The spin, the speed and the lefty.
The Yelm High School softball team has a three-pitcher rotation so productive, it has yet to lose a game this season.
The trio — led by its ace, junior Drea Schwaier, a Whitworth University commit — has allowed, on average, just over two runs per game in nine outings.
“It brings three different looks,” Schwaier said. “If one of us is tired, there’s someone to fill in. We just keep rotating around.
“We really don’t have any flaws in our pitching staff, because we all help each other out and support each other.”
The staff is very near flawless, indeed. Schwaier, an Olympian All-Area selection last season, has logged the most innings, pitching 21 in five appearances.
During that span, she’s struck out 36 and compiled a 0.67 ERA. She has a perfect 4-0 record.
“I try to study the batters — where they are, what they’re doing,” Schwaier said. “A big part of it is my catcher. Taylor (Gubser) knows what we’re going to do.
“We create a game plan together of what we’re going to do so it’s effective.”
Schwaier has five pitches in her arsenal — a fastball, screwball, curveball, rise ball and change up.
She said she’s working on a drop ball, too, to reach the full range of the plate.
She uses movement to create confusion, rather than focusing on speed, and her ability to consistently throw strikes has turned her into a reliable resource.
“You can always trust her to get the job done,” freshman Hailey Brown said.
Brown, and sophomore Tayelyn Cutler round out Yelm’s pitching staff. When Schwaier isn’t pitching, the Tornados have two more pitchers in play to baffle batters.
“That’s the strategy we use,” Schwaier said. “Since we’re all three different — just mix it up every time.”
Sometimes Yelm will bring the heat, which is Cutler’s specialty. She’s already fanned 31 batters in just 17 2/3 innings and collected a 1.86 ERA.
“Our (different) speeds help a lot,” Cutler said. “We work really well together.”
Sometimes the Tornados switch arms completely and bring in Brown, who is left-handed.
“I think it’s pretty deadly, because we really compliment each other,” said Brown, who has a 2.93 ERA across 14 1/3 innings. “I’m a lefty, and the other two girls are righties.
“We have movement pitchers and speed pitchers, and I think, especially coming at it from two different arms, is deadly.”
Schwaier gets outs. Cutler gets outs. Brown gets outs.
There’s no weak point.
“We’re all so different that it kind of tricks the batters,” Schwaier said.
“You can tell they get frustrated, the batters do,” Brown said. “Especially when you switch pitchers and they still can’t hit off of the pitcher.”
Yelm has a spotless 9-0 record headed into the bulk of Class 3A South Sound Conference play, and has outscored opponents 119-20.
Schwaier and Cutler helped lead the Tornados to a 4A Narrows League title and a 4A state tournament appearance a season ago, combining for 299 strikeouts.
Adding Brown in that third rotation spot has just added to the potency of the pitching staff.
“We were good last year, but I feel like we’ve leveled up our team, and that’s going to take us far in state,” Schwaier said.