. “I thought I had the ball, but I didn’t extend my arm far enough so I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what have I done?’ I honestly thought I was gonna get that so that, that was tough. But yeah, at the end I was like, ‘Yeah.’ ”
It eventually went as an error, but two batters later a flare down the left-field line fell in for a clean single.
“There was no question that that was gonna be hit either,” she said. “So I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess we’re just gonna have a good day.’ ”
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