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April 10, 2014
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Incline softball | Nelson, Keller powering Highlanders in early season

You can’t complain about having eight seniors on a softball team, and Incline coach Kelley Thompson is certainly not.

“We have eight seniors, so we have a lot of experience. We actually have a good mix of youth and experience,” said Thompson, whose seniors are accompanied by two juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen.

Despite struggling through some early-season illnesses, the Highlanders are off to a 3-3 start in Northern Division III league play and 5-3 overall.

Offense has been the key so far. Incline is batting a collective.395 on the season and is scoring better than 11 runs per game.

Seniors Elyse Nelson and Kierra Keller have been hottest of all Incline hitters. Nelson is batting a cool .667 with two home runs, two doubles and 12 RBIs through the first eight games. Keller, who’s new to the Highlanders but has an extensive playing background, is hitting .613 with five home runs, six doubles and 16 RBIs.

Keller, who bats third in the lineup, with Nelson following in the cleanup hole, is Incline’s main pitcher along with Nelson. Keller catches when not pitching, Thompson said.

Senior shortstop Maddie Findlen, hitting .414, leads off the order and is followed by senior catcher and first baseman Kortney Solis, who’s hitting .379. Freshman third baseman Karyss Thompson, hitting .440, bats fifth and senior second baseman Caroline May sixth, followed by senior Sarah Wright, sophomore Briana Barraza and freshmen Christine Schwartz or Harmony Bates.

Wright, who recently returned from illness, roams center field and is joined in the outfield by Baraza and Schwartz. Taylor Orblych, Elizabeth Resney, Tori Findlen, Alex Resney and Megan Rachlin round out the Highlanders’ roster.

The Highlanders and the rest of the league are chasing Yerington and White Pine, both of whom are undefeated in league play. Incline, which played White Pine competitively and will face Yerington this weekend, is hoping to earn one of the four regional playoff berths.

“It’s going to be a battle for third and fourth spots,” Thompson said.

The Highlanders play a league doubleheader at Yerington on Saturday and host two against North Tahoe on April 19.

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Sierra Sun Updated Apr 10, 2014 09:08AM Published Apr 10, 2014 09:09AM Copyright 2014 Sierra Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.