Pitching carries Fallon past Truckee in sweep
Solid pitching performances bookended another series sweep for the Greenwave baseball team.
Junior ace Alex Mendez stifled Truckee on Friday with a one-hit, complete-game shutout and Calvin Greenwell followed with five strong innings of three-hit ball on Saturday as Fallon improved to 6-0 in the Northern 1-A. Fallon blanked Truckee, 5-0, on Friday and then invoked the mercy rule in a 16-6 win to open a Saturday doubleheader followed by a 6-1 victory.
Fallon visits Fernley today (originally scheduled for Tuesday) and returns home on Friday to begin a three game series with Spring Creek. Truckee faced Sparks on Tuesday and hosts rival South Tahoe this weekend.
The run support came early for Mendez on Friday as Fallon scored three in the first inning. Mendez didn’t need any more after he struck out nine Wolverines.
“He kind of controlled the game and was hitting his spots,” Fallon coach Lester de Braga said of Mendez. He was pitching down and keeping them off balance.”
Trae Workman and Brock Uptain led a balanced attack as all but one recorded a hit off Truckee’s Bradly Vanschoonhov, who also went the distance. Workman, Jack Swisher, Michael Porras and Branden Beeghly each tripled while Uptain also doubled.
Fallon tripled in three-consecutive at-bats in the first inning.
Swisher lined the second pitch of his at-bat to center for a one-out triple to begin the first inning before Workman followed with a one-run three-base hit to right. Beeghly joined the triples party with a blast to the left-center fence to drive in Workman and then scored on Porras’ deep flyout to left-center.
“We’re always capable of hitting the long ball,” de Braga said of the triples. “It got them going.”
With a three-run lead, Mendez ran into trouble in the second and sixth innings when Joey Gravell walked and advanced to third on Mike Jones’ double to center. With two outs, though, Mendez induced Colin Just to ground out to second to end the threat.
Porras gave Fallon extra cushion with a two-run triple in the fifth inning.
Truckee threatened in the sixth in similar fashion when Jones led off with a walk and reached third after stealing two bases. Jayden Commendatore was hit and then stole second to give Truckee runners on second and third with one out. Mendez, though, struck out Vanschoonhover and Alec Vaio.
After throwing a one-hitter against South Tahoe last week, Kendall Johnson ran into problems in Saturday’s first game of the doubleheader.
The Wolverines jumped on Johnson in the second inning with three runs to take a 3-1 lead, including RBI singles from Nos. 8 and 9 hitters JJ Bellon and Joey Gravell. Johnson hit the first batter of the inning before walking Max Wingard, both of whom scored.
Truckee’s lead quickly disappeared in the bottom half of the inning after Swisher nearly hit a grand slam but settled for a three-run double that went off the right-field fence. Swisher scored later in the inning to give Fallon a 5-1 lead.
The Wolverines, though, chased Johnson out in the fourth inning by closing the gap to one run (7-6). Johnson hit Gravell after getting Vaio to ground out to open the frame and appeared to be in the clear after Jones flew out. Connor Bullion, Commendatore and Vanschoohoven hit consecutive singles but Nicholas Sanchez came in and forced Jamie Parisi to ground out.
Johnson, though, still recorded the win after Sanchez and Beeghly shut out Truckee. Johnson struck out six in 3 2/3 innings.
De Braga was pleased with Johnson’s performance and how he kept Fallon in the game.
“He had a better start than he did against Tahoe,” de Braga said. “He was getting the ball up a little bit. He’s going to be more of the No. 2 starter. He did his part.”
The wheels came off for Truckee’s pitching in the last three innings after Fallon scored four in the fourth, two in the fifth and then three in the sixth to end the game with the mercy rule.
Porras and Ricardo Delgada each scored twice during the unanswered scoring streak as Fallon collected 10 hits in the three innings. Marshall Coverston doubled with one out in the second, followed by singles by Beeghly, Porras, Delgado, Jake Wickizer and TJ Fagg’s, whose hit to left ended the game.
Sean McCormick and Swisher each recorded three hits in Game 2 to lead the Greenwave, and Swisher also drove in four. Beeghly and Fagg each had two hits and three RBIs, and Delgado drove in three on two hits. Cameron Beyer also had a hit and two RBIs.
“We just settled in and made some adjustments at the plate,” de Braga said about the flurry of runs. “Once we did that, the kids started hacking. We got things rolling.”
Greenwell and Gary Grosjean engaged in a pitching duel in the nightcap that saw Greenwell allow only three hits in five innings before giving way to Beeghly, who threw two perfect innings.
“Calvin’s been a great surprise. He’s improved greatly from last year,” de Braga said. “He’s settled in for us as the No. 3 starter. He throws hard and has a breaking ball. He’s been looking really good for being a No. 3 starter.”
Greenwell, who struck out four and gave up two walks, was strong as he didn’t allow a runner past second until the fifth inning. Miles Guiragossian led off with a walk and then scored on an error.
Coverston got Fallon on the board in the first inning after an infield single. Workman’s one-out single scored Coverston before he was doubled up on Beeghly’s lineout to short.
Workman singled in Kyle Larsen in the fourth inning and then scored on Beeghly’s single to give Fallon a comfortable three-run lead. Fallon added two in the fifth when Preston Monohan and Coverston scored on Larsen’s single and Porras’ double. Mendez doubled in Beyer for the final run in the sixth.
“That’s been one of our strengths,” de Braga said of his team’s depth in the lineup. “One through nine is capable of stepping up and taking over. We had a great week. Everyone’s stepping up and we’re not quite where we want to be.”