RENO - The Vaqueros live to fight again. After losing to Pahrump Valley 10-0 in its first game in the 3A state tournament Friday at Rancho San Rafael Park, Fernley outlasted the Spring Creek Spartans 4-3 in eight innings to move on in the consolation bracket. Better late than never works for the Fernley Vaqueros and coach Diane Chaplin.
"That was an exciting one," Chaplin said. "It took awhile but they (bats) finally came around."
Down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning and facing elimination, Fernley broke through for two runs and new life. Seniors set the table for the Vaqueros. Wali Querta started the rally with a ground ball to short. The throw was off and Spring Creek's first baseman couldn't come up with it.
Heather Meadows followed with a single to right. Nikki Wheeler then layed down a bunt. The throw went to third late and the bases were full. Sophomore center fielder Quinn Hull-Taylor then laced a single to right center to score Querta and Meadows. Spring Creek was able to get out of the inning on a double play on C. J. Andrews' line out after Hilary Wortman hit into a fielder's choice.
The Spartans were unable to score in the top half of the eighth, bringing up Vaquero senior shortstop Kaylea Dunn. She bounced a ball in front of the plate. The catcher's throw went into right field, and Dunn motored into second. Amanda Renslow, Fernley's senior left fielder, grounded a 2-2 pitch between first and second into right for the game winning RBI.
Fernley had opened the scoring with one run in the first, but was unable to add to that lead. Spring Creek scored in the fourth on a single to center that Hull-Taylor was unable to pick up cleanly, allowing the runner to score from second. The Spartans added two more tallies in the top of the seventh on an error, a walk, and a single. Hull-Taylor made a diving catch in center to stop the rally.
In the first game, Querta struck out five in the first two innings before Pahrump Valley broke through for four runs in the third. That would be all the Trojans would need as the Vaqueros couldn't get a runner past second until Dunn's two-out triple in the sixth. She was stranded, however, and Pahrump Valley capitalized on Vaquero miscues, as they had all game, to score three and win by the 10-run rule.
"Yeah, maybe we were a little (tight). It seemed our enthusiasm was missing a little today," Chapin said. "We'd like a rematch with either one of them," she said when asked about playing Fernley's opponent in Saturday's consolation bracket game. "We took Manogue to 12 (innings) earlier this year, and basically lost because a ball went under the fence."
Fernley plays Bishop Manogue Saturday at 10 a.m. with the winner playing Pahrump Valley, who beat Manogue 8-3 in their second game Friday.
Contact Rob Renaud at firstname.lastname@example.org.