Lady Wave nips rival Fernley for state title
The Fallon softball won its sixth state championship on Saturday over rival Fernley.
The Lady Wave are tied for fourth in Nevada history with six championships behind Needles (11), Reed (nine) Boulder City (eight) and tied with Yerington (six).
LAS VEGAS — A roller coaster ride was capped with another all-Northern showdown in the Division I-A state softball title game on Saturday at Bishop Gorman High School.
Rivals Fallon and Fernley met for the third consecutive season in the final, but it was Fallon who overcame a 10-3 loss to open the day to slip past the Vaqueros 7-5 to claim its fourth title in five years and second straight over Fernley.
“It’s a nice feeling and I think coaches and players combined come together at the beginning of the season for one goal,” Fallon coach Bill Archer said. “The kids stepped up and once again they came out victorious.”
The final was a back-and-forth affair as Fallon jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third inning.
Hannah Frank singled in the second inning and courtesy runner Kaitlyn Hunter scored on a sacrifice fly by Courtney Cross.
In the third inning, Megan McCormick and Paige Thorn each singled and were knocked in by freshman Faith Cornmesser and Frank, respectively, on back-to-back singles with two outs.
Fernley, though, tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Brooke Chapin scored on a sacrifice and Shandell Gemmel crossed home on a single by Serena Olson.
Fallon added a run in the sixth and then tallied three runs in the top of the seventh to build a 7-3 lead. Cornmesser started the rally reaching on a fielder’s choice and courtesy runner Nicole Mariezcurrena scored after Frank reached on an error, Fernley’s fourth of the game.
Caitlyn Welch followed with a single and both Frank and Welch scored on a double by Cross.
The Vaqueros, though, wasn’t about to throw in the towel.
Fernely scored two runs in the bottom of the frame, but Fallon was able to hold on for the win.
Kailey Daggitt and Chapin each had two RBIs for Fernley, while Chapin added a triple and Gemmel smacked a double.
Cornmesser, meanwhile, picked up the win in a complete-game effort for Fallon.
“He had to put a lot of confidence in her,” senior Ali Tedford said of Cornmesser. “I was so excited and I threw my glove up and jumped into Megan’s arms.”
The Lady Wave didn’t look like a state champion contender last week in their opening Northern DI-A regional game against Lowry, taking a 14-4 beating.
Fallon, though, rallied to beat Elko and win the rematch with Lowry before falling to Fernley in the regional title game.
But in Las Vegas, the girls came together, sophomore pitcher Kayla Buckmaster said.
As a result, the Lady Wave opened the tournament with a 21-8 shellacking over Faith Lutheran, although Fallon scored 12 runs in the top of the seventh inning after entering the frame leading 9-8.
“It just felt really good,” Buckmaster said. “That last game, we just pulled ourselves together. We added Faith Cornmesser and that helped so much more than anyone can see.”
That win set up the first of three games against Fernley, with Fallon coming out on top 7-3. Fernley, though, forced the deciding game with a 10-3 win in Saturday’s opener.
Caitlin Kindred belted a three-run home run and Olson cracked a solo shot in the win. Daggit held Fallon to just four hits in five innings.
On Friday at UNLV, Fallon took on Fernley for the first of their three games and came out with a 7-3 win.
“It was the same thing as last year,” Frank said. “We finally came together as a team and we all clicked.”
Cornmesser stood tall in the circle working out of two jams in the first two innings to prevent the Vaqueros from busting the game wide open.
Fernley scored its first run in the bottom of the first inning when Caitlin Kindred drove in Hailee Edgar.
With the bases loaded and one out, Cornmesser struck out Brooke Chapin and Shandell Gemmel to end the threat.
Edgar, though, knocked in Mercedes Rothwell with a single in the second inning to give Fernley a 2-0 lead with two outs. Rothwell, however, was gunned out at second base by McCormick on an attempted steal.
But Fallon’s bats wouldn’t stay quiet. In the top of the fourth, Fallon slugger Megan McCormick crushed a two-run home run out of the stadium to tie the game.
The Lady Wave scratched across three runs in the fifth when Ali Tedford drove in Courtney Cross with a single. Paige Thorn drove in Tedford with a single and Thorn scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Hannah Frank.
Fernley trimmed the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the frame when Rothwell, who doubled to open the inning, scored on a single from Courtney Dunn.
But McCormick wasn’t done. She cracked a laser over the left-centerfield fence for a solo shot to seal the win.
Cornmesser went 3.2 innings with four strikeouts and was relieved by Buckmaster, who allowed one run on two hits in the final 3.1 innings.
Fernley managed just four hits in the game and Olson was 0-for-1 with two walks as Fallon pitched around the Northern DI-A home run leader.
“You go through a state tournament, you are going to have set backs,” Archer said. “We came out in the first game and we were focused. It just got out of hand real quick. Faith was ready and came in there focused and hit her spots. I thought it was her best performance.”
The two Northern powers have won eight of the last nine state titles. Fallon’s four came in 2011-12 and 2014-15, while Fernley won in 2013 (beating Fallon) after winning three straight from 2007-09. Boulder City won it all in 2010.