Today should have been the second day of the NIAA Class 3A State Softball Tournament at a high school in Northern Nevada.
Of course, it has been a couple of months since anybody seriously thought that might happen, and none of those anybodies was more bothered than the players at Pahrump Valley High School, who would have gone into that event as the defending champion if they finished among the top two at the 3A Southern Region Tournament.
With a sharply truncated season, no postseason and no Senior Day, Trojans softball coach Cassondra Lauver took to the team’s Facebook page to honor the seniors who have done so much for the program.
The words are hers, somewhat massaged for publication.
Bartley is not still in the decision-making process, having committed last fall to Bryant &Stratton College in Virginia. Maybe it makes sense that she was among the first to commit to play in college, as she was one of the first to begin playing softball. Lauver remembers “her adorable curly hair and glasses” back when McKayla was a “wee little tyke.”
Another veteran of rec and travel softball — playing for Pretty Vicious and Impact Gold — and another four-year letter winner, McKayla has been an all-league and all-region catcher.
“One of the things we love most about McKayla is her giant heart,” wrote Lauver, continuing a trend. “She cheers on her teammates and is always the first to give them a vote of confidence when needed.”
The coach called McKayla’s work ethic “insane” and said she is passionate about becoming elite at her position.
“We are so happy for you, McKayla!” Lauver wrote.
With their senior years wiped out, the Trojans have to find good memories from their first three seasons. For Cable, that isn’t difficult: She belted a game-winning 3-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to cap a come-from-behind victory over Fernley in the Class 3A state title game in Mesquite.
Kaden played first base and outfield for the Trojans, and Lauver said she reads the ball well in the outfield and has made some ridiculous stretch plays at first base over the years.
Like many of her teammates, Kaden’s journey started in PYSA, which led her to playing for Pretty Vicious and finally playing for Pahrump Valley High School. Lauver said Kaden is supportive of her teammates and steps into any role asked of her.
While the title-winning blast always will be the best memory of Kaden’s high school career, Lauver has another one that sticks in her mind. At the beginning of the 2019 season, in preseason softball, Kaden took a ball to the nose. It was broken, Mom had to come down and get her, Kaden had black eyes for a minute … and then she stepped back on that field.
Another longtime player, Hannah has PYSA, Pretty Vicious, Lil’ Rebels and Impact Gold in her softball background. Hannah is an encouraging teammate and a focused pitcher and outfielder, Cassondra Lauver wrote. “She has had many moments of greatness throughout her time in the circle.”
The coach shared one of her most vivid memories of Cuellar: During her junior year, she was pitching at a tournament in Utah and a girl hits a rocket back at her. The ball takes one hop and then hits Hanna right in the chin. One week and a few stitches later, she’s back in the circle, ready to strike out people out again.
The starting pitcher in the 2019 Class 3A championship game victory over Fernley, Hannah plans a career in real estate.
“She is a kind and considerate person who is loved by her coaches and teammates,” Lauver wrote.
The daughter of two softball coaches dreamed of playing college softball for as long as her mother can remember. “She has hated the game, and she has loved the game,” Cassondra Lauver wrote. “She has also hated that she loved the game.”
Skyler’s softball resume includes Pahrump Youth Softball Association and travel ball for Pretty Vicious Softball, Scorpions, Lil’ Rebels and Impact Gold. She was a starting varsity player throughout her high school career, and she has been named league and region MVP.
A student of the game, Skyler has become a teammate who others look to for leadership and confidence. She is driven, dedicated and passionate, and her mother lists her strong will as one of the qualities she loves the most. “As a mom, I haven’t always loved her strong will, but also as a mom, I know that trait has given her courage to fight for what she believes is right.”
Skyler has accepted a scholarship to play softball at the College of Southern Nevada and hopes to one day coach at the college level.
“Kiley Lyons has a heart of gold,” Lauver wrote of another player who came up through PYSA and played for two travel clubs, Pretty Vicious in Pahrump and Impact Gold in Las Vegas.
Known for making big plays in clutch moments in the outfield, Lyons was lauded by Lauver for her attitude toward her teammates.
“Kiley has been a great leader for younger outfielders, teaching them techniques, strategies and making them feel welcome and confident,” Lauver wrote, adding that Kiley is among the most spirited of the Trojans, cheering on her teammates and lifting spirits after a rough at-bat.
“Kiley has been a blessing to our team, and we are so excited to see where her journey takes her,” Lauver wrote.
Kiley hopes to play softball in college and is still in the decision-making process.
The four-year varsity letter winner is headed to Williston State College in North Dakota to play softball for the Tetons. She has been playing softball since seventh grade, and Lauver calls her a “sneak-attack beast.”
“She is quick, she is fierce, and she covers ground in the outfield like a gazelle,” Lauver wrote of the four-year letter winner. She is a left-handed slap hitter but can hit the ball pretty hard, and the coach said she has been an impact player for the Trojans.
But perhaps outfield is where Martin stands out. “She’s not afraid to jump fences to run a ball down, and she makes money throws to home from the outfield,” Lauver wrote.
She said Terrena is supportive of her teammates, cheers them on and has been a great role model for younger players who is generous, loving and kind to everyone.
“We have loved watching Terrena grow into the amazing woman she is today and are so excited for her next chapter as a college softball player,” Lauver concluded.
Ashliegh earned her varsity letter her freshman year, but her sophomore season was cut short by injury. With her injury still a concern the following year, Ashliegh found a new role as the team manager.
“Ashliegh was a phenomenal manager!” Lauver wrote. “This girl came to practice every day, help set up stations, kept stats during games, cheered on her teammates and helped coach other outfielders.”
Now, because of COVID-19, she will graduate with only one full season of high school softball.
“I have to tell you that through all of this adversity, Ashliegh has maintained a positive attitude and has shown great leadership on our team,” Lauver wrote. “She controls what she can and makes the best of every situation. She has had to overcome a lot in her life, but you would never know it because she just keeps swimming.
“This girl is going places in life. She is truly inspirational, and she touches my heart.”
Ashliegh will go on to UNLV to chase her dream of studying forensic science.
Kareena moved to Pahrump her junior year of high school. She had played softball most of her life (rec ball as well as travel ball for Lil’ Rebels in Las Vegas), so the Pahrump Valley coaches were excited about what she would bring to the team. As a left-handed pitcher, an asset at first base and a power hitter in the lineup, it didn’t take long for Kareena to make an impact for the Trojans.
She fractured her finger while trying to pick a ball at first base during her first season and had to sit out for a few weeks. She came back with a vengeance and was a key player in Pahrump Valley’s title run.
Kareena is strong and mighty, fearless and gritty, Lauver said. She plays big in big moments and came through in clutch moments time and again. She always tries to lighten the mood and lift the spirits of her teammates.
The University of Nevada, Reno, is the next stop for Kareena, who plans a career in speech pathology.
All high school seniors were cheated out of some special experiences because of COVID-19, but the members of the most recent Nye County team to capture a high school state championship lost something more: the chance to defend that title. And looking at how many of Lauver’s comments on her seniors had nothing to do with their softball talent, another chance at a trophy is not the primary reason they will be missed.