Lady Wave wins 3rd state softball title since 2011
RENO – Despite dropping the first game, the Lady Wave softball team came back in the championship “if” game to win the program’s third state title in the past four years.
Fallon’s patience at the plate was its strongest weapon again after it took advantage of Fernley’s struggle to find the strike zone. After losing 3-2 in the first championship game, the Lady Wave scored four unanswered runs to win the Division I-A state championship, 4-1, at the University of Nevada’s Hixson Park on Saturday.
The title kept the trophy in the North for the seventh time in the past eight years and also marked the first title for Bill Archer as a head coach after helping Phil Pinder win the 2011 and 2012 championships. Stacey McNair and Brad Dolan assisted Archer this season.
Three players from this year’s squad played on the 2011 team when Fallon defeated Elko. Seniors Rileigh Ricken, Shelby Lawry and Gabby Sharpe (injured) each picked up their third championship while junior Ali Tedford won her first as a freshman in 2012.
Ricken pitched both games after going the distance in Thursday and Friday’s state games. Ricken, who also pitched in all three regional games last week at South Tahoe, ran into trouble in the final inning, similar to how Fernley came back in last year’s state championship when the Vaqueros erased a seven-run deficit to win the state title in Pahrump.
Ricken allowed two singles in the final frame before Bailey Henderson flied out to Courtney Cross in right field for the school’s fifth state softball championship.
Fallon drew 11 walks in the second game as Taelyne Phillips and Haley Mull struggled to find the strike zone.
Clinging to a one-run lead, Mull nearly yielded a grand slam to Ricken, the school’s all-time home run leader, in the third inning. The sac fly tied the game before Paige Thorn walked to score Ali Tedford and Hannah Frank walked, scoring Cross.
Megan McCormick walked with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to cap off the scoring when Izzy Thomas crossed the plate.
In the first game, Fernley jumped to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Mercedes Rothwell tripled in Keslie Callahan on the first pitch and then scored on Shandell Gemmel’s two-strike double down the left-field line. Ricken gave up three consecutive extra-base hits.
Fallon got one run back in the fourth inning when Nicole Mariezcurrena’s infield single scored Miranda Ford. Fallon tied the game in the fifth inning on Ricken’s sac fly, which scored Tedford.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Ricken nearly escaped with no damage but a misplayed ground ball allowed Fernley to take the lead and hang on for the win.