Greenwave rides like the wind to sweep Spartans
LVN Editor Emeritus
Fallon rode like the wind behind pitcher Chase Irvin Tuesday by knocking off visiting Spring Creek, 15-5, in a Northern 3A baseball game at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.
The Wave (9-6-1 overall and 11-2 in league) also swept a doubleheader on Monday as part of a series makeup, taking the first game, 3-2, in eight innings and the second game, 8-2, against the Spartans (7-11, 5-8).
“It’s hard to sweep a team, tough to do,” said Fallon coach Lester de Braga. “We were down 2-0 today (Tuesday), then had a little talk and the kids responded.”
A fast-moving storm and strong spring winds gusting up to 35 miles per hour didn’t deter Fallon’s third win of the series. As the game progressed, the hitting rattled Spring Creek, and Irvin settled down to pitch the entire game.
“Coach called a great game. My fastball was working and my changeup kept them off balance,” he said.
After Irvin gave up two runs and Fallon came back to take the lead, Irvin said he began to bear down against the Spartans and remained mentally focused. Fallon provided Irvin with more than adequate run support with three runs in the third inning, five in the fourth and seven in the fifth inning. The game was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Irvin scattered the 10 hits and after the second inning, allowed a run in the fourth inning and two more in the top of the fifth. The beginning of the game, however, had all the makings of a pitchers’ duel with Irvin and Spring Creek starter Max Shanks each allowing a hit.
The Spartans’ Jason Painter led off the second inning with a hard single. One out later, Caden Jangard grounded out to score Spring Creek’s first run. Clay Campbell’s bloop single to right field resulted in another run. After retiring Fallon in the bottom of the inning, Shanks ran into problems in the third. With the bases loaded, Sean McCormick smashed a two-run single to tie the game, and two batters later, first baseman Shaw Lee ripped a hard grounder deep in the infield to score Fallon’s third run.
Another Campbell bloop single to right field tied the game in the fourth inning.
Fallon broke the game wide open in the fifth inning. The Wave loaded the bases with no outs before second baseman Nate Galusha’s high popup caught a gust of wind and dropped in shallow left field to score a run. Galusha later scored on a wild pitch. McCormick, though, hit a ground-rule double to drive home a pair of runs.
Spring Creek sliced the lead in the fifth inning, 8-5. With two outs, Jangard tagged Irvin for a two-run RBI double.
Jangard came into the game in relief in the fifth inning and struggled against Fallon by loading the bases with one out. McCormick hit into a force out to score a run, and Edgar Alvarado padded the score to 11-5 with a two-run single to left field. Lee and Tommy McCormick each drove in a run, and after another pitching change, Larsen greeted Michael Armstrong with an infield hit. Armstrong, though, hit Jake Wickizer with the bases loaded to score a run, and on batter later, Armstrong uncorked a wild pitch to allow McCormick to score the 15th run.
Both teams began the three-game series on Monday after rain postponed the Northern 3A battle on Friday. Fallon’s Hayden Strasdin and Spring Creek’s Thomas Ledford pitched well in the first game on Monday. Strasdin, who pitched the entire game for the Wave, allowed nine hits, struck out seven and walked none. Ledford looked just as good for even inning, allowing two runs on three hits while fanning four but walking five.
“My velocity wasn’t working, but I was able to hit the corners,” Strasdin said. “My curve ball was working for me.”
Strasdin has never pitched eight innings, but the pitch count was lower for him, which enabled him to wrap up the game with a win.
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Hayden consecutively hit Chris Brunson and Dakota Larson, and Shanks delivered an RBI single.
The Wave tied the game in the third inning. Richardson led off with a single, but Ledford then walked Galusha and Sean McCormick to load the bases. Ledford struggled against Alvarado and walked the Fallon catcher. Fallon led 2-1 after Sean McCormick scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the fifth. Shanks recorded his second RBI in the sixth inning, singling home Larson.
Daniel Johnson came into the eighth inning for Spring Creek. With two outs, Irvin and Wickizer hit back-to-back singles but Irvin scored on an error.
De Braga said he was pleased with the way Fallon played in the first game and how the defense played one of its best games of the year.
Levi Yaunick surrendered eight runs on seven hits to open the second game.
Fallon jumped out in front 8-0 on Alvarado’s two-run single, Galusha’s two-run double and run-producing singles from Sean McCormick, Lee and Wickizer.
Yaunick settled down for the rest of the game, yielding a run in each of the second and fourth innings.
Strasdin belted an RBI double in the second, while Strasdin’s single accounted for Fallon’s eighth run. Spring Creek scored a pair of runs in the second inning on Brunson’s two-run double.
Larsen pitched the entire game for Fallon, giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out four and walking one.
“I mixed up the pitches and used the fastball,” Larsen said. “I kept the ball low and got them to swing out front.”
De Braga said his three pitchers had strong outings.
“Our pitching has always been our strong area with a deep staff,” he said. “We still have kids in the bullpen who can throw like these three.”
Yaunick finished the game by allowing 10 hits and 10 runs, four of them earned. He allowed only one walk and struck out one.
Fallon plays Tuesday at Fernley and, according to de Braga, has earned some time off to work on segments of the game.
“It’s a good time to take a breather, but we won’t let up in practice,” de Braga said, adding he feels Fallon has one of the best well-rounded, solid teams he has coached.