The Fernley High softball team has a dominant pitcher in Christina Thomas.
Now it appears, the Vaqueros have plenty of firepower to provide more than enough support for Thomas. Fernley showed it is a legitimate threat to win the NIAA/U.S. Bank 3A State title after beating Truckee 5-1 on Saturday at home for the Northern 3A crown.
It was a banner day for Fernley as its baseball team also qualified for the state tournament with a 12-2 win at home on Saturday in the Northern 3A third place game.
Fernley's softball team has won 10 straight games. Against Truckee, Thomas pitched a one-hitter, allowing one unearned run and striking out nine while walking none. Truckee had four base runners on a hit, two errors and a hit batsman.
On Friday, Thomas struck out 13 and walked none in a three-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Lowry. Against the Northern 3A's top teams in Manogue, Lowry and Truckee, The Vaqueros have gone 4-0 in their last four games, scoring 33 runs in the process.
Fernley had lost to Truckee three times before beating Truckee on Saturday.
"We have a pretty dominant pitcher," Fernley coach Diane Chapin said.
But Fernley also has given Thomas plenty of support as five players drove in the Vaqueros' runs on Saturday: Thomas, Nikki Wheeler, Walita Cuerta, Kami Kornegay, Jamie Meissner and Rebekah Freeman. "It was pretty much a team effort," Chapin said.
FERNLEY 12, SPRING CREEK 2
Fernley overcame the mid-season resignation of coach James Huckaby, who led the Vaqueros to the state title last year, to return to the state tournament. Junior varsity coach Cory Sandberg took over for Huckaby.
"I tell you what, it was a relief that we got there," said Sandberg about state. "Everybody was happy.
"We played very well. It's nice to go back considering everything that's happened. Now obviously once we get there, anything can happen."
Cody Wagner took over as the team's No. 2 pitcher during the middle of the year and was the winning pitcher on Saturday in the five-inning game, going the distance.
Even though Matt Lambeth is the No. 1 pitcher, Sandberg said his team is stronger with Wagner on the mound and Lambeth at shorstop.
"He's been big ever since he's stepped into the role," said Sandberg about Wagner. "We're a much better team with him on the mound and with Lambeth at shortstop. Matt makes all the plays at shorstop."
Brian Reeder went 4-for-4 on Saturday. "He's been our leading hitter the entire year," Sandberg said. "He just had a big day in a big game."
Reeder set the tone when he tripled and scored in the first inning. Fernley broke open the game with seven runs in the fourth. Reeder singled twice, Tim Hines had a two-run double and Derek Henry had a two-run single during the rally.
Tony Selden and Lambeth each went 2-for-3 and Wagner, Adam Schwab and Kyle Davis all added hits for Fernley.