Wave prevents sweep in series loss
At first the losses seemed more worrisome with each game for the Wave baseball team this weekend, losing 10-7 on Friday and 7-3 in Saturday’s first game. But nobody can say when it rains, it pours, since the Wave came back in Saturday afternoon’s game for a 15-5 victory against the Spartans, preventing a sweep but still losing the series.
Fallon (10-5 overall, 7-3 in DI-A) has a bye this week until its rematch on the road with the Fernley Vaqueros on Tuesday at 3 p.m. followed by a weekend series against Elko.
Fallon coach Lester de Braga said any time you avoid a sweep is a good thing, but, of course, he would have liked to sweep the Spartans.
“Still, you know, getting one back on the winning side is always a plus, and we’ll be shooting for the next series,” de Braga said.
The Spartans (12-2 overall, 8-1 in DI-A) were first on the board with a run while Fallon pitcher Alex Mendez struggled to avoid high-center balls.
By the top of the third inning, Spring Creek’s Austin Marath knocked in a two-run RBI followed by Spring Creek’s Logan Gregory who scored to give the Spartans a 5-1 lead halfway through the game.
This prompted de Braga to switch Mendez for TJ Fagg, unknowing this would be the first of many pitchers for both teams that day.
In the bottom of the third, the Wave nearly caught up with a three-run RBI by Cameron Beyer which brought in Wyatt Getto, Brandon Beeghly and Mike Porras.
Beyer scored soon after and brought Fallon up to tail Spring Creek until Moe Coverston brought in Beyer off an RBI for a 6-6 tie.
By the bottom of the fourth the Spartans put in John Lyden on the mound. Beeghly was ejected from the game for sliding into home with his feet up, a run which could have changed the game for the Wave.
By the fifth Fallon put Clay Davison on the mound after the Spartans took back their lead, 10-6, after two RBIs. Despite Fallon scoring one more run, Spring Creek came out with the win.
“It was a little of everything,” de Braga said on what made the difference. “Our pitching wasn’t that good but you’ve got to give credit to Spring Creek who came out and actually put the bat on the ball. The first game we left sixteen runners on base, and that always hurts.”
Spring Creek coach Scott Gilligan also said his players weren’t throwing too many strikes on Friday but both teams were trying.
“We struggled a bit with (pitching) in the second game too,” Gilligan said. “We brought in four different guys again and that’s just it really. It’s good for us to fill those guys out in game situations and see what they can do, but we definitely have to get better for sure.”
Nonetheless, the Spartans took the second game on Saturday morning as well, though the game was arguably more competitive than Friday’s.
Coverston was plated for the Wave’s first run in an RBI by Jack Swisher. Spring Creek’s pitcher Matt Millis, however, kept Fallon off the bases with consecutive strikeouts all game long.
Millis struck out both Porras and Beyer at the top of the second after the Wave had a 3-0 lead with fastballs to the inside corner. Millis was the only pitcher for either team to pitch an entire game all weekend.
“Millis threw well,” Gilligan said of Millis and the second game. “He threw three pitches for strikes and kind of kept (Fallon) off balance. He’s kind of been our most consistent guy here so far and he threw a great game. As a whole we swung really well too. Our pitchers make their hitters work and our hitters don’t swing at bad pitches too often.”
Fallon’s Kendall Johnson nearly got the Wave out of trouble, pitching three strikeouts in the third inning after Spartans loaded the bases. Spring Creek left three runners on that inning, but Fallon was unable to rally while Millis held them without runs for the rest of the game.
“The series this morning basically came down to us not executing the plays when we had the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning,” de Braga said on Saturday. “We just didn’t quite execute the plays.”
The third game of the series Saturday afternoon was a different story. Fallon jumped to a quick 5-2 lead at the bottom of the third inning, loading the bases.
Beyer, struggling at bat since the previous game, struck out on an inside corner pitch. Shortly after, though, Porras (on third) scored a run and Coverston hit a two-run RBI which plated Mendez and Brock Uptain for an 8-2 lead.
With exhaustion setting in for the Spartans, one last two-run RBI by Uptain in the bottom of the fifth “10-runned” Spring Creek for Fallon’s 15-5 victory.
“Timely hitting is something that we’re capable of that we’ve been working on all year so we were finally able to put that together,” de Braga said of the last game victory. “Baseball’s funny, it kind of humbles you when you’re not on top of your game, but with that third game I think we’re back on track and I think for the next few weeks we should stay back on track.”