Vaqueros softball off to hot start to season

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Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The Fernley High School softball team has gotten its season off to a hot start, winning its first seven games, with five of them by double digit margins.

In its most recent game on Tuesday, the Vaqueros defeated Bishop Manogue of the Northern 5A by a 14-4 score. The other six wins have come in crossover games against teams from the Northern 3A West Division. The Vaqueros defeated South Tahoe 15-0, Truckee 18-0, Wooster 14-1, Sparks 18-0 and North Valleys 8-6. They also gained a forfeit win over Hug last Saturday

The Vaqueros have been led by Mackenzie Depaoli, who has posted a .682 batting average with 13 runs batted in. Braelyn Birkel has contributed a .579 batting average with 12 RBI and has scored 13 runs, including a home run against Truckee.

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Depaoli also has pitched 16 innings in three games with a 2.19 earned run average with 31 strikeouts and no walks, allowing just 13 hits. Mackenzie Viehland has pitched 12 innings in three games with a 2.33 ERA, 11 strikeouts and four walks, with six hits allowed.

Against Manogue on Tuesday, the Vaqueros did all their scoring in two innings, putting five runs across the plate in the top of the first inning. After Manogue had cut the lead to 5-4, the Vaqueros put it away with nine runs in the top of the sixth.

Kacie Harer was 3-for-3, while Depaoli and Haeley Diehl Lea both had two hits. Four players drove in two runs apiece. Viehland was the winning pitcher, allowing four runs on five hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and three walks.

The Vaqueros have eight players returning from last year’s varsity team, plus a mix of youth, with three sophomores and two freshmen.

Coach Diane Chapin said it’s a versatile team, with most everyone capable of playing more than one position.

“We’re trying to work it so we have a strong two-deep at every position, and we have three catchers, so no one has to catch every doubleheader,” she said.

The East Division again is shaping up to be very competitive. Both Lowry and Fallon also went 6-0 I crossover games, while Spring Creek and Elko each went 5-1, and Dayton is 3-2.

The Vaqueros start play within the division this weekend, hosting Fallon for a three-game series, with a single game Friday at 3 p.m. and a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m.

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