In a battle of desperation, the Fallon baseball team came up just short.
Despite a series win over South Tahoe, the Greenwave fell short of the Northern Division I-A title by one game. Fallon dropped the Vikings 12-2 and 14-4, but lost 10-7 in Saturday’s finale.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Fallon coach Lester de Braga said. “No matter if we won (the third game) we were still in (the playoffs).”
The two clubs engaged in a spirited battled contest as Fallon aimed for the No. 1 seed, while the Vikings needed one win to clinch its first playoff berth in 20 years and only second in school history.
In the end, South Tahoe got its win, while Fallon settled for the No. 2 seed for Friday’s regional tournament in South Tahoe.
“It means a lot,” South Tahoe coach Starbuck Teevan said. “I was part of the team in ’94 and this is one of the reasons I came back to coach. It meant a lot to me as a player, and this is something they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I am just very proud as a coach.”
The Wave need to finish ahead of Elko by one game, and although the Indians lost once to Dayton, Fallon came up short in its attempt to sweep South Tahoe.
Fallon will take on No. 3 Spring Creek at 12:30 p.m. Friday at South Tahoe Middle School, while No. 1 Elko faces No. 4 South Tahoe at 10 a.m.
And while a sweep would have capped a solid season, Fallon coach Lester de Braga was pleased with the effort of his club.
“Now we just regroup and get ready for regionals,” de Braga said.
Fallon, which has qualified for its fourth consecutive regional tournament, rolls into the postseason on a hot streak. The Wave has won 11 of its last 13 games heading into the double-elimination tournament. In addition, Fallon swept Spring Creek on March 28-29.
Fallon began its quest for the top seed with a 12-2 win on Friday in five innings. South Tahoe had suspended its two best players, Dominic Diana and pitcher Liam Loftis, for Friday’s game. Diana returned on Saturday and will play this weekend, but Loftis will not be on the playoff roster.
Nevertheless, Fallon battered the Vikings as South Tahoe was held to five hits in the opener.
Saturday’s first game was more of the same from the Wave, as Fallon held the Vikings to four runs on six hits.
Branden Beeghly led the offensive charge as he went 4-for-4 with two doubles, three runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Cody Long added a two RBIs, while Chance Beyer also knocked in two.
Tristen Salazar picked up the win as he allowed five hits, four earned runs and two walks in five innings.
“I think that is more indicative of the team we have,” de Braga said of his club’s performance in the first two games. “The kids were focused and up for it. We will get the kids’ arms rested.”
But the finale had its share of drama. South Tahoe clung to a 4-1 lead after five innings. The Vikings pushed the lead to 7-1 in the top of the sixth, but Fallon sliced the lead to 7-4 in the bottom half of the frame.
The Vikings, though, were determined to hold on as South Tahoe added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.
Long took the loss, while Dakota Lynch earned the win as he allowed five hits, four walks, four runs — one earned — in 5 2/3 innings.
“I think offensively we did really well,” de Braga said of the weekend. “We saw some great pitching efforts.”