Lifelong softball player grows into ace pitcher
Churchill County senior Kayla Buckmaster has been part of Fallon softball most of her life, and has grown into a powerful pitcher for the Lady Wave.
Joining varsity her freshman year, Buckmaster has played in 98 games and achieved a batting average of .483 with 73 runs, including 10 home runs, with 86 RBI. As a pitcher, she has won 12 games and struck out 294 batters.
The Fallon native began playing softball at 5 years old and has played every summer since turning 8. Since then, she said she’s played for four tournament teams — the Lady Aces, Fallon Force, Nevada Stealth and Nevada Wildcats.
“I’ve been playing awhile,” Buckmaster said.
Fallon softball coach Tammie Shemenski said the senior has “come a long way” in her time on the team and recalled she struggled some at first. The coach said other teams would often hit home runs while Buckmaster was pitching during her first two years.
Shemenski’s coaching, starting Buckmaster’s junior year, did the trick and kicked off the athlete’s rise to her current standing. Buckmaster said she would not be the player she is today without her current coach. Shemenski taught her new pitches while motivating her to improve.
“She’s a hard worker,” Shemenski said. “She wants to beat everyone, she wants to be that No. 1 pitcher and she’s made it. She’s just outstanding.”
The coach added Buckmaster is a joy to coach and also great with the younger players on the team. She said Buckmaster is one of the three players, along with captains Faith Cornmesser and Caitlyn Welch, who bring the team together. Buckmaster said she loves her teammates and has always enjoyed playing with the group. She added she gets along with everyone and is friends with all her teammates.
“We’ve all been close since we were little,” she said. “It’s easy playing with each other because we all know how each other works.”
Looking back, Buckmaster said her experience with Fallon softball has been great. She said she’s learned so much and become a better player over the years. She attributed the growth to her teammates, coaches and the fans who support them every game.
“I think it has to do with everyone, not just me,” she said.
Buckmaster said her senior year has been “bittersweet” and every time she steps on the field it’s emotional since it’s a little closer to her final game. She still finds the positive, though — every time the team goes on the field it’s also closer to regionals and a hopeful state game.
“It has positives and negatives,” Buckmaster said. “I’m going to miss everybody, I’m going to miss my coaches. I’m going to miss coming out to practice every single day, but I know that when I leave, the team’s got it; they’ll be fine.”
Buckmaster also played volleyball for the Lady Wave and was on the basketball team for two years. Buckmaster said she is not planning to try out for college sports, though may still play intramural.
Buckmaster has been accepted to the University of Nevada, Reno and plans to pursue education or sociology this fall.