No. 3 Fallon entertains Spring Creek to open 3A playoffs Thursday
3A NORTHERN SOFTBALL REGIONAL TOURNAMENT
1. Fernley (23-1)
2. Lowry (21-3)
3. Fallon (19-5)
4. Dayton (15-9)
5. Elko (11-13)
6. Spring Creek (8-16)
No. 4 Dayton vs. No. 5 Elko, 9 a.m.
No. 3 Fallon vs. No. 6 Spring Creek, 11:30 a.m.
No. 1 Fernley vs. winner of Elko/Dayton, 2 p.m.
No. 2 Lowry vs. winner of Fallon/Spring Creek, 4:30 p.m.
Loser’s Bracket Quarterfinals, 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.
Winner’s Bracket Final (winner goes to state), 2 p.m.
Losers Bracket Semifinals, 4:30 p.m.
Loser’s Bracket Final (winner goes to state), 9 a.m.
Championship, 11:30 a.m. (if game to follow)
After losing grip on second place with a series loss to Lowry last weekend, the Lady Wave softball team rebounded with a convincing sweep just in time for the playoffs.
Riding the pitching of senior Faith Cornmesser, Fallon got back into the win column by sweeping Dayton on Saturday to secure the No. 3 seed for this week’s regional tournament. Fallon (19-5) faces No. 6 Spring Creek (8-16) on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. with the winner advancing to play No. 2 Lowry (21-3) at 4:30 p.m. No. 1 Fernley (23-1) awaits at 2 p.m. for the winner of No. 4 Dayton (15-9) and No. 5 Elko (11-13), who play at 9 a.m. at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex. The top two teams advance to next week’s state tournament in Reno.
Fallon, which hasn’t missed the state tournament since joining the 3A in 2010-2011, faces a tougher challenge than previous years being the No. 3 seed. Nevertheless, the Lady Wave has shown it can compete with both Lowry and Fernley, setting up this week’s tournament to be a fun ride.
“We need to come out and play as a team to the best of our ability,” first-year Fallon coach Kasey Chu said about the team’s approach. “We have been talking a lot about selflessness and really helping the team out. This is a very talented group of girls. We need to hit and play defense like we have shown we can throughout the season. We have to win one game at a time and leave everything on the field for each game.”
Year in, year out, the postseason has proven to be a new chapter in 3A softball. Fallon and Fernley have battled each other countless times when the regular-season and regional champs haven’t been the same squad. All but one of the past seven regional titles have been decided between Fallon and Fernley. Five of the last seven state titles have been decided between both schools.
“I think that if there is pressure for the team, it’s in the back of their minds as we play each game,” Chu said about Fallon’s streak of going to state. “If we play to the best of our ability, we will be there again. It’s an exciting time of the year and they are ready for regionals.”
For Fallon, though, it will need to limit its mistakes with Cornmesser pitching and focus on timely hitting and smart base running. Chu’s a believer that any team can win this tournament.
“I believe that has been shown throughout the season. There are a lot of talented teams in the league,” Chu added.
And for the first time since Chu played for her father, Jack Beach, Fallon is hosting the regional softball tournament, which she hopes can create an edge for Fallon.
“Being able to play in Fallon is such a great experience for these girls,” Chu said. “We talked to the girls about this the other day. They’ll have the support of their peers, teachers, families and friends. I think this will really keep their energy going, which is a very big thing for this team.”
Fallon was able to get back on track against Dayton by outscoring the hosts, 41-3, in the three-game series.
Cornmesser pitched the first two games of the series, both 15-0 and 13-0 victories, striking out nine in the first game and eight in the second.
In the first game, Lorynn Fagg, Caitlyn Welch and Stacy Kalt drove in runs, and Cornmesser doubled home two. Alex Jarrett drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Welch and Shelbi Schulz each had three hits. Welch also had four RBI. Kalt, Cornmesser and Fagg had two hits apiece.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader was scoreless until the Greenwave scored four in the third and three in the fourth to take control.
Jarrett homered twice and doubled en route to a 5-RBI game. Kalt went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI and Welch went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Schultz also had two hits.
In the second game, Fallon scored two in the first and eight in the second en route to a mercy rule victory.
Cornmesser was the hitting star, with a double, three singles and an RBI. Schultz went 3-for-4 and Welch went 2-for-5. Jarrett had a hit and two RBI.