Vikings final-inning rally falls short |

Vikings final-inning rally falls short

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

After pitching a complete-game victory in the opening game, Fallon High’s Teryn Smith didn’t mind being thrown into the fire in the second game of a Sierra Division baseball doubleheader with South Tahoe on Saturday.

Smith retired South Tahoe’s Chris Heng on strikes with the bases loaded to preserve a 12-11 Greenwave victory, giving Fallon a three-game sweep of the Vikings in South Lake Tahoe.

Trent Blackwater, who tossed a one-hitter in the series opener on Thursday, took a 12-8 lead into the seventh inning but had trouble pinpointing his fastball. After retiring two of the first four hitters, Blackwell walked two hitters to force in a run and prompt coach Robbie Wickware to call on Smith. Smith walked into two runs but delivered a strike when it counted, fanning Heng on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded.

“I knew that they weren’t going to catch up to my fastball, and if I could get it over for a strike, they weren’t going to touch it,” Smith said.

Greenwave manager Robbie Wickware didn’t hesitate to pull Blackwater.

“He wasn’t fully in sync, so we wanted to make a quick switch and see if that would get the job done,” Wickware said. “All of our guys did a great job today.”

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Fallon built a 9-2 lead in the top of the third inning on the strength of a five-run second and three-run third against STHS ace Max DeLallo. DeLallo was victimized by three errors and hurt himself with three walks. Colton Oney knocked in a run with an infield single, Jordan Tracy stroked an RBI double and Andy Fiske walked with the bases loaded as Fallon plated five runs in the second inning to take a 6-1 lead. The Greenwave added three unearned runs in the third for an eight-run edge, but the Vikings battled back.

Fallon starting pitcher Carlos Carreon tired in the fourth, having thrown 82 pitches through three innings. Four hits, including an RBI triple by Jamie Yelles and RBI singles by Tanner Braun and Rick Norlie, helped the Vikings score three runs in the third, and STHS added three more in the fourth, making the score 9-8. Gary Prescott lined the only hit of the latter rally as wild pitches allowed the Vikings to score two runs.

John Ingersoll relieved Carreon in the fifth and kept the Vikings’ hitters off balance over two shutout innings.

Tracy smacked a two-run homer to straightaway center field off reliever Rick Braun in the sixth, giving Fallon an 11-8 lead. Fiske added an important two-out, run-scoring single in the seventh, enabling Fallon to take a four-run lead into the bottom of the inning. It was Braun’s pitching, however, that kept the Vikings in the game. He retired seven in a row at one point and allowed five hits in four innings.

Wickware’s decision to replace Ingersoll in the seventh aided the Vikings. Norlie led off the inning with a single and four walks and a hit batsman later, the Vikings nearly pulled off their second miraculous final-inning rally of the season.

Prescott led the Vikings with three hits and two runs scored, while Yelles, Norlie, Derek Holmgren and Tanner Braun contributed two hits.

Smith overpowered the Vikings in the opener, allowing six hits while punching out 11 in the Greenwave’s 7-2 victory. He fanned three in the first inning when the Vikings tallied a run, then didn’t surrender another run until the final inning.

The Greenwave started strong on offense, scoring four times in the first inning. Tracy and Fiske delivered RBI singles in their first at-bats on a chilly morning, which began with snow covering the field. In the seventh inning, Fallon used three straight singles to ignite a three-run rally. Trent deBraga, Alonzo Williams and Oney each rapped base hits and each player came around to score. Smith had the big blow of the inning, a two-run double.

“Fallon played very good baseball,” said STHS coach Matt Tillson. “They didn’t kick the ball around at all, and their pitchers were throwing strikes and keeping the ball low on our hitters, so Robbie has done a great job with them. We saw them in a tournament earlier in the year, and they didn’t look that good.”