Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
The Fernley High School softball team guaranteed themselves on Friday the 3A state playoffs, played on their home field, won’t take place without them. The next task is to claim a region championship.
The Vaqueros defeated Lowry 3-2 in dramatic fashion on Thursday and beat North Valleys 6-4 on Friday to reach Saturday’s region championship. They will play either North Valleys or Fallon, who face each other at 9 a.m. for the second state berth from the North, and the right to face Fernley for the region championship. The championship game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., with an if-necessary game to follow should Fernley lose the first game.
The Vaqueros baseball team, meanwhile, is a win away from the championship game and a state tournament berth of their own. The Vaqueros beat Fallon 6-3 on Thursday, but lost 15-5 to Truckee on Friday, so they must beat Dayton at 9 a.m. Saturday to reach the championship against Truckee. If they get there, they would have to beat the Wolverines twice to take the region title, but a win over Dayton would qualify them for State.
In softball, the Vaqueros stole a run in the bottom of the seventh to beat Lowry 3-2 in their opening game. With the game tied 2-2 Nadia Velasquez led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. She took second on a ground out, then stole third. With two out, Braelyn Birkle walked, then tried to advance to second, drawing a throw. She got herself into a rundown, allowing Velasquez to race home with the winning run.
The Vaqueros had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Birkle walked, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on another passed ball. Fernley went up 2-0 in the second, when an infield single by Sara Moffett scored Haeley Diehl Lea from third base.
Lowry got a run in the fourth and another in the sixth to tie the game.
Against North Valleys, the Vaqueros got a run in the first on an error, but the Panthers tied the game in the top of the second and another in the third to take a 2-1 lead. Fernley scored twice in the third, on an RBI-double by Mackenzie Depaoli and a wild pitch. The score stayed 3-2 until Fernley scored twice more in the fifth inning, on a passed ball and a ground out.
North Valleys scored twice in the top of the sixth to get within 5-4, but the Vaqueros took advantage of a North Valleys error to score an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
In baseball, a two-run single by Derek Ornelas in the first inning and an RBI-double by Levi Jessop staked the Vaqueros to a 3-0 lead over Fallon. Ryan Gamsby added a home run in the third inning to make it 4-1, and later in the inning Justin Reeves scored on an error for a 5-1 lead. Fallon got within 5-3, but Gamsby doubled in Gabe Tollestrup in the fifth, and Reeves held the Greenwave scoreless the rest of the way.
But in Friday’s semifinal game, a 10-run sixth inning by Truckee buried the Vaqueros, forcing them into an elimination game Saturday morning against Dayton.