Fernley baseball hosts Elko with playoff berth on the line

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The final weekend of the regular season finds four Northern 3A baseball teams still alive for the final two playoff berths. And since none of the four teams, Fernley, Dayton, Spring Creek and Lowry, are playing each other this weekend, any combination of two of the four teams could still qualify for the Northern 3A Tournament, which will be played in Fallon May 10-12.

Of the four teams, Fernley has the clearest path to the playoffs. The Vaqueros own tiebreakers over Dayton and Spring Creek by having won two of three games against each of those teams, so the Vaqueros would clinch a playoff berth by winning at least two games in this weekend’s three-game series against Elko. The first game is Friday at 3 p.m., with a doubleheader starting Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Vaqueros enter this weekend tied with Dayton for fifth place with 10-11 records. Dayton hosts Fallon for a three-game series Friday and Saturday. Spring Creek is seventh at 9-12, and plays three games this weekend at Sparks. Lowry, which is eighth at 9-13, lost 7-2 to Truckee Thursday afternoon and hosts the Wolverines Friday.

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Two wins over Elko would give the Vaqueros 12 wins, and would eliminate Spring Creek, even if the Spartans sweep Sparks. Anything less would leave the Vaqueros’ playoff fate at the mercy of the results of the other three teams in contention.

Last week, the Vaqueros lost two of three games at South Tahoe, the last one 1-0 in 8 innings, in a playoff-worthy battle between Zach Burns and South Tahoe’s Chris Pfister, who each took shutouts into the eighth inning, before Pfister singled home the winning run with two out in the bottom of the eighth.

Burns allowed only four hits, with one walk and struck out six.

But Pfister was twice able to work out of trouble, twice leaving runners in scoring positions. Burns and Ryan Harer each hit doubles for Fernley, Gabe Wilson singled twice and Josh Kirk had a hit.

Fernley’s win came in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 8-3.

After South Tahoe scored three runs in the bottom of the third, Fernley answered with three in the top of the fourth to regain the lead, and added some breathing room with two more in the fifth.

Burns was 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, Austin Carmack went 2-for-3 and also drove in three runs, and Wilson, Jayce Oliver and Jake Heimbruch each had two hits.

Mason Timbrook threw a complete game, striking out three and allowing five hits and four walks.

South Tahoe won the first game of the series Friday, 14-4.

Despite allowing just three hits, five Fernley pitchers combined to walk 14 batters and hit four more.

Fernley took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the third, before allowing three runs in the third, four in the fourth, five in the fifth and two in the sixth to end the game.

Burns and Wilson each had two hits for Fernley, and Wilson scored twice.

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