With 10 returning, Lady Wave seeks 8th-straight trip to state
After a solid playing career for Fallon when it competed in the 4A and five years of assisting the Spanish Springs softball program, Kasey (Beach) Chu has returned home.
Chu, in her first head coaching position, inherits a team that returns 10 from last year’s squad, which finished second in the state tournament.
“It’s something special to come back to the school we all graduated at and be able to give back and help these talented girls,” Chu said of herself and assistants Dawn Clark and Jenny Rechel. “We all got to learn from some of the best and cannot wait to take the talent we have and form it into an unstoppable force.”
Seniors Caitlyn Welch, Jordan Beyers, Macie Anderson, Stacy Kalt, Hanna Hitchcock and Faith Cornmesser are back as the Lady Wave begins the season on Friday in California for a two-day tournament. The league season begins next week at Sparks.
“We have six seniors who share the same goal and want to finish their high school career on top,” Chu said.
Chu, who has Louie Mori and Steffany Johnson running the junior varsity team, will rely on her captains — Welch, Cornmesser and Kalt — to lead the team as it goes for its first state title since 2015 after losing to Fernley in last year’s championship.
“I expect these girls to lead their team in a positive and effective manner, and to help build the program to what it is capable of and push their teammates each and every day on and off the field,” Chu said. “They bring a great deal of experience and knowledge about the game of softball and I am excited to see them grow as leaders as they get ready to move onto the next level.”
Chu, though, also will depend on Beyers, Anderson and Hitchcock leading the squad as each brings something different to the team. Hitchcock and Cornmesser will share pitching duties, Anderson’s versatility gives Chu options and Beyers’ speed and quickness will benefit the team in the outfield and on the bases.
“This team has a great bond,” Chu said. “They have so much talent within the 13 girls they need to be able to see that themselves and continue to push each other. They are ready to prove to everyone how capable they are and are ready to have a comeback season.”
Also returning this year are juniors Rylee Buckmaster, Lorynn Fagg, Alexis Jarrett and Shelbi Schultz. New to the team are sophomores Ashley Agaman, Aspen Mori and Bella Jones. The infield will consist of Welch (catcher), Buckmaster, Fagg, Jarrett, Schultz, Anderson, Kalt (shortstop) and Cornmesser. Buckmaster, Fagg, Mori, Beyers, Hitchcock and Jones will play in the outfield. Chu also has Agaman, Schultz and Jones available to pitch.
The goals for this season are simple. Chu wants Fallon to improve every day and take it one inning at a time.
“To become better than we were yesterday, work as a unit and not individuals, and to finish on top and to learn and grow in that process,” Chu described.
During the first two weeks of practice, Chu and her staff went back to basics to iron out the “small stuff,” which she believes will be key to the team’s success this season. In order to get that state title back, Chu doesn’t want the team to get ahead of itself, taking it one game at a time.
“We cannot assume we are there,” she said. “We have talked to the girls a lot about this. Even though the postseason is one of our goals as a team, we know that in order to get there we have to focus on each game.”