CHEYENNE – Trista Stehwien has grown accustomed to playing up in age.
The Cheyenne Extreme fastpitch softball standout played just one season at the under-12 level before jumping to the under-14 division. She could still be playing with the under-14 team again this summer, but is spending it at the under-18 level.
But Stehwien isn’t just playing with the under-18 squad, she is thriving.
Through 35 games, Stehwien leads Cheyenne (27-7-1) in RBIs (41), extra-base hits (22) and is tied for the most hits (42). She is tied for second on the roster in home runs (6) and ranks fourth in batting average (.462).
“I have kind of always been advanced for my age,” said Stehwien, who wrapped up her eighth-grade year at Carey Junior High on Thursday. “I like playing with and against older girls. It really pushes me to get better.
“So I was excited to be playing with older girls this year. It has been a lot of fun. They are what I want to be when I’m a senior.”
Stehwien, 14, got a taste for the under-18 level when she played three games for Extreme’s top squad in 2018. She was just 1 for 9 (.111), but that showing didn’t discourage her or Cheyenne’s coaches.
“We have had younger girls play at this level before,” Extreme coach Adam Galicia said. “Often times, the physical ability is there, but you never know how they’re going to react mentally. You wonder how they’re going to get along with the older girls, and you wonder how they’re going to react if they struggle.”
Stehwien has had no problem fitting in with Extreme – on the field or in the dugout. Her teammates just had to break through her reserved demeanor.
“She stuck close with just a few people and was pretty quiet early,” said senior Maggie Seghetti, who has a team-best seven homers. “She has really come out of her shell, and she is such a good personality to have around.
“She has started to take charge and run the field like any other catcher would.”
Most of Stehwien’s starts have come behind the dish, but she also has seen plenty of time in the outfield. Her pitch selection has improved considerably, Galicia said.
“She is a very aggressive hitter, and likes the high pitches,” he said. “We have worked with her on laying off the high stuff. (Stehwien) is starting to be disciplined while still attacking pitches.
“We never would have thought we were going to move her into the No. 3 spot (in the batting order) earlier this season, but she has earned it.”