After seeing what Dayton’s ace has to offer, the Lady Wave softball team looks to benefit from the softer portion of the league schedule with the playoffs around the corner.
Fallon, which fell to Dayton in Friday’s Northern Division I-A series opener, came back in Saturday’s first game to not only even the series but snap a five-game losing streak, but fell short in losing the nightcap and the series. Fallon (13-5) battled back to tie Game 1, only to see Dayton (9-8) come back for a 5-3 win on Friday. The Lady Wave avenged the loss with a 10-0 win before losing the rubber match, 3-2.
Fallon mustered only one hit in each of the losses, courtesy of Dayton’s Makayla Shadle, a flame-thrower who can mix a variety of pitches and throw batters off balance.
“She’s been around for awhile. They’re probably going to slip into the playoffs,” Fallon coach Bill Archer said. “Their coach has done a good job. All they had was Makayla but now they have a bit of defense around her.”
Shadle frustrated Fallon’s offense on Friday and Saturday, recording 11 strikeouts in the series opener before concluding with 12 in Saturday’s nightcap.
She leads the league with 203 strikeouts, 13 wins and a 0.70 ERA. Shadle’s 203 K’s are tops in the entire state in any division and 139 more than Spring Creek’s Ashley Bodin, who has 64.
Even with the series loss, Fallon sits in third behind Lowry (16-2) and Fernley (15-2), which will battle each other in Fernley this weekend. Fallon travels to last-place Sparks (2-17) this weekend before hosting South Tahoe (5-8) next weekend to close out the regular season.
Dayton (9-8), though, has emerged into the playoff picture and is tied with Spring Creek for fourth with three-game series left against Truckee and Elko and one game remaining against South Tahoe.
“We just want to be in the playoff picture. That’s our goal,” Archer said. “I wouldn’t want to face them (Dayton) in that first round. They could make things interested for somebody.”
With the offense not as potent as the first half of the league schedule, Archer doesn’t see any red flags and feels the team will be able to come around and to light up the scoreboard.
“You got to believe that. Maybe some kids are dealing with some confidence with their at-bats,” the second-year coach said. “Hitting is like the stock market. It goes up and down. I think our hitting will come back. We’re going to mix up our lineup. We like scoring in the early innings and giving our pitcher support. It helps the squad as a whole.”
Fallon and Dayton were engaged in a pitcher’s duel between Fallon’s Rileigh Ricken and Shadle for the first three innings before the Dust Devils scored twice to take a 3-1 lead after the fourth inning. Fallon, though, battled with two in the following inning to tie the game. Dayton, however, scored twice in the sixth inning to take back the lead.
Although Fallon scored three times, it managed only one hit off Shadle, who struck out 11. Megan McCormick’s RBI single was the team’s only hit and Nicole Mariezcurrena scored twice and Izzy Thomas scored once.
Fallon reached base via the walk six times including two from Ricken and one each from McCormick, Kayla Buckmaster, Ali Tedford and Thomas.
Ricken took the loss, going six innings and yielding five runs (three earned) on 10 hits and two walks. The senior hurler struck out four.
“We’re definitely not hitting the ball as well as we were before as in the beginning of the season,” Archer said.
The Lady Wave easily shook off the loss and season-long losing streak with a mercy-rule win in Saturday’s first game.
Fallon backed Buckmaster’s shutout with two runs in each of the second and third innings before scoring three in the fourth. Fallon added one in the fifth and two in the sixth.
One day removed from having only one hit, the Lady Wave connected nine times, including two-hit performances by McCormick and Paige Thorn. Hannah Frank and Tedford each had two hits and two RBIs, while Kalyn Huckaby, Thomas and Ricken each drove in a run.
Buckmaster, who had an RBI, was nearly flawless in the circle yielding three hits and no walks. She recorded seven strikeouts.
Fallon spotted the hosts a three-run lead to open the series finale but didn’t score its two runs until the sixth inning.
After the nine-hit explosion earlier in the day, the offense stalled with just one hit, a double from Hannah Frank, against Shadle. Ricken drove in the only RBI as Shadle struck out 12. McCormick and Tedford each scored.