ELKO — When the Fallon softball team comes to town, it leaves with wins.
That held true over the weekend, as the Greenwave moved to 11-0 in league play, finishing a sweep of Elko with 13-0 and 8-4 wins Saturday. Tribe coach Karen Hoem said facing the powerhouse Greenwave was a valuable experience for her growing squad.
“There’s always a lot to be learned, especially in a transition year,” she said. “Fallon’s a very good team, and that’s the level we’d like to get to.”
Greenwave coach Bill Archer said he was pleased his team showed composure to earn another sweep, and was complimentary of the effort Elko showed.
“I think we came in with the mindset that we don’t look past any opponent,” he said. “Today, we saw they were a gutsy team that hung with us. They’re an up-and-coming team.”
After a series-opening 16-1 Fallon win that saw the Tribe hold the visitors to just three runs over the first four innings, the Greenwave opened up Saturday a bit more quickly.
Fallon batted all the way around the order in the first inning, plating six runs off Elko starter Shaydea Mead. A two-RBI single from Megan McCormick and a two-RBI double by Kayla Buckmaster were highlights in the overwhelming start from the visitors.
The Wave added another run in the second inning, when Rileigh Ricken scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a walk.
Fallon’s other scoring of the day came in another six-run explosion in the fourth inning, highlighted by a McCormick triple and a two-RBI single by Hannah Frank.
The game was far less eventful when Elko was at the plate, as Fallon starting pitcher Ricken shut down the Tribe. She hurled a perfect game
through her first three innings before allowing a single from Shelbie Dorsa and hitting Marissa Elquist with a pitch in the fourth inning, her only blemishes in the game. She earned the shutout over five innings with six strikeouts against that one hit.
While she didn’t start it on the mound, the day’s second contest was especially meaningful for Ricken. She set a Fallon school record for most career home runs with an inside-the-park homer in the first inning. Archer said it was a deserved achievement for one of his senior leaders.
“Rileigh is in a zone of her own,” he said. “She has grown extensively and brings great leadership.”
Ricken’s home run was part of an early assault from the Greenwave offense that made it look like the second game would be another comfortable win for the visitors. Ricken’s two-run home run off Elko starter Elquist, a lined blast down the left field line that bounced to the wall put Fallon up 2-0 after one inning.
The Wave added to the lead in the second as Elquist struggled a bit with her pitching control, walking three and hitting two batters to allow four runs without a hit in that frame.
However, Elquist got her pitches under control as the game went on, and she was able to stifle the Fallon offense enough to give her team a shot at a comeback.
The Indians plated their first run of the doubleheader in the fourth inning, when Mead led off with a single and was doubled home in the next at-bat by Macy Fleck.
Elko continued the comeback in the fifth inning, as three runs, thanks to two errors, an RBI single from Bailey Heathman and a sacrifice grounder by Mead, brought the Tribe within a 6-4 score of the Greenwave.
Fallon never let Elko get any closer than that. The Wave collected one insurance run in each of the last two innings, and Archer replaced starting pitcher Miranda Ford with Ricken in the sixth inning to close down the game.
The substitution worked to perfection, as Ricken finished off the final six outs of the 8-4 win with no hits and three strikeouts.
The Indians fell to 4-10 in league play with the losses, and will look to rebound when they host Truckee this weekend. Fallon remained unbeaten in its first 11 league games with the sweep and next hosts Lowry Friday and Saturday for a three-game series.