Senator softball eyes state tournament run in 2020
Returning experience and tough finish last season propel Carson into new decade
Carson High softball has some big shoes to fill, but also brings back plenty of varsity experience from last year’s team that finished the year just shy of qualifying for the state tournament.
The returning varsity experience has set the Senators’ minds in one direction – the state tournament.
“We felt like it was taken from us (last year), but you know that’s what you play for every year. An added incentive, just the way we lost left a bitter taste in our mouth all summer long,” said Carson head coach Carlos Mendeguia.
However, there will be a couple of key positions where Carson will need newer, less experienced players to step in.
The main positions that the Senators will turn to newer faces are pitcher as well as the right side of the infield in first and second base.
Hurling in the circle
It’s a hitter’s league, said Mendeguia, but the Senators will look to two sophomore pitchers to pick up where Jailene Salciedo left off last season.
As the top two options this season, Mendeguia will look to Caydee Farnworth and Shannon Vonduering to carry the weight in the pitcher’s circle.
Farnworth will be the team’s No. 1 option to start the season after throwing 40.2 innings her freshman season with 50 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.13.
Though wins and losses aren’t a direct correlation to pitching success, Farnworth was a perfect 6-0 in the circle last season.
Vonduering will be the Senators’ second option after netting a total of five innings of varsity action last season.
The sophomore had a 4.20 ERA in those five innings with five strikeouts and 10 walks.
Mendeguia admitted that the roles his two sophomores will play on the squad this year are not easy ones to simply jump into.
“We’re going to be leaning on them as much as we can,” Mendeguia said. “You’re only going to go as far as your pitching can take you. It’s not an easy role.”
A positive for both young pitchers will be having a senior behind the plate in Alex Salciedo.
The senior hit .296 at the dish last season and gunned down six runners trying to steal out of 24 attempts.
The right side of the infield opened up in the last few weeks of the offseason after Northern Region offensive player of the year Kailee Luschar, an official Arizona State signee, tore her labrum.
Luschar will likely miss most of the season, but Mendeguia does hold out some hope that the Senators will be able to make use of their three-time first team all-region player later on in the season.
“Losing Kailee is a huge loss. She was the offensive player of the year and three-time first team all-league player that’s not easy to replace,” said Mendeguia of his senior, who hit for a .579 batting average last year – the highest in the state.
Without Luschar’s bat and glove at second base, the right side of the infield is open for the taking for up-and-coming Senator sluggers.
“That’s one position at second base where we’re putting multiple players to fill that hole,” Mendeguia said, “same with first base.”
There aren’t any question marks at this juncture about the other half of Carson’s infield, which will feature Nevada commit Bella Kordonowy at shortstop and junior Amaya Mendeguia at third base after she hit .402 last season with 25 RBIs.
The outfield is chock-full of returning varsity talent, bringing back Camryn Quilling in left, Kedre Luschar in center and as well as Vonduering in right.
Quilling hit for a .467 batting average in her junior season with 14 RBIs while Kedre Luschar has 49 hits and 49 RBIs in 2019 to go alongside 11 triples and eight home runs.
Mendeguia doesn’t have any reservations about the Senators at the plate and knows Carson will have to be threatening at the dish this season.
“We’re going to be aggressive at the plate and we’re going to be aggressive on the bases and just got to play solid defense as well,” said Mendeguia.
The longtime Carson coach expects Spanish Springs to continue being one of the top teams in the North, alongside McQueen and Reed with the Senators in the mix for one of the top spots in the region.