Fallon sweeps twin bill to take series
Elko Daily Free Press
ELKO – After a back-and-forth loss in the series opener Friday, the Fallon baseball team now controls its own destiny for a No. 1 seed.
The Greenwave took it to the Elko Indians on Saturday, winning the doubleheader and season series with victories of 13-4 and 11-4. The Wave, though, lost the opener on Friday, 7-5. Fallon improved to 13-3 in league play, dropping the Indians to 14-3 in the Division 3A North. Lowry plays at Fallon at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader.
“Anytime you go up there, it will be a battle,” said Fallon coach Lester de Braga. “They’re a well-coached team. This is only the second time in eight years we’ve taken a series from them up there (in Elko).”
De Braga said he was proud of how the Fallon players reacted after Friday’s loss. He said the players decided they wanted to win the series, and the results from Saturday showed their determination.
As for any standouts in the series, de Braga spread the kudos to every member of the team.
“We got a lineup with one through nine as solid,” he pointed out. “Every kid at some point performed in a game and did his job and made a difference that game .
Fallon more than doubled Elko’s output of hits and benefited from four errors by the Indians’ defense, turning a close ballgame through three innings into a lopsided victory for the Greenwave.
Elko retired Fallon in order in the top of the first inning, and the Indians took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame on a two-out single by junior Austyn Marin that drove in junior Kaleb Martinez.
The Greenwave bounced back with a solid inning in the top of the second — the first three batters all going for singles.
Junior Edgar Alvarado led off with a single and stole second base, scoring Fallon’s first run from freshman Shaw Lee, who took third on an error in right field.
Junior Hayden Strasdin drove in Lee with a single to left field for a 2-1 lead.
With two outs, Strasdin gave Fallon a 3-1 advantage on an RBI base knock by sophomore Brock Richardson to right field.
Elko’s Martinez reached base from a one-out error, runners placed on second and third with a double up the middle by senior Kamren Backherms.
Marin booked his second and third runs driven in, ripping a two-RBI single on the ground to center field.
Senior Julian Loera drove in Marin with a two-out base knock left field, but the Indians would not score for the remainder of the game after taking a 4-3 lead.
The Indians were not able to put Fallon away with two outs in the top of the fourth, the rally started with an RBI single by sophomore Nate Galusha that scored sophomore Tommy McCormick.
Junior Sean McCormick drilled a hard grounder to right field and gave Fallon a 5-4 lead as Jake Wickizer crossed, the Greenwave jumping to a three-run advantage with a two-RBI double by Alvarado to opposite-right field.
Fallon did more damage with two outs in the top of the sixth.
Sean McCormick gave the Greenwave a double-up lead of 8-4 on a double by Alvarado, who scored on the next at-bat from a single by Lee.
Fallon put the game away in the top of the seventh.
Wickizer smoked a leadoff triple, scoring on a one-out single by Galusha, who put the Greenwave up 11-4 with the second triple of the inning – coming off the bat of Sean McCormick.
McCormick darted home on a passed ball for a 12-4 lead; the advantage reaching 13-4 after Lee went for a double and scored on a base knock by Strasdin.
Alvarado finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and drove in a team-high three runs for Fallon, scoring two runs of his own.
Seven of Fallon’s nine batters booked multiple hits.
Lee drove in two runs and went 3-for-4 with a double – scoring two runs – and Sean McCormick scored a game-high three runs, driving in two with a 2-for-3 performance and a triple.
A pair of singles by Galusha drove in two runs – scoring twice himself – and two base knocks by Strasdin accounted for two RBIs and a run scored.
Wickizer went 2-for-3 with a triple and scored two runs for the Greenwave.
Junior Brenden Larsen spun a gem on the mound for Fallon, allowing one earned run on seven hits over seven innings for the complete-game win, striking out four batters with just one walk.
Richardson scored on a two-out single by Alvarado in the top of the first inning for Fallon, but Elko evened the score in the bottom half – Jones leading off with a double and tying the contest after an error behind the plate on a single by Martinez.
The Greenwave fell in order in the top of the second, and Loera poked a leadoff single for Elko in the bottom of the inning.
Junior courtesy runner Kohl McIntosh scored on a two-out single by Byington for a 2-1 lead.
The give-and-take continued with a two-out double by Sean McCormick in the top of the third, Fallon tying the game as Wickizer scored.
Fallon claimed the upper hand for good in the top of the fourth with an RBI double by Strasdin that crossed Lee.
