Lady Wave rallies for state bid
DI-A state softball schedule
Thursday at Bishop Gorman High School
Faith Lutheran vs. Fallon, 2 p.m.
Fernley vs. Sierra Vista, 4 p.m.
Friday at UNLV
Faith Lutheran/Fallon loser vs. Fernley/Sierra Vista loser, 8 a.m.
Faith Lutheran/Fallon winner vs. Fernley/Sierra Vista winner, 10 a.m.
Loser of winner’s bracket semifinal vs. winner of consolation semifinal, noon
Saturday at Bishop Gorman
State championship (possible two games), 10 a.m.
A regional title doesn’t have the same gratification of a state championship.
Winners of three of the past four state titles, the Lady Wave avenged a first-round blowout loss to Lowry (14-4) and bounced the Buckaroos (10-9) from the Division I-A softball regional tournament to qualify for their fifth state appearance.
“That’s the one that really matters. That’s what we’re going for,” Fallon coach Bill Archer said about the ultimate prize. “We knew that they’re a good hitting squad. We came out and put a lineup together. It’s good to get to state and give us a chance.”
After losing to Lowry by the mercy rule on Friday, Fallon held off a late rally Saturday morning to prevent the Humboldt County team from reaching the state tournament. Fallon lost to Fernley, 5-4, in the regional title game.
The defending state champs enter as the No. 2 seed and will face Faith Lutheran, the South’s No. 1 seed, at 2 p.m. at Bishop Gorman High School on Thursday in the first round of the state tournament. Fernley plays Sierra Vista at 4 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament.
For Fallon’s lone senior, Ali Tedford, she wasn’t ready for the season to end on Saturday. She felt inclined to speak up to her coach and suggest plugging in a freshman to pitch with the season on the line.
“I don’t like losing,” said Tedford, who has two state titles to her name. “I like to put in my input when I’m not stepping over the line. Especially being the only senior, I felt like through my years, it was my right.”
The Buckaroos jumped out to a 5-0 lead off Fallon’s Faith Cornmesser in the first two innings but the freshman hurler, who was called up from junior varsity at the end of the season, wasn’t about to falter. Cornmesser boiled down and shut down Lowry to give Fallon a chance to battle back with 10 unanswered runs, including a five-spot to tie the game in the third.
“It was a lot of pressure because I’m a freshman from JV and I had to prove myself,” said Cornmesser, who went the distance and struck out one.
Megan McCormick led the charge with three RBIs on a double and single, while Courtney Cross drove in two on a double and single as well. Caitlyn Welch, Kalyn Huckaby, Tedford and Cornmesser each drove in one.
Lowry, though, scored three times in the last inning and threatened to end Fallon’s season with runners on second and third. But the Buckaroos ended the game by flying out to Paige Thorn.
“The team’s energy was really there today. We knew the importance of the game and we had to step up,” Thorn said.
Fernley’s Brooke Chapin ended the championship with a home run off Kayla Buckmaster after both teams went back and forth.
Fallon gave its cross-valley rival a scare as it led early before Fernley came back from a 2-0 deficit. The Lady Wave tied the game on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning off Taelyne Phillips before the walk-off home run.
Thorn led the team with a three-hit performance and two RBIs while Ashlie Alvarez and Buckmaster each drove in a run. Tedford also had a multi-hit game with two singles and McCormick doubled.
Buckmaster was different in the pitching circle after Friday’s loss against Lowry. The sophomore hurler struck out four and held Fernley’s high-octane offense to only four earned runs.
“I threw the rise ball a lot,” Buckmaster said of the difference between the Fernley and Lowry losses. “I’ve been practicing it a lot lately.”