The NIAA regional softball playoffs get underway Thursday with both Carson and Dayton high school teams in action.
Carson will face Reed at 12:30 at Bishop Manogue in a 4-5 matchup. The 4A teams split their season series, Carson losing 3-1 in the first meeting and winning 7-5 in the second meeting.
Dayton, seeded fourth, opens the 3A playoffs against Elko at 9 a.m. in Fallon. Dayton swept the season series, outscoring fifth-seeded Elko, 30-18.
The young Senators, who have just two seniors, come into the game averaging more than eight runs per contest. All nine Carson starters hit .300 or better during the season, and Carlos Mendeguia’s team has a great combination of speed and power.
Kailee and Kedre Luschar have driven teams crazy with their speed. Both are usually a sure bet to beat anything hit on the ground. Kailee, the sophomore shortstop, hit .484 with 15 RBI. Kedre, a freshman, finished the regular season at .480 with 30 RBI.
Top pitcher Jailene Salciedo is also the team’s best hitter. She hit .527 with a team-best six homers and a team-leading 48 RBI. She also went 14-10 in the circle with a 4.85 ERA.
Kassidy Cooley (.413), Nicole Brown (.368), Alex Salciedo (.333), Cam Quilling (.314), Lauren Lemburg (.360) and Amaya Mendeguia (.360) have all made big offensive contributions. There are no easy outs in the Carson lineup.
Coach Mendeguia’s team has to be confident based on its 7-5 win over the Raiders. The Senators came back from an early 5-0 deficit to win 7-5 in eight innings. Mendeguia is expecting to see Aliya Lange, who was 11-4 with a 1.88 ERA.
“Lange is really good,” Mendeguia said. “She is one of the top pitchers in the league. Reed is really a well balanced team.”
Carla Hernandez is the top Reed hitter with a .468 average. She’s one of nine players at .300 or better. Alycia Coats hit .379 and tied Hernandez for the team lead in homers with six. Shelby Marquardt hit .398 with 17 RBI. Lange helps herself at the plate with a .368 average and 17 RBI.
Dayton was swept by regular-season champion Fallon, but the Dust Devils won 19 games this season.
“We are excited and looking forward to the tournament,” Dayton coach Dusti Houk said. “We are working on fine-tuning some things and getting our bats going. The girls have worked hard this year to get where they are, but know their job isn’t done. It will be a tough tourney.”
Tamia Powell and Julie Rogacs lead the offense. Rogacs hit .488 with three homers and 32 RBI and Powell hit 471 with four homers and 19 RBI. Elizabeth Vincent (.391), Marissa Hein (.360), Caleigh Onstott (.357), Amanda Woitas (.344) and Alee McGill-Howe (.339) have had big years at the plate.
Elko is led by Caresse Basarba (.440) and Kaitlyn Rizo (.476). Sophomore Breanna Whitted compiled an 11-7 record in the circle.