Can Lady Wave repeat Cinderella run?
The Lady Wave find themselves in a similar position when they enter the 2019 Northern 3A regional softball championship as the No. 3 team.
Like last year when Fallon swept Dayton on the last weekend of the regular season, the Wave swept South Tahoe on Saturday to secure the third spot behind league-leading Fernley and second-place Lowry.
Last year’s Cinderella run began with a regular-season sweep against Spring Creek followed by the Dayton series. Fallon captured the state championship against Lowry by riding a 13-game winning streak.
Fallon will see if Cinderella’s coach is ready for the regionals at Elko High School on Thursday when the Wave play Spring Creek at 11 a.m. The winner plays Lowry later in the day at 4:30 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament.
Fallon defeated the Spartans earlier this year, 22-8 and 21-5, but split with Lowry, taking the first game, 9-7, but losing the second, 9-2. Elko radio station KEAU 104.7 Fox Sports Radio will broadcast the Fallon-Spring Creek game on http://www.network1sports.com/station/keau.
Second-year coach Kayce Chu said this year’s tournament will be tough.
“I believe that there is a lot more competition this year,” she said. “Fernley and Lowry will be tough to beat, (and) Elko has the advantage of playing at home which played a huge factor for us last year. We aren’t going to take any team lightly. We have been working as a team to go and play our game.”
Fallon goes into the tournament with a few injuries, most notably with pitcher Gaby Winkler. Chu said Winkler’s back injury has kept her out of practice for almost two weeks. She has posted a 5-3 record this year with 44 strikeouts and 18 walks.
Ashley Agaman will take charge from the circle. She finished the regular season at 6-6 with 57 strikeouts and 40 walks. As a team, the pitching staff had an overall 5.28 earned run average, and the team is batting a collective .355. Chu can also rely on Shelbi Schultz and Rachel Mori.
“At this point I do feel that our team is where I have hoped in some aspects and lacking a little in others,” Chu said. “Defensively, I don’t believe that we are, but our bats have really come around. This week we will focus a lot on defense, ground balls, fly balls and going back to the basics. We have had a lot of injuries, but I am hoping we are all healed up by Thursday.”
Lorynn Fagg leads the team with a .506 batting average and also in hits with 41. Savana Manha follows with 36 hits, to include seven home runs, and 43 RBIs. She is also batting .450.
Shaylee Fagg and Shaylee Coldwell each have three home runs and are batting in the mid-to-high 300s. Second baseman Aspen Mori is batting .368 with 32 hits and 25 RBIs. Both Karlee Hitchcock and Rylee Buckmaster can hit in the clutch.
Fallon, which has won four straight games, is relying on its young pitchers, its seasoned batters and the bench with Makeenzee Moretto and Mackenzie Fish each belting inside-the-park home runs at South Tahoe, and Bella Jones ripping Truckee pitching. Chu said the defensive game must be more focused.
“We are a lot younger of a team than we had last year,” she pointed out. “ We have a more well -rounded team I believe this year. We aren’t playing the defense we did last year — or what I feel we can be playing — and that is something that will need to come around and be strong for us in playoffs.”
Infielder Shaylee Coldwell eyes third base during a drill at practice this week.
Steve Ranson / LVN