Left in the wind
It was a masterful performance.
Despite a windy environment, Nic Stenberg’s pinpoint control left batters confused and off balance. The Fallon junior led the way as the Greenwave rolled past rival Fernley, 12-2, in six innings in a Lahontan League game on Wednesday at the Ed Arciniega Complex.
With the win, Fallon improves to 13-8 overall, 6-4 in the Northern Division I-A. Fernley falls to 13-6, 4-3. The two clubs hit the field for a doubleheader at 11 a.m. in Fernley on Saturday.
Stenberg went five innings with six strikeouts, five walks and did not allow an earned run. He only allowed two hits, while Dylan Tedford made his first appearance of the season and closed the win in the sixth.
“My stuff was working good,” Stenberg said. “I had to throw strikes and get ground balls and strikeouts.”
Stenberg gave up one run in the first and third innings, but the Vaqueros could not solve the lefty’s game. A mixture of curveballs and changeups kept hitters off balance, and used his fastball to set up the off-speed pitches. If necessary, Stenberg froze hitters with his backdoor curve.
“My curve was working really well,” he said. “My four seam (fastball) was tailing. Our offense came up big and gave me a little breathing room.”
For the most part, Fallon was flawless, except for a pair of base running blunders. Nevertheless, the Greenwave ran their win streak to nine games including Tuesday’s 7-4 win at Yerington.
Fernley hung close through the first four innings as Fallon held a slim 5-2 lead. The Wave broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the third inning highlighted by a two-run error from the Vaqueros.
“Putting back-to-back hits together helps,” Fallon coach Lester de Braga said. “We’re doing our job.”
Dalton Frank was a terror on the basepaths early for Fallon, as the sophomore centerfielder tallied the first two runs. He scored four runs in the game.
Clinging to a three-run lead, Fallon’s bats exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hunter Mori scored on a wild pitch and Mo Coverston delivered an RBI single.
Dalton Johnson followed with a two-run single on a shot up the middle to give Fallon a 9-2 lead. Johnson made it 10-2 when he was interfered with by the catcher during a rundown between third base and home.
Fallon ran itself out of the inning when catcher Tyler Bagby was called for interference for not sliding to break up a double-play attempt.
An inning later, Johnson added another RBI single and Cody Long ended the game with a bloop single to left field.
“We started slow, but got comfortable, got in our zone and got it going,” de Braga said.
The win puts Fallon in position to take the Lahontan League title and move up in the Northern Division I-A standings.
A sweep by Fallon would clinch at least the No. 4 seed for the Northern DI-A playoffs. The highest seed Fallon could climb to is the No. 3, as Lowry owns the tiebreaker.
Fernley, meanwhile, still could lock up the No. 2 or 3 seeds with two wins on Saturday. Should Lowry lose its final three games and Fernley beats Fallon twice and sweep Dayton next week, the Vaqueros would earn the No. 2 spot.
Fernley would grab the No. 3 seed should Lowry lose two or fewer of its remaining three league games.