3A STATE: Fernley deals Boulder City early exit

RENO — It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Not for a senior class that had so much success, including three seniors who won 128 games in their career.

Boulder City, which appeared to be a heavy favorite to at least advance to the Class 3A state softball championship game, fell out of the tournament Friday morning, dropping a 6-3 decision to Fernley at UNR’s Hixson Field.

The Eagles (29-5), who lost on Thursday to Lowry, entered the state tournament on a 27-game winning streak and left it with a two-game losing streak.

“We haven’t faced a lot of pitching like this all season,” said Boulder City coach Bruce Reid. “That makes a lot of difference. These pitchers weren’t overpowering, but they were good. It’s tough when you don’t get to see the competition game in and game out.

“You can’t simulate it. If you could, I wouldn’t worry about it.”

Boulder City grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Kasey Ochoa’s sacrifice fly and protected the lead until the sixth.

Karlee Koopman was sparkling for five innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six in that time, but the Vaqueros sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth, scoring four times on five hits and a Boulder City error.

Boulder City trimmed the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the inning, but RBI singles by Jordan King and Brooke Mattice in the seventh essentially sealed the Eagles’ fate.

Fernley collected nine hits in the final two innings.

“They made some great adjustments,” Reid said. “They’re a very aggressive team. When you get that way and start getting the timing, they just started hitting the ball.”

Meanwhile, King limited the Eagles to just five hits, and Boulder City made two costly baserunning mistakes to end innings.

Ali Rants was tagged out after doubling with two outs in the fifth, and pinch-runner Kaila Davis got caught off second after Shayla Bennett’s two-run single in the sixth.

“We were getting some good swings, but I think we got a little overanxious,” Reid said.

Rants went 2-for-4 with two doubles for Boulder City. She, Koopman and Taylor McKeever helped the Eagles to a 128-17 record in their four seasons on varsity.

“They’ve been with me for so long,” Reid said. “It’s Boulder City, so I coached Taylor’s mother. Ali’s grandfather is the one who got me coaching. If I were smart, I’d go out with these guys.

“It’s going to be a long time before you find a group like that again.”

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