Prep softball | Sectional preview

Valparaiso's Fletcher has tireless work ethic on the softball diamond

2012-05-18T21:00:00Z 2012-05-19T05:08:43Z Valparaiso's Fletcher has tireless work ethic on the softball diamondBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com

Even Friday's prom didn't stop Valparaiso senior infielder Clarisse Fletcher from sacrificing her body to make plays on the softball diamond.

"I have so many scabs, and I know they'll be visible," Fletcher said. "I told my date last year that I banged up my knees, so I wouldn't have the prettiest legs.

"It doesn't matter. If I see a ball, I'll make every attempt to get the out."

Fletcher is a two-sport athlete at Valparaiso, playing basketball and softball. She's the Vikings' first female athlete to win team MVP honors in two sports since 1977.

Fletcher has spent time at third base, shortstop and second throughout her three-year varsity career. This season, she's hitting .340, including .353 in the Duneland Athletic Conference.

Valparaiso coach Tracy Corneil said those numbers only tell a part of the story.

"She definitely brings leadership to the team; her work ethic is incredible," Corneil said of Fletcher, who was 2-for-3 with a triple in Thursday's 2-1 win over Hobart. "She is a huge role model to our younger players. She goes out there every day and dives to make plays, no matter the score.

"Looking at her, you might never know the score."

The score hasn't favored the Vikings much in her varsity career, including this season's 8-17 mark. Despite those numbers, Fletcher is unwavering with her drive to lead her team to wins.

"We've struggled, but I've always been prepared for anything," Fletcher said. "Nobody expected some of our wins (this season)."

One of those unexpected victories came May 2 against DAC foe LaPorte. The Slicers blanked the Vikings 8-0 at Valpo on April 12. Spurred on by three hits from Fletcher, Valparaiso upset the then-Times No. 7 Slicers 4-3.

"That was definitely a highlight for us," Fletcher said. "We just had it all going for us that night. We remained positive, knowing good things will come of it."

Fletcher has already committed to play basketball at Robert Morris next year, and she admits that she'll miss playing competitive softball.

"It breaks my heart to know I have a few games left," said Fletcher, whose Vikings meet host Chesterton in Tuesday's opening round of the sectional. "I just wanted to make this season the best I could to make sure I had no regrets."

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