WINNEMUCCA — Since moving to the Division I-A, Fallon hasn’t been able to figure out Truckee.
And while Saturday’s consolation final against the defending state champs was the most hard-fought game since the series began three years ago, the Greenwave baseball team fell one run short of another trip to the state tournament.
“We had a great season. It hurts when you lose,” Fallon coach Lester de Braga said. “I’m very proud of the team. In those two losses, we never once game up and battled hard. I have great respect for the kids.”
After beating host Lowry in convincing fashion, Fallon ran into trouble with Elko and Truckee at the Northern Division I-A Regional Tournament. Fallon knocked off Lowry, 10-1, before falling to Elko, 6-3, and then Truckee in a 9-8 heartbreaker on Saturday. Elko inflicted the mercy rule on Truckee, 13-2, for the championship as both teams head to the state tournament in Las Vegas this week.
“We watched Truckee play two games prior to that and we could see that they were a very aggressive type of team and would not go down easy,” de Braga said. “They’re the defending state champs. We were prepared for that. For the most part, a couple mistakes at the wrong time may have cost us that game, too.”
Fallon hasn’t defeated Truckee during the regular-season crossovers and was one win shy from reaching the state title game last year. The Wolverines came back to defeat the Greenwave in the semifinal before Elko ended Fallon’s season.
The Wolverines kept building leads only to see Fallon come back and even the game or take the lead. Truckee led 3-0 in the second before Fallon tied it on a two-run triple from Bagby and a safety squeeze from Orozco. Truckee added another run in the fourth but Fallon came back to take the lead, 5-4, after Orozco’s RBI double and Cody Long’s RBI single.
Truckee battled to retake the lead after a two-run fifth inning plagued by errors but Fallon responded with an RBI single from Morgan Dirickson, who relieved starter Hunter Mori, to tie the game at 6. The Wolverines were able to get on after falling behind early in the count, which frustrated Fallon.
“We had a lot of 0-2, 1-2 counts,” de Braga said. “It seemed like when they got their hits, we were trying to keep them out of the zone and off the plate. We got too much of the plate.”
The Wolverines matched the game’s biggest lead when they broke the tie with a three-run sixth inning off southpaw Long. Fallon, though, came back with two runs on fielder’s choices to narrow the deficit to one but going down in order in the final inning of the season.
Fallon took advantage of Lowry’s poor control and scored four times on three hits and four walks, chasing the starter out of both teams’ opener on Friday.
Fallon added two runs in each of the second, fifth and seventh innings, while Lowry scored its only run in the fifth.
Tyler Bagby doubled in two runs for the Greenwave while Sage Orozco tripled in two. Dalton Johnson and Joe Pyle each had an RBI to give starter Tristen Salazar breathing room on the hill. The junior right-hander pitched his fifth complete game of the season.
“We came into that game with great pitching from Tristen,” de Braga said of Salazar. “We played great defense and had a couple double plays. It was the type of game we were prepared for.”
Fallon went toe-to-toe with Elko later on Friday where the winner received an automatic berth to the state tournament.
“That was a game that we knew that was going to be tough and close,” de Braga said. “I was hoping for a flawless game to beat a team like that. It came down to one or two bobbles on defense that kept them alive and hurt us. They never game up and kept their heads in the game and gave it a shot.”
Fallon scored two runs in the third inning to tie the game after RBI singles from Dalton Frank and Mo Coverston before Elko came back to take a 4-2 lead. The Greenwave added their final run in the fourth inning when Nic Stenberg scored on Dylan Tedford’s double.
Stenberg, a lefty, threw a complete game but took the loss.
Fallon loses four seniors — Johnson, Mori, Tedford and Long — and will begin next year’s quest of reaching the state tournament next weekend.
De Braga said Fallon will field a summer team this year and has a 16-game schedule lined up to help the younger players mesh with the veterans and build on this year’s success. The summer season begins with the Memorial Day tournament’s next weekend.