ELKO – In 2011, the Elko softball team took three of four games from Fernley – the Lady Indians have not come out on top since.
That was until Friday afternoon.
Ranked No. 1 in the Division 3A North and unbeaten at 16-0, Fernley is now 16-1.
The Lady Indians gave up four runs in the top of the seventh inning and trailed 6-2, Elko unleashing a ferocious comeback in the home half – scoring five runs with two outs – walking off with a three-run moonshot bomb to left-center field by Kaitlyn Rizo.
With the emotional 7-6 victory, Elko clinched the No. 3 seed for the 3A North regional tournament – which begins Wednesday at Newton Field.
Fernley was retired in order in the top of the first inning, Elko managing just a two-out single by sophomore Emery Lesbo in the home half.
After allowing a leadoff walk to senior McKenna Montgomery in the top of the second and a single to left field by senior Skylar Gothan, the Lady Indians stiffened with three straight outs – the final two coming on strikeouts by junior pitcher Breanna Whitted.
Senior Jacqueline Pete was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the second, but Elko was disposed of quickly – Fernley turning a 6-4-3 double play and snagging a popup in the circle.
Junior Abigail Abrahamzon led off the top of the third with a base knock to second base, senior Macie Kirk driving a single on the ground down the third-base line and junior Reese Jones was hit by a pitch – loading the bases.
Pete made a charging play from short and threw out junior courtesy runner Sam Conder at the plate – saving a run as Rizo scooped the ball in the dirt – but Fernley scored the first run of the game on a fielder’s choice.
Junior Madi Murray took the out at third base, Kirk scoring on the groundout RBI by Montgomery.
Murray then ended the inning with a play in foul territory with a leaping grab by the Elko dugout.
In the bottom of the third, senior Kenzie Ratliff led off with a ground-rule double to left field.
She scored on a one-out, two-base rip up the middle by sophomore Lexi Schweer – tying the game 1-1.
Senior Lauryn Guenin kept the streak alive with a base knock to center field.
Lesbo lifted a double that fell deep in right-center field, Schweer trying to score from second – appearing to be a leg-length across the base as Gothan applied the tag on the throw from Kirk.
Ruled out, the game remained gridlocked.
A strikeout by Abrahamzon ended the threat.
After junior Natalie Stewart reached on an error at third base, Whitted fielded a sac bunt for the second out with a flip to Ratliff at first – Elko escaping the inning unharmed with a 6-3 groundout to Schweer at second base.
To the lead from the leadoff spot.
In the bottom of the fourth, Pete watched a first-pitch strike and fouled off four offerings in a row – sending the sixth pitch of the AB into orbit.
The solo blast to left-center lifted Elko to a 2-1 lead.
Fernley tied the ballgame in the top of the fifth, a wild pitch with two away allowing Jones to cash in from third.
Elko went three-up, three-down in the bottom of the fifth – Fernley going out one-two-three in the top of the sixth.
In the home half, the Lady Indians grounded out in order – onto the seventh.
Fernley brought the firepower.
Following a leadoff strikeout, the Lady Vaqueros went off – pounding four-consecutive hits or extra bases.
Kirk tagged a line-drive double to right field and scored as Jones smoked a double to the left-center gap, Fernley grabbing a 3-2 lead.
A two-base poke to center by sophomore Aschlynn Roemer, drove in Jones for a 4-2 advantage.
On the next AB, Montgomery unloaded for a power shot over the fence in center field – the two-run dinger opening a 6-2 cushion.
The breathing room was lessened by the Lady Indians in the home half.
Ratliff continued her perfect day at the plate with a one-out single to center.
With a 3-0 count, Tsosie hit the greenlight pitch deep – nearly sending a shot over the wall in right-center – the ball crashing at the fence for a double.
On the play, junior courtesy runner Mary-Tessa Slater waited until the ball dropped and then rounded second base – sliding safely into third.
A punchout placed the Lady Indians against their 21st and final out – not going away just yet.
Guenin drove in Slater with a base knock to right field – and Tsosie crossed on an error – trimming the lead to 6-4.
Lesbo singled on a line drive up the gut, setting the stage for a wild finish.
Stepping in the box with an 0-for-3 day at the plate, Rizo was not going to waste time waiting for an 0-for-4 exit.
She turned her hands loose on the first pitch, absolutely crushing a shot to left-center – Guenin scoring, Lesbo in and Rizo letting out a scream as the ball touched down over the wall as she rounded first base.
The three-run, walk-off bomb lifted Elko to a 7-6 victory over now one-loss Fernley – ending a 19-game losing streak to the Lady Vaqueros.
Fernley pitching: Abrahamzon 6 IP 8 H 2 R 2 ER 0 BB 2 K. Conder 2/3 IP 5 H 5 R 5 ER 0 BB 1 K.
Elko pitching: Whitted 7 IP 9 H 6 R 6 ER 1 BB 5 K.
Fernley batting: Montgomery 2-3 3 RBI 1 R, Jones 2-3 1 RBI 2 R, Kirk 2-4 2 R, Abrahamzon 1-2, Roemer 1-2 1 RBI 1 R, Gothan 1-4. 2B: Jones, Roemer, Kirk. HR: Montgomery.
Elko batting: Ratliff 3-3 1 R, Lesbo 3-4 1 R, Guenin 2-4 1 RBI 1 R, Tsosie 1-1 1 R, Pete 1-2 1 RBI 1 R, Whitted 1-3, Rizo 1-4 3 RBI 1 R, Schweer 1-4 1 RBI. 2B: Tsosie, Lesbo, Ratliff, Schweer. HR: Pete, Rizo.
FERNLEY – 001 010 4 – 691
ELKO – 001 100 5 – 7(13)1
The Lady Indians will perform senior day for Ratliff, Guenin, Avery Jorgenson, Rizo and Pete at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Elko (13-4 in league) will close its regular season against Fernley (16-1 in league) at noon Saturday, at Newton Field.