Elko could have gotten out of the inning on a strikeout by Loera, but Wickizer reached first on the dropped-third strike – Strasdin scoring from third for a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom half, Elko made a push to tie the game or take the lead.
Jones led off with a single up the gut, Martinez drew a one-out walk after a sac bunt from Byington and the Indians loaded the bases with a base knock by Backherms as he beat the play at the bag.
Things came crashing down with one mental mistake.
A line drive was snagged at second base — the runner not holding — Fallon dodging a bullet with an unassisted double play.
The Greenwave rode the momentum into the top of the seventh, opening with a single by Richardson and a double from Galusha.
A fly ball to right field recorded the first out, but Elko intentionally walked Edgar Alvarado – Lee making the Indians pay.
Richardson scored on a passed ball, a double by Lee to right field scoring Galusha for a 6-3 lead.
An error at shortstop on a groundball allowed senior pinch runner Noah Krogg to score for a 7-3 advantage, Lee rolling home on a base hit for an 8-3 lead.
Tommy McCormick drove a single to left field and scored Strasdin for a 9-3 tally, and an error behind the plate opened a 10-3 Fallon lead.
The nightmarish frame for the Indians continued when McCormick crossed on a sac fly by Wickizer, Elko eventually closing the inning after a double by Richardson was struck down in a bid for a triple – Martinez applying a tag after a throw from Byington on a relay from McIntosh in right field.
In the bottom of the seventh, McIntosh drew a one-out walk and took second base on a passed ball, scoring Elko’s final run on a single by sophomore Colby Tiner to right field.
Jones was hit by a pitch with two outs, but the game came to an end with a fly ball.
Fallon took the series and now holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Indians after taking both games of the doubleheader by scores 13-4 and 11-4.
Elko outhit Fallon 11-5 for six innings, but the battle of knocks closed in a 12-12 tie – the Greenwave racking up runs with their pokes.
Strasdin led all hitters with two RBIs with a double, tying Richardson and Lee for the game high with two runs scored apiece.
Richardson finished 3-for-4 with a double for the Greenwave.
Galusha, Lee and Sean McCormick each went for a double for their lone hits.
Carter Alvarado (2-for-4), Tiner and Byington (2-for-3) drove in one run each for the Indians, and McIntosh scored a team-high two runs for Elko.
Backherms hit a perfect 3-for-3 with a double and scored a run, Jones finishing 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
De Braga said the pressure is on both teams heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
“We have regionals here and get to host,” de Braga said. “Nothing is more important that to be the No. 1 see and get the first round-bye and then draw the lower the seed (on the second day). We can’t overlook anybody at this point and must win every game to remain as the No. 1 seed.
Elko won Friday’s game against its longtime rival.
The Indians scored three runs in the bottom half of the first inning.
Byington drove a line-drive single to center field with one out, followed by a base knock from Martinez to right field.
Elko took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Backherms to right field, driving in Byington.
Fallon’s Chase Irvin drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third for the Greenwave, Richardson was hit by a pitch with one out and Fallon posted its first run on a single by sophomore Nate Galusha that drove in Irvin.
McCormick pulled the Greenwave to within a run on an RBI grounder.
Backherms nailed a leadoff single in the bottom of the third, but junior pitcher Hayden Strasdin and the Greenwave’s defense sat down the next three hitters in order.
Freshman Shaw Lee reached in the leadoff spot on an error in the top of the fourth, but the Indians came up with a 6-4-3 double play on the next AB – a groundout to third base ending the inning.
The Indians went three-up, three-down in the bottom half, and Fallon tied the ballgame in the top of the fifth.
Following two-consecutive outs, Richardson smacked a double to center field and scored on an RBI single by Galusha up the middle.
Elko found some two-out magic in the bottom half, regaining a one-run lead.
Backherms and Marin notched consecutive singles, Alvarado winning a 3-2 count with a double up the gut, driving in Backherms for a 4-3 advantage.
The lead did not last long.
Fallon opened the top of the sixth with a leadoff double by junior Edgar Alvarado, Lee placing runners on the corners with a single down the line in left field.
Junior courtesy runner Bryce Larsen tied the game on a passed ball, and an error at first base gave Lee a free roll home.
The second out of the inning was recorded after a dropped-third strike, and Elko escaped runners on the corners with Alvarado’s second nice play of the inning in right field.
Galusha topped Fallon’s roster with two RBIs — going 2-for-4 at the plate — Richardson hitting 2-for-3 with a double and scoring a team-best two runs.
Each of Alvarado’s two hits went for doubles, and McCormick tallied the Greenwave’s other RBI.