The offense is rolling, the pitching is solid and the defense is holding fast.
It’s nearly an unbeatable trifecta the Fallon softball team is competing with. After nipping rival Fernley, 7-4, in nine innings on Tuesday, the Lady Wave turns its attention to Elko.
Fallon and the Indians begin their three-game series at 3 p.m. today in Elko and conclude with a doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I don’t think our kids came out of here happy,” Fallon coach Bill Archer said after the win at Fernley. “We can focus on fundamentals and executing plays.”
The Lady Wave are in the midst of an eight-game winning streak and sit atop the Northern Division I-A standings with an 8-0 record and are 9-4 overall.
Elko, meanwhile, is struggling this season with a 4-7 league mark and is 5-11 overall.
A sweep for Fallon, though, puts more space between them and third-place Fernley (6-2, 6-2) and sets up the season’s biggest series on April 18-19 at home against Lowry.
Before looking down the road, the Lady Wave must handle their eastern rival, which is not an easy task for the Indians.
Fallon’s offense is on fire with a .392 team average led by Rileigh Ricken’s .611 average, four home runs and 20 RBIs. In addition, Kayla Buckmaster is hitting .485 with a pair of doubles, while Megan McCormick comes in at .463 with two triples, four doubles and 12 RBIs.
But the action begins with Ali Tedford, the junior shortstop who is hitting .333 with five doubles, and Izzy Thomas, a left-handed slap hitter with a .78 average.
“Our team is motivated because they know how much better we can play,” Archer said.
In the circle, Ricken boasts a 4-1 record with 49 strikeouts and a 1.78 ERA in 74 2/3 innings. Following Ricken are Buckmaster (2-1, 3.17 ERA and 13 strikeouts) and Miranda Ford (2-2, 1.83ERA and 10 strikeouts).
The three-headed monster gives Archer plenty of options. A bonus, though, is the rest the offense provides Ricken due to the output of runs, which allowed Archer to use Buckmaster and Ford more frequently in a three-game set.
“I think she’s (Ricken) a different person from last year,” Archer said. “Her goals are high and has taken the team on her back.”
Defensively, Fallon sports a .950 fielding percentage and has committed only 14 errors for the year. Fundamentals and a more season presence from a season ago has the Lady Wave at the top of their game.
Despite the offensive production, Archer said there are still improvements to be made.
“There are too many times we left runners on,” he added.
Lady Wave slip past Fernley
It may prove to be the difference for a league title and the No. 1 seed.
The Fallon softball team earned a hard-fought 7-4 win in nine innings over rival Fernley on Tuesday.
Tedford stroked a two-run single in the top of the ninth and Ricken tossed a complete game to give Fallon its eighth straight win.
More importantly, Fallon owns a 2-0 record over the Vaqueros this season and have clinched the tiebreaker with last year’s defending state champions.
“The runners had been getting on base all day,” Archer said. “Tedford did her job.”
Fallon jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first inning, but Fernley answered with a pair of runs in the third. Hannah Frank blasted a two-run home run in the fourth, but the Vaqueros tied the game on an RBI single by Kailey Daggitt.
Both clubs squandered scoring opportunities in the extra frames before Fallon answered with three in the ninth.
Buckmaster walked and Kalyn Huckaby reached on an infield single. With one out, Tedford drove Daggitt’s pitch into right field to score Buckmaster and Huckaby.
Ricken, meanwhile, picked up the win as she allowed four runs — one earned — on 11 hits and struck out five. Daggitt took the loss in relief as she went three innings and allowed three runs — two earned — and fanned one.
Taelyne Phillips started for Fernley and went seven innings allowing 10 hits and four runs, all earned, and struck out five.
Cheyenne Brewer led the Fernley offense with four hits and two runs, while Courtney Dunn added a pair of hits.
The clubs meet for the final time in the regular season on April 22 at 3 p.m. in Fernley.
“It’s all about winning series,” Archer said. “It gives you an opportunity in the playoffs, be ahead of someone else and be at the top of that ladder.”