Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
After a slow start out of the gate, the Fernley baseball team has built up a full head of steam as it hits the opening of Northern 3A East Division play this weekend.
The Vaqueros have rebounded from losses in their first two games to win five consecutive games as the open divisional play with a three-game series against Fallon. They will host the Greenwave for a single game at 3 p.m. Friday, then a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Struggling at the plate in the first two games, the Vaqueros lost 5-3 to Yerington and 4-2 to South Tahoe, but they’ve scored at least nine runs in every game since, beating Truckee 13-7, Wooster 10-0, Sparks 9-5, North Valleys 10-4 and Hug 15-0.
“Since three weeks ago against Truckee, we’ve hit the ball real well, played clean defense and our pitchers are doing their jobs,” coach Stan Pryor said.
Fallon has started its season with a 4-3 record and is 4-2 in crossover games against West Division teams.
The key to the turnaround for the Vaqueros has been an offense that has been hitting throughout the lineup, Pryor said. Julian McIntyre leads the squad with a .583 batting average, including four doubles and two triples. Jake Cumming is hitting .500, and a total of seven players are batting better than .300.
The Vaqueros have used six pitchers so far, and they’ve combined for a 2.58 earned run average. Ryan Gamsby leads the team in innings with 13 2/3, and he’s struck out 20 and walked four while allowing 13 hits with a 2.05 earned run average. Justin Reeves has thrown 10 2/3 innings with a 1.97 ERA and has struck out 15 with 8 walks.
Pryor said the plan is to have Gamsby start the first game of each weekend series, with Reeves starting the first game of the Saturday doubleheaders, and most likely Jake Cumming starting the finale. Gabe Tollestrup, McIntyre and Austin Hobson have all done well when they’ve gotten a chance, so Pryor said he feels confident anytime the Vaqueros have to bring in a reliever.
“The starters are getting stretched out and we have good guys who can come in when we have to pull them,” Pryor said.
Overall, Pryor said the Vaqueros have a strong core of players who have enjoyed success together.
“It’s a good group who have been playing together since they were boys,” he said.
Fernley will be hosting both the regional and state baseball tournament’s this season, which makes the postseason carrot even more enticing.
“We’re hosting State, so our goal is to be there,” Pryor said.