Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
After playing 12 games over a nine-day stretch the past two weeks, the Fernley High School softball team faces a comparatively slight workload this weekend, needing to win between three to five games over three days in order to win the Northern 3A Region Tournament this weekend.
But the stakes this weekend are significantly higher than they were the past two weeks.
The Vaqueros will be the No. 1 seed for the regional tournament in Winnemucca. They will begin play Thursday at 2:30 p.m. against Elko or Lowry, who face each other at 10 a.m. With a win, the Vaqueros would play in the semifinals Friday at 2:30 p.m., for a berth in the championship game Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
A loss in the first game would drop the Vaqueros into the losers’ bracket, needing to win five games for the title, starting at 10 a.m. Friday.
The Vaqueros come in on a serious roll, having won four of five games in a tournament in Susanville April 29 and 30, then winning seven consecutive games last weekend against Lowry, Spring Creek and Elko, with two of those going extra innings.
In Susanville, the Vaqueros beat Red Bluff (Calif.) 3-0, Anderson (Calif) 5-1, Juneau-Douglas (Alaska) 8-0 and Chico (Calif.) 4-2, before losing the last game to Wheatland (Calif.) 6-1.
Making up games that had been moved to accommodate their two tournament appearances, the Vaqueros beat Lowry three straight May 2 and 3, 3-2, 6-2 and 10-5 in 12 innings. Last Friday, they went to Spring Creek and won 15-7, then went to Elko for a 5-0 win. Saturday they beat Elko twice more, 10-0 and 6-5 in 8 innings.
“We have played well the last 17 games, of which 14 were on the road, only losing once to a good team from California,” coach Diane Chapin said. “Both pitchers are throwing well and not giving too many free passes. Offensively we keep improving each game.”