Wave slides past Elko | NevadaAppeal.com

Wave slides past Elko

Steve Puterski
Fallon senior Dalton Frank slides safely into home during Fallon's 12-9 loss to Elko on Saturday. Despite the loss, Fallon won the series to take a commanding lead in the Northern Division I-A.
Steve Puterski / sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com | LVN

Northern Division I-A baseball

Team League Overall

Fallon 8-2 8-7

Elko 9-4 12-6

Spring Creek 9-4 12-5

South Tahoe 9-4 11-7

Fernley 6-4 10-5

Sparks 5-8 9-8

Dayton 3-7 3-7

Lowry 3-9 5-11

Truckee 0-11 1-14

The smallest player came up with the biggest hit to ignite the Fallon baseball team on Saturday.

Sophomore second baseman Jack Swisher smoked a triple off the centerfield fence to spark a seventh inning rally to lift the Greenwave past rival Elko and win the Northern Division I-A three-game series at the Edward Arciniega Complex.

Swisher scored after a double by Dalton Frank and Joe Pyle drove in Frank to give Fallon an 11-10 win to cap the series.

The Greenwave opened the series with a 9-0 thumping on Friday, then over the course of nearly seven hours, split Saturday’s doubleheader with a 12-9 loss in nine innings and an 11-10 win to cap the day.

Fallon hosted Fernley on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.

“It just shows we got an experienced group, a veteran group that knows what it takes to win,” Fallon coach Lester de Braga said. “Last year, we went through the series where we lost all three to them, yet we came back and advanced all the way to the state championship. I just think it’s a group that knows what their talents are and confident in themselves and battle.”

Elko raced out to a 6-1 lead after the top of the third inning in the finale, but Fallon answered with five runs in the bottom half of the frame. Fallon added three runs in the next two innings before Elko responded with four runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Fallon, though, never caved. The Wave scratched across a pair of runs including Pyle’s game-winner to walk off with the series.

Swisher, meanwhile, had a monster game adding a double, two RBIs and three runs. Pyle finished with a trio of RBIs, while David Hughes also drove in two. Frank added a double in his return to the lineup after missing several weeks with an injury.

Pyle started on the mound going 3.3 innings and allowed four earned runs. Chase McElvain added 2.3 innings of relief and struck out two and allowed one run.

Kendall Johnson started the sixth, but allowed three runs as Alex Mendez closed the game throwing the final two innings to earn the win.

Despite the one loss, one focus was returning to the roots of using small-ball to move runners and put pressure on the defense. Fallon scored at least nine runs in all three games, which provided a lift for Fallon, de Braga said.

“I think our small-ball game came around for us and helped us,” he added. “That last game, it showed. We got runners in scoring position and were able to score them.”

The two wins give the Wave a two-game lead in the loss column over Elko. Fallon finishes the season at Lowry (3-9, 5-11) next weekend followed by home series against Sparks (5-8, 9-8) and Dayton (3-7, 3-7) and the final three games at South Tahoe (9-4, 11-7).

“We kind of overlook that in some ways as to where we are at,” de Braga said. “Every year we always look to peak at the end when it counts. Our goal is just to win the series and we accomplished that. We still have half the season to go and are just looking to win each series.”

In Fallon’s loss, Frank tallied four RBIs on three hits, while Branden Beeghly added a run-scoring single and a double.

Elko’s Benton Wickersham and Jacob Conklin each homered as Conklin picked up the win.

Fallon starter Riley Williams was solid through five innings allowing just two runs, but Elko’s bats and seven Wave errors got the best of the Fallon arms in the final four innings.

Mendez, the Wave’s sophomore sensation, continued his dominant season by tossing yet another gem on Friday.

He threw a three-hit, complete game striking out nine with no walks to shut down the Indians’ potent offense. As has been the case all season, Mendez was dynamic with his effectiveness throwing 94 pitches, 70 for strikes.

As a result of the weekend, Mendez lowered his ERA to a measly 0.48, the lowest in the Northern DI-A. In addition, Mendez’s five wins are tied for the most in the DI-A and is fifth in the DI-A with 35 strikeouts.

The depth of the staff, though, was critical in getting past Elko as six Fallon pitchers saw action, while Elko only had four in its rotation.

“I think that’s our strength as a team,” de Braga said. “We got kids that can come in and hold them off for an inning or two until the next kid is ready.”

Brock Uptain led the offensive attack with a 3-for-3 effort scoring three runs and driving in one. Frank added a trio of RBIs in a three-hit performance including a double.

Willimas added two hits and a pair of runs, while Marshall Coverston also had two hits and drove in one.