Playoff heartbreak fuels Greenwave
Every year continues to get tougher.
After winning the state championship in its first season in the Division I-A, the Greenwave baseball team has slowly missed its target the last two years.
Fallon had Truckee backed into a corner in the 2012 state tournament in Reno before faltering in the semifinal game and then losing to Elko to settle for third place. The Greenwave came into this year’s round as one of the hottest teams in the North but lost close battles with Elko and Truckee to miss out of the state tournament altogether.
“We had a great season. It hurts when you lose,” Fallon coach Lester de Braga said. “I’m very proud of the team. In those two losses, we never once gave up and battled hard. I have great respect for the kids.”
But even with this year’s success, including going undefeated in April and in Lahontan League play, Fallon’s poised to make its biggest run since winning the whole thing three years ago.
After finishing 19-11 overall (12-0 Lahontan League), Fallon loses only four seniors and returns almost all of its pitching. A couple of key bats will leave a void but plenty of options will come from the junior varsity team, especially those getting experience during the summer ball season.
After beginning the season slowly with only two wins in the two crossovers, Fallon rebounded during a Sacramento spring break tournament before going undefeated in April. Fallon amassed 12 wins during the month and easily won the league crown and the No. 3 seed for the regional play-in series when Fallon bested South Tahoe in three games. The Vikings snapped the Greenwave’s 13-game winning streak earlier this month.
Gone from this season are Dalton Johnson, Hunter Mori, Dylan Tedford and Cody Long. Mori and Long shared pitching and fielding duties while Johnson played third and Tedford was in the outfield. All four could hit the ball with Johnson being the most productive.
Johnson, Mori and Long, who also played first, were named to the Lahontan League’s first team while Tedford earned second team. Tedford will be playing college football this upcoming season.
Fallon returns flamethrower Tristen Salazar and southpaw specialist Nic Stenberg, who will both be seniors in 2014. Salazar threw five complete games during the season while Stenberg, a first-team all-league selection, was helpful late in the season. Morgan Dirickson will return from the bullpen as Fallon loses just Mori and Long from the pitching staff.
In the batter’s box, Fallon will have most of its production back, including Salazar and Stenberg. Catcher Tyler Bagby, shortstop Sage Orozco and outfielder Mo Coverston were named to the league’s second team and will be back next year.
The outlook looks positive for Fallon in the league and across the region as Elko, the regional champ, was mostly senior based while Truckee will return strong, setting up another possible showdown between the Wolverines and Greenwave.