FERNLEY — In today’s world of instant messaging, Twitter and Facebook, no acronym has meant more to the Lady Wave softball team than LOB.
And no, LOB does not have anything to do with laughing.
After more than 10 runners were left on base (LOB) in the first game of a Lahontan League doubleheader, Fallon came back in the nightcap against league-leading Fernley and used timely hitting to hand the Vaqueros their first Division I-A loss of the season. Fallon took care of the business with an 8-1 victory to avoid the sweep after the afternoon began miserably with Fernley winning the opener of the doubleheader, 10-2.
“There’s no doubt we came in and wanted to get a sweep,” Fallon coach Bill Archer said. “In the end, there were two good ball teams. We helped each other out. Our kids showed a lot of heart that last game.”
The two-time defending state champs finished the Division I-A slate with a 9-3 record and sit in third place in the North behind Lowry (11-1) and Fernley (8-1). The Vaqueros close the season with a three-game series against Dayton (4-5) this week. A sweep guarantees them the top seed for next week’s three-game play-in series in the regional tournament because Fernley defeated Lowry last month.
In a battle for the Lahontan title and the North’s top seed, the Lady Wave had to settle with a split on Saturday. After losing the first game by eight runs, Fallon rebounded strong.
Fallon forced out Fernley’s Jordan King in the third inning after she shut out the Lady Wave in Wednesday’s series opener in Fallon. After Fallon stranded countless runners in the first two games of the series, pitcher Rileigh Ricken blasted a two-run home run to end King’s day as Fallon became the first Northern Nevada team to score eight runs against Fernley. Elko was the previous team to score the most against the third-place state finalist as the Indians lost 8-6 in the crossover last month.
“We feel like we ended on a good note in our ability to have timely hitting. The kids are feeding off each other at this point,” Archer said.
But Fallon carried off its offensive momentum from the first game on Saturday when Ricken also went yard.
The Lady Wave opened Game 2 with two runs in the first two innings before erupting for five in the fourth and removing King from the pitching circle.
Gabby Sharpe’s sac fly started a five-running fourth inning before Kaysee Archer’s RBI groundout gave Fallon a 4-0 advantage. Ricken blasted her second home run of the day to left-center and Paige Thorne and Shelby Lawry each drove in a run to cap off the big inning.
Fallon, though, came up short in the fifth inning from bringing the mercy rule into effect. The Lady Wave left the bases loaded with two outs and settled with a much-needed win in the team’s final Division I-A game of the season.
The first game was a different story.
“We didn’t hit when the kids were in scoring position,” Bill Archer said. “The first game got out of hand.”
Fallon loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning against Fernley southpaw Kailey Daggitt but two strikeouts helped Fernley escape the inning with no damage. Fallon also had runners on first and second with none out in the following inning but couldn’t cash in.
Fernley, though, scored twice in the second inning thanks to two hit-by-pitches from Ricken before a double brought them both in. Fernley added two more in each of the next two innings to take a 6-0 lead. Fernley was down to its last strike in the third inning with a runner on third before a hit-by-pitch extended the inning and led to two runs scoring on errors.
Ricken’s two-run blast to left field on a two-strike count in the fifth inning snapped an 11-inning scoreless streak. Fernley followed with four unanswered runs off reliever Miranda Ford.