The odds were against them all weekend.
These 8-year-old baseball players didn’t face live pitching until all-star practice, unlike the opponents they would face in the Cal Ripken state tournament. The Spanish Springs and Silver State programs introduced live pitching before regular-season games began. And for the past several of years, these two teams could be counted on in the championship game.
After four games of round-robin play, it seemed as if Fallon’s all-star team would be left out of the championship game.
But Fallon managed to pull off the upset, knocking off Spanish Springs in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup Sunday morning before falling to Silver State, 10-0, in the title game at North Valleys Regional Park in north Reno.
“We knew we could beat these teams,” first-year Fallon coach David Lopez said. “The games were close. Our defense was awesome and could stop anything. The bats hurt us.”
Fallon opened the tournament with a 10-9 loss to Silver State on Thursday and fell short again on Friday with a 5-4 setback to Spanish Springs. Silver State enforced the mercy rule in the rematch on Saturday, winning 13-3, before Spanish Springs defeated Fallon 12-8.
“It’s a little different game than they’re used to,” Lopez said about Fallon’s transition in the first two days to live pitching.
The difference on Sunday, though, was incorporating several drills before the game to help Fallon become less timid at the plate. And it worked.
“We concentrated on the kids hitting,” he said. “The bats hurt us in the beginning but we pulled through Sunday when it counted.”