Carson softball set for season |

Carson softball set for season

Kurt Molnar/Nevada Appeal After fielding a ground ball, Dacey Hassey, age 16, a junior at Carson High School, throws from second to first base in a pre-season drill during Mondays' team practice.

The Carson High softball team has been able to win the games its supposed to over the last two seasons.

But the Senators haven’t been able to beat the elite teams over that same stretch and because of that, Carson has had to watch other teams playing on its field in the Northern 4A playoffs without participating itself.

Carson coach Scott Vickrey has a goal to change that this year. “We need to go out and beat the good teams this year,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting to zone.”

The Senators have no seniors on this year’s team, but while they’re young, they’re also talented.

“We’re probably more athletic than we’ve been in a long time, but we’re a lot younger than we have been in a long time,” Vickrey said.

“We’re going to be a strong team. The chemistry of the team’s really good. We’re young and strong.”

Vickrey said this year’s team should also have much more firepower and has a great deal more speed.

“We’re stronger with the bats than we’ve been in a long time,” he said. “I’m pretty excited.

“I’m real impressed with our bats. The speed just adds a whole new dimension to our team. I just look at the speed and the bats we have in the lineup. I was just going, ‘wow.'”

But how far Carson goes this season will likely depend on the development of two freshman pitchers, Nikki Keller and Cassie Vondrak.

“She’s got a lot of heat,” said Vickrey about Keller. Keller, though, is still out with a knee injury she sustained during volleyball season. It’s hoped that Keller will return by mid-April if not sooner.

“She’s got a nice fastball,” Vickrey also said about Vondrak. “She’s been working on her off speed a little bit.”

For now, Vondrak and sophomore Christa Casci, who saw plenty of time on the mound last year, will share the lion’s share of the pitching duties. But the eventual plan is for Keller and Vondrak to anchor the mound and for Casci to anchor the infield at shortstop. Elysa Guterrez also adds depth on the mound.

Among the top returners are catcher Dacey Hassey, center fielder Kaitlin Burroughs and third baseman Abby Rankl. Hassey figures to be one of Carson’s top offensive players. “Her bat’s going to be real strong,” Vickrey said.

Hassey will also likely see time at second base and Rankl should see time behind the plate as well.

“The nice part of this team that we have is everybody’s athletic,” Vickrey said. “A lot of people are versatile and play a lot of different positions.”

Another returner, Candice Rutledge should see time in the outfield and infield. Other outfielders included, Sarah Evans, Emily Tobias and Guterrez. Another player who will play a key role with her speed is freshman Katie McEwan.

Jessica Leonard will be a first. Others who could fill in at shortstop when needed for Casci are Desiree Clampitt and McEwan. Other players who should compete for playing time are Loretta Cagle, Belen Munoz, Jennifer Diamond and Jamie Salinas.

Reno High again figures to be one of the favorites in the Sierra League. The High Desert League looks especially strong this year with McQueen, Galena and Spanish Springs all returning strong nucleus.

Carson will be tested right off the bat when it opens the season on Thursday at Douglas. “Everybody’s working hard and it looks like they’re having a good time,” Vickrey said.