Sports

Fallon wins baseball conference coach of the year award in first season

Tom Fallon coaches his son, Trent, on the finer points of laying down a bunt during preseason practice in March. South Whidbey’s first-year head skipper was voted coach of the year by the Cascade Conference baseball coaches.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Tom Fallon coaches his son, Trent, on the finer points of laying down a bunt during preseason practice in March. South Whidbey’s first-year head skipper was voted coach of the year by the Cascade Conference baseball coaches.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Teamwork is often the first and last word out of Tom Fallon’s mouth when it comes to South Whidbey baseball.

That’s why when he won the Cascade Conference coach of the year award, he praised his assistants and the players.

“It’s a huge honor,” Fallon said of his coaching peers voting him coach of the year. “It’s kind of hard for me because I’m a humble guy. I don’t like attention on myself.

“The whole team-first thing continues … I look at it as the team’s award.”

Wins ballooned with Fallon as the Falcons’ head coach. The past two seasons, each under a different head coach, South Whidbey combined for five wins and 32 losses. With Fallon and assistant coaches Bill Patterson and Dave Moody, the Falcons soared to a 9-15 overall record, 7-11 in league play.

Getting the team to compete in a league stacked with powerhouse teams like Archbishop Murphy and Cedarcrest was a challenge. But because South Whidbey was a 1A school, and the top teams were 2A, the Falcons advanced to the playoffs despite finishing as the conference’s fifth-place team.

“One of the first things he told us in our (preseason) meeting was he wanted to change the way people looked at South Whidbey baseