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Lady Wave puts on the miles

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Fallon catcher Megan McCormick, middle, throws to first during a game against Truckee on Monday as Miranda Ford, left, and Caitlyn Welch look on. The Lady Wave visits Spring Creek today and Saturday.
Sylas Wright / swright@sierrasun.com | LVN

Northern Division I-A softball

Team League Overall

Spring Creek 3-0 5-1

Fallon 3-0 4-4

Fernley 1-0 1-0

Lowry 2-1 5-2

Elko 2-1 6-3

South Tahoe 1-2 1-2

Sparks 1-3 1-3

Dayton 0-3 0-3

Truckee 0-3 0-4-1

Northern Division I-A softball

Team League Overall

Fallon 3-0 3-5

Sparks 3-0 7-0

Spring Creek 3-0 6-1

Elko 3-0 6-2

Fernley 0-0 3-0

Dayton 0-3 0-3

Lowry 0-3 2-5

South Tahoe 0-3 2-6

Truckee 0-4 1-7

* The Fallon-Fernley baseball and softball games have been moved from Monday to Wednesday at the Edward Arciniega Complex. Both games start at 3 p.m.

Twelve games in 15 days is a brutal way to start any prep season.

For the Fallon softball team, the Lady Wave is in the home stretch of its daunting schedule to open the season.

Fallon commenced the year with five games at the Elk Grove Tournament in California compiling a 1-4 record from March 12-14. The Lady Wave went to Truckee in an odd mid-week three-game Northern Division I-A series and swept the Wolverines on Monday and Tuesday. Fallon took down Truckee, 18-3, on Tuesday.

Fallon (3-0 league, 4-4 overall) caps its opening road slate with a three-game set at Spring Creek (3-0, 5-1) before facing nemesis Fernley (1-0, 1-0) on Wednesday, which was moved from Tuesday Fallon coach Bill Archer said.

“It’s early in the season and you haven’t had the look,” Archer said of Spring Creek. “We are coming in with the idea that we have to take in our ‘A’ game. We are coming up to their field and our kids are going to be prepared.”

For the defending state champs, however, the opening horde of games is just another obstacle in the way of a fourth state crown in five years.

But the veteran core of the team has made the road trips and condensed schedule easier to manage. Seven of the girls have played together for three years on varsity, while 11 of the 14 players were on the roster last season.

“We brought up one freshman (Caitlyn Welch) and gave her a lot of games and a lot of looks,” Archer said. “For us, we lost a huge presence offensively and defensively in Rileigh Ricken, but we feel we have some kids who are ready to step up.”

As for today and Saturday’s series, Archer said he isn’t quite sure what Spring Creek brings to the table. The Spartans graduated several seniors from last year’s club, but has raced out to a 5-1 record.

In addition, Spring Creek crushed Dayton in their three-game set last week, outscoring the Dust Devils 66-5.

But Archer knows what is loaded in his arsenal.

Junior Courtney Cross is off to a sizzling start batting .714 (10-for-19) in eight games with seven RBIs and five runs.

Joining Cross in lighting up the scorecard are Kayln Huckaby, Ali Tedford, Izzy Thomas, Paige Thorn and Hannah Frank, who are all batting over .500. Megan McCormick is also swinging a hot stick with a .435 average.

Huckaby and Tedford lead the club with 11 RBIs apiece, while Frank is tops with 11 runs followed by Thorn (nine) and Tedford and Cross (seven).

“These kids have been there and played in the tough games,” Archer said. “We just have a whole lot of weapons and they have all grown and improved in the offseason.”

The Lady Wave coaching staff used those nonconference games to tinker with their lineup and evaluate several newcomers such as Caitlyn Welch and pitcher Alecia Baze.

In addition, it allowed Archer to look at the pitching battle between sophomore Kayla Buckmaster and junior Miranda Ford. Those two will anchor the rotation and must be able to lock down league opponents for the Lady Wave to contend for a championship.

Ford holds a 3.15 ERA in 13.1 innings, while Buckmaster sports a 6.26 ERA in 15.2 innings.

However, Archer said Baze, a junior, is also battling for innings and pushing the two veterans in the circle. She sports a 10.5 ERA in 9.1 innings, but tallied four strikeouts against Truckee on Tuesday.

The goal, Archer said, is to create the best pitchers possible, while competing against each other in practice.

The trio is filling the big shoes after Ricken graduated last season. Archer said Buckmaster and Ford have each developed more velocity and better control compared to last season.

“We are seeing higher velocity,” Archer said. “Baze worked with Jodi Dolan in the offseason. They are working on perfecting the change up, which keeps the batters off balance.”