SNOHOMISH — Meet Trysten Melhart, a minute softball player who produces monster results.

At just 5 feet 4 and 115 pounds, Melhart has molded herself into one of the most feared hitters in the state. She has the speed to be successful as a slapper and bunter and the power to hit away.

“There’s no defense for that combination,” Snohomish coach Lou Kennedy said. “She’s just a dominant force.”

Kennedy has been dazzled by his center fielder for four seasons and calls the Washington-bound senior the best high-school player he has seen, “And we’ve had some good ones.”

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And Melhart is just one reason the talented Panthers (22-1) have a good shot at winning their first Class 4A state softball championship this weekend in Spokane. They have two other Division I players in pitcher/first baseman Bailey Seek (Weber State) and third baseman/shortstop Katlyn Purvis (Kent State), and a strong supporting cast.

But Melhart, a former gymnast, makes the biggest difference. She broke the Snohomish record for batting average as a freshman by hitting.543.

Then she re-broke it every year after, batting .556 as a sophomore and .625 last season. She is hitting .658 with a slugging percentage of 1.190. She has led off six games with a triple.

Melhart started playing softball around age 10 and fell in love with the UW program after attending a camp there the following year.

“I just drooled all over the girls and the coaches and started going to every UW camp ever since,” she said. “I always wanted to go there. That’s been my dream.”

Melhart committed as a junior and had already started working on a more powerful swing, at the urging of Heather Tarr, the UW coach and her club mentor.

She and her teammates were driven to win the Northwest 4A District tournament this season after falling just one win short of state in both 2012 and ’13.

“It built our fire up,” Melhart said.

The Panthers’ last trip to state was in 2000. Melhart is confident going into the tournament and can think of nothing better than leading the team to the title.

“That would be the most amazing experience of my whole high-school career, to go out with a bang,” she said.

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