Aaron Keller delivered a run-scoring double and solo home run to highlight a nine-run second inning rally that put Fernley High School on track to a 19-8 victory against Rite of Passage in the 3A Division I tournament championship game on Saturday.
The Vaqueros (28-7) erased a 5-4 deficit in that big second and then coasted to their first division title since 1997. Fernley also became the first regular season champion to win the Division I tournament.
"I told my kids that nobody had ever gone in as the No. 1 seed and won this tournament; the first thing they said afterward was, 'We wanted to show we could do it.'" Fernley coach James Huckaby said. "All 17 of the kids on our team got into the game, so this was a total team effort."
Dave Tustin singled to lead off Fernley's big second inning, then Keller and Bryan Reeder hit back-to-back doubles to put the Vaqueros ahead.
Josh Tippit hit 4-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs to lead Fernley's 15-hit attack.
Tyler Selden came on to pitch in the second and went the final four innings to earn the win for the Vaqueros, who open against Whittell at 10 a.m. Thursday in the 3A state tournament in Mesquite.
Whittell 4, Yerington 3
RENO - For the third straight time this season, Whittell beat Yerington in a battle that came down to the final out. This time the verdict gave the Warriors a trip to the division finals - where they lost to Bishop Manogue - and a state tournament berth.
"We should have won," Yerington coach George Ostrander said. "They beat us three times by four runs and we were a hit away from winning all three games."
Bryce Schussel pitched six innings before giving way in the seventh to Brandon Lee, who closed the door on a Yerington rally. The Lions scored once and had the potential tying run on third before Schussel, who had just moved to shortstop, gloved a Matt Farler shot in the hole and got the out at first base to end the game.
Dave Waldaias singled to open Yerington's seventh and scored on Steve Compston's sacrifice fly to make it a one-run game. Andy Melarchik walked and got around to third before the final out.
Whittell took the lead by scoring three times in the third, sparked by Trent Gordon's two-run homer.