CARSON CITY, Nev. (BVM) – Kailee Luschar stole 88 bases over 93 career games through three seasons, but doesn’t believe speed is her best attribute. She has plenty to choose from, of course, as the Carson High School senior was named Nevada’s best high school softball player by MaxPreps in February.
Aside from her ability to steal bases at a high rate and reach base consistently with a .505 career batting average, the middle infielder said it’s her high softball IQ that is most valuable.
“I can read people pretty well like ‘Oh, she’s going to go here. Watch this.’” Luschar said. “Last year, my catcher and I had a really good relationship where we could just look at each other and we’d know to pick someone off here. It was amazing.”
Luschar’s profound knowledge and innate feel for the game is something that has built over time. The foundation was built by Luschar’s father, Steve, who would play catch and watch the Women’s College World Series with his two daughters. Kailee said she watched so much college softball as an adolescent that she knew every player and their position on the major programs.
But it was something Steve did with Kailee just before bedtime when she was young that laid the groundwork for one of the country’s best softball players in the Class of 2020.
“At night when we were really little, my dad would give us scenarios like ‘There’s a runner on second, you’re an outfielder and there’s a ground ball. Where are you going to go?’” Kailee said. “Before bed that’s what we’d do. I think that was a big part, too. I got addicted to softball really early and it just kept growing and growing.”
The softball addiction also rubbed off on Kailee’s younger sister, Kedre, who is a Carson junior and elite softball talent in her own right. Kedre led the Senators in RBIs (49) in 2019, trailed only her sister for the team lead in batting average and hits and is committed to play softball at the University of Oregon.
Similar to the relationship with her catcher, Kailee said she and Kedre have a connection on the softball diamond that makes it difficult for opponents to match up with.
“It’s super cool (playing with Kedre), we just have a connection,” Kailee said. “I would lead off and she would hit second, and we would do this bunt and run when I was on second and I’d just go all the way home. It just causes chaos; it’s so awesome.”
Even before COVID-19 canceled school and spring sports, Kailee was robbed of her senior campaign and final season playing alongside her sister.
A January MRI revealed Kailee had a torn labrum after months of pain. Two weeks after the diagnosis, Kailee underwent surgery and has spent the months since rehabilitating back to form. The senior was cleared to hit for the first time in late April and planned to suit up for senior night and a possible state tournament run before the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Without a final prep season to rush back for, Kailee can focus on her next chapter as a student-athlete at Arizona State University. The Carson standout is one of seven athletes who make up the Sun Devils’ No. 12-ranked recruiting class by FloSoftball.
Although the recovery process has taken a physical and mental toll, Kailee believes her injury will fuel her greatest accomplishments.
“It’s hard because (with the injury) I know people are getting better than me and I want to be the best,” Kailee said. “So it’s been difficult, but I just have a chip on my shoulder and I know it will do more for me than it’s going to hurt me. It’s going to make me a much better player.”
Arizona State concluded the 2020 regular season at 22-7 before the season was canceled due to COVID-19 prior to Pac-12 Conference play and last ranked No. 15 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll on March 8. The Sun Devils will bring in a top-12 recruiting class next season led by a Nevada infielder with a massive chip on her shoulder.
“Even if I don’t play, I will be the best teammate,” Kailee said. “I will always be there supporting. But if I do play, I will be running and playing as hard as I can. I will give it my all and there’s nothing they can’t get from me. Whatever they tell me to do, I’ll do it.”