Fallon trip to state lies with this week’s regional championships
The field in this year’s Northern 3A regional baseball championships doesn’t show much difference between the first and sixth-place teams, but Fallon coach Lester de Braga also knows for the Wave to earn a trip to state next week, his players must be on top of their game no matter the opponent.
The longtime Greenwave baseball coach doesn’t want to see a repeat of what happened one year ago. Neat the end of the season, Fallon won every series until the final one when Dayton took two out of three games. Hosting the 2018 regional tournament didn’t help Fallon, either. Both Truckee and South Tahoe each took one-run wins against the Greenwave to eliminate Fallon.
“The emphasis was on the (regular season) schedule, and now we must get focused for anything that can happen,” de Braga said at practice this week.
On any given day, de Braga said any team can knock off the other. Fallon, along with Spring Creek and South Tahoe, each handed first-place Truckee a loss, and Fallon dropped another game to the Wolverines by one run.
“Up and down, it’s a great league,” de Braga pointed out, citing the closeness in talent among the contenders.
Before the season began, de Braga thought two to three teams would be tough. Instead, six teams have prowled the standings, and going into the final two weeks of the season, any one of five teams could’ve finished second behind Truckee. After Fernley surprised Elko by taking a pair of games on Saturday, Spring Creek fell into second place with Fallon in third. As a result of Fallon’s doubleheader sweep at South Tahoe, the Wave will play North Valleys on Thursday in an 11:30 a.m. game. The winner then faces Spring Creek in the second round.
KKTU Radio 99.5 FM will broadcast the baseball game at 11:30 a.m., which will also be carried on Network 1 Sports! http://www.network1sports.com/station/kktu.
After the South Tahoe series, which improved Fallon’s record to 18-9, de Braga said the team seemed a little more relaxed. During the season, Fallon lost three one-run games in the seventh inning, which if reversed, could have easily given Fallon a 21-6 record and a solid grasp on second place.
“Without pressure on them, our kids responded well,” de Braga said this week.
According to de Braga, the pitching staff has been the strongest component of the Greenwave. Brenden Larsen and Hayden Strasdin both have 4-2 records, while Shaw Lee is 3-2 and Chase Irvin, who primarily entered the games in relief, is 2-0. He also struck out 29 batters and walked five. Strasdin recorded 30 strikeouts and six walks, and Larsen fanned 22 and issued 11 walks. Lee whiffed 23 and walked nine. De Braga said other pitchers may see more innings during the regional tournament.
Fallon’s team earned run average is 4.07.
Both Larsen and catcher Edgar Alvarado batted over .400. Alvarado hit .448 and smacked three home runs. He and Lee, who batted .388, each had 22 RBIs. Tommy McCormick batted .380, and his brother Sean followed at .370. Sean McCormick didn’t play in Saturday’s doubleheader against the Vikings, however, because of soreness in his back.
“He’s getting some treatments, and I think he’ll be ready,” de Braga said.
Fallon pitcher Brenden Larsen keeps the Elko runner honest by throwing the ball to first baseman Shaw Lee.
Steve Ranson / LVN