Wave clinches | NevadaAppeal.com

Wave clinches

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com

For the fifth consecutive season, the Fallon baseball team is heading to the postseason.

The Greenwave rolled rival Fernley, 10-0 in five innings, Wednesday at the Edward Arciniega Complex to clinch their spot in the Northern Division I-A regional tournament May 8-9 in Dayton.

Fallon hosts Sparks in a three-game set for today (3 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m.).

"We just look to win every series and today (Tuesday) we won the Fernley series," Fallon coach Lester de Braga said. "It would be nice to go in as the No. 1 seed, but again, it's just a matter of getting into the playoffs and peaking at the right time, which we have the past few years."

Once again, ace Alex Mendez turned in another pristine performance as the sophomore right-hander handcuffed the Vaqueros, who are battling for their playoff lives.

Mendez was dominant as he used the inside part of the plate with his fastball and mixed his off-speed pitches to keep Fernley on its heels. In five innings, Mendez fanned eight and allowed four hits.

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With a playoff berth on the line, there was only one thing on the ace's mind.

"I got to perform," Mendez said. "You never know what can happen the rest of the season. The stretch is probably the hardest stretch because players are starting to get tired."

Fallon spotted its ace a 5-0 lead through three innings and busted the game open three runs in the fourth inning.

Sophomore second baseman Jack Swisher blasted a double to left field and Sage Mori followed with a RBI double after he belted a liner over first base to score Swisher.

"We hit the ball with power today," de Braga said. "Offensively, I think we are starting to peak are getting to where we want to be."

Tyler Bagby followed with a run-scoring single and used a series of heads up base running moves to get the final run. Bagby moved to second on the throw home after his single, and scored on Joe Pyle's single, when Bagby saw the right fielder bobble to ball and beat the throw home to push the lead to 8-0.

Sage Mori sparked the offense with a 3-for-3 effort adding a pair of runs and RBIs. Bagby also had three hits and a trio of RBIs. Swisher also tripled and tallied three runs.

"It gives you a cushion and it feels great," Mendez said of getting an early lead.

Defensively, Fallon's unit was locked in committing just one error and goibbling up grounders and chasing down fly balls.

The crowning moment came in the top of the fifth inning when Mendez allowed runners to reach first and second base.

However, he forced a grounder to third baseman Riley Williams, who stepped on third and fired over to first to get the double play. Mendez then got Kyle Throckmorton to fly out to centerfielder Austin Bischoff to escape the jam.

"Our defense was great," Mendez said. "They performed really well today (Tuesday)."

"Anytime you can go mistake free, you're going to win ball games," de Braga added. "If we're going to make a run at this thing, we have to be at the top of our game at every facet."

Throckmorton, Paxton German, Giovanni Pirroddi and Josh Kirk each had one hit for Fernley. Starter Travis Deley picked up the loss allowing four earned runs in 2 2.3 innings.

With the win, the Wave remains one game ahead of Elko in the loss column for first place. After this weekend, Fallon closes the season at third-place South Tahoe, who also remains in the hunt for the league title.

But before Fallon can look to South Tahoe (13-4, 15-7), the Wave must take care of Sparks (8-11, 12-11), whose playoff hopes remain slim, but alive.

In addition to Fallon clinching, Elko (17-4, 20-6) and South Tahoe also captured playoff berths. The race for fourth is between Spring Creek (12-6, 15-7), Sparks (8-11, 12-11) and Fernley (7-11, 10-12).

Northern Division I-A baseball

Team League Overall

xFallon 15-3 15-8

xElko 17-4 20-6

xSouth Tahoe 13-4 15-7

Spring Creek 12-6 15-7

Sparks 8-11 12-11

Fernley 7-11 10-12

Truckee 3-14 4-17

Dayton 3-14 4-14

Lowry 3-15 5-17

X – clinched playoff berth

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