Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
After sweeping a three-game series with Spring Creek last week, the Fernley High School softball team will square off with Lowry for three games this week for first place in the East Division of the Northern 3A.
The Vaqueros will host Lowry in a single game Wednesday, then go to Winnemucca Saturday for a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.
Against Spring Creek, the Vaqueros pulled out a 4-3 win last Wednesday, then broke out the bats to win both games Saturday, 17-1 and 12-2.
Haeley Diehl doubled over the head of the Spring Creek right fielder to drive in Braelyn Birkle with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game. The Vaqueros entered the inning trailing 3-2, but Aschlynn Roemer came off the bench to hit a pinch hit double to start the inning. She scored on a single by Birkle to tie the game.
Fernley took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a single by Mackenie Viehland that scored Mackenzie DePaoli. The Vaqueros went up 2-0 in the third inning when Birkle scored on an error.
Spring Creek got all three of its runs on an inside-the-park home run by Evelyn Bright in the top of the fourth, and held the 3-2 lead until Fernley’s winning rally in the seventh.
DePaoli was 3-for-4 and Diehl was 2-for-4 and although the Vaqueros had 11 hits, they also struck out 11 times.
“For some reason, we weren’t hitting very well,” coach Diane Chapin.
Spring Creek got seven hits of Viehland, but she struck out 12 and allowed three walks.
In Saturday’s first game, the Vaqueros were leading 4-1 when they batted around the lineup twice in the fourth inning to score 13 runs. Viehland hit a 3-run double, DePaoli doubled in two runs, and Starr Schennum, Roemer, Diehl, Aliza Lara, Birkle and Roemer again drove in runs during the rally.
The Vaqueros had 18 hits, led by Roemer with four and DePaoli and Diehl with three each. DePaoli was the pitcher, allowing only three hits and one walk with nine strikeouts.
In the finale, the Vaqueros led 11-0 before Spring Creek scored. DePaoli and Viehland had run-scoring doubles in a four-run first inning, and in the second inning, Roemer doubled in one run and Viehland hit a two-run home run to make it 7-0.
Viehland was back in the circle and struck out 10 while allowing two hits and three walks. Birkle and Viehland led the attack with three hits each.
The Vaqueros and Lowry are both 8-1, and have similar statistics against a similar schedule. Both teams won three games against Dayton and won two of three against Fallon. While the Vaqueros own the sweep of Spring Creek, Lowry has a sweep of Elko.
With the lineup starting to swing the bat well, the Vaqueros are also getting the kind of pitching from Viehland and DePaoli that reminds Chapin of 2016, the last time they had an interchangeable 1-2 pitching punch of Courtney Dunn and Taelyne Phillips.
“We’re starting to look like the team we want to look like, what we’ve been working on,” Chapin said.