ELKO – With one series remaining in the regular season, the Elko baseball team has plenty to play for.
The Indians (16-8 in league) are tied for third place with Fallon (16-8 in league), but the Greenwave hold the head-to-head advantage.
Plainly put, Elko needs to win and the Indians need some help from South Tahoe (15-9 in league) – the Vikings hosting the Greenwave in a three-game slate.
Elko will finish up at home, hosting Fernley (8-16 in league) in a three-game series – first pitch set for 2 p.m. Friday at Upper Kump Field – the Indians performing their senior-day celebration for 11 athletes at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The majority of Elko’s seniors have played varsity baseball since they were sophomores – a few joining the elder statesmen as freshmen.
The Indians qualified for the state tournament each of the past-four seasons – including the last-two years – giving about half a dozen of Elko’s seniors at least two years of experience at the state level.
However, if Elko is going to make a return to state in 2019 – the Indians might want to do all they can to get either a first-round bye or a No. 3 seed.
First things first, Elko must control what it can – starting by beating Fernley.
Despite Fernley’s .333 winning percentage in league, the Vaqueros have a couple victories of significance.
On April 20, Fernley took the final game of the series versus South Tahoe by a final score of 8-7.
In the first game of a doubleheader on April 6, the Vaqueros beat North Valleys (13-11 in league) handily by a score of 16-3 – losing the series finale 14-13 in extra innings.
The Panthers clinched a berth in the 3A North regional tournament, taking two of three games in Saturday’s doubleheader at Fallon by scores of 14-9 and 8-3, the Greenwave’s protest of a pitch count dismissed by the NIAA.
Fernley opened its series against Lowry with a 3-2 win on March 29, losing a 5-4 ballgame in extra innings to open the doubleheader on March 30.
As a team, the Vaqueros bat .333 with a .416 on-base percentage – Elko’s totals dropping to .347 at the plate and .428 on base.
The Indians possess wide advantages in critical areas – pitching and defense.
Elko’s staff has combined for a 2.68 earned-run average, Fernley’s pitchers currently allowing 6.82 earned runs per contest.
Behind the mound, the Indians field the ball at .934 – Fernley’s percentage of clean plays at .874.
The Indians also force the issue once runners are on base – stealing 70 bases – Fernley swiping 26 bags as a team.
The Vaqueros have powered two home runs, while Elko is without a knock that has left the yard all season.
First pitch for the series between Elko and Fernley is set for 2 p.m. Friday at Upper Kump Field.
Senior day will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday for Cooper Jones, Kohl McIntosh, Brycen Kelly, Kaleb Martinez, Christian Quintana, Lupe Ortiz, Lukas Nelms, Austyn Marin, Carter Alvarado, Jacob Kath and Ronin Rowley.
The regular season will close with a doubleheader at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday.