Northeast senior Casidy Dondiego has a young team to look after this year.
She is one of just two seniors on the Rebel roster, leading a slew of freshman and sophomores into the postseason.
The Rebels take on Davenport Assumption — the No. 3 ranked team in Class 3A—in the first round on Tuesday on the road. Head coach Liz Rueter said that she will be looking to Dondiego to take the helm and the inexperienced team heads into regionals.
"First round with Assumption I know it's going to be difficult," Dondiego said. "If we work hard enough and play like we can I think we can pull through."
Leading wasn't always on Dondiego's mind until this year.
"This year was kind of hard because I've always followed other people," Dondiego said. "I've always done what they've said and it's different with me being the leader. It's harder with people looking up to because sometimes you don't even know what you're doing."
She's made it work, though. Her coach now looks to her to set and example. When Dondiego wasn't quite sure what she was doing herself, she just kept to a motto: fake it until you make it.
"That's definitely one thing to do."
Dondiego is batting just under .400 on the season with a high-scoring Rebels team. They are batting .362 collectively and have put up 211.
It's just the style she likes to play.
"The high numbers and the intensity back and forth is nice," Dondiego said.
She's leading the team with five home runs and has driven in 25 runs this year. That puts her up there with a .646 slugging percentage.
"I just think I'll swing at the one that's mine," Dondiego said.
She also aids on the field. She's been taking the role of third baseman this season, something she likes because of the unpredictability.
"It's very important," Dondiego said. "You don't get a lot of balls, but when you do they're either really hard or strange little bloopers. I think I have a good arm for third base."
She's also played first for the Rebels in the past.
You can tell her teammates look at her for guidance when they're on the field. Every time they come to the circle to meet, she is calm and collected with her young counterparts.
The relationship on the team helps.
"We're close," Dondiego said. "I think we're a little closer than other years. We really hang out together."
Even if she's not the loudest on the field, she really tries to lead by example.
"I want them to see me as a hard working one because I feel like I've worked my butt off throughout the years to get to where I am now," Dondiego said. "I want them to do the same and try their hardest. Even if they don't get it this year, they will eventually get it."
She was a stat leader in basketball this year as well, and he brought the Rebels a long way in softball. With a new head coach and a young team, a 16-12 winning record is certainly not a terrible place to be heading into the postseason.
Although she's not continuing her athletic career into college, she said she's learned a ton from being a Rebel. It's an attitude and lesson she will take with her throughout the rest of her life.
"I think I've had a great high school career from eighth grade to now, I don't regret anything," Dondiego said. "I've learned definitely how to work hard and never give up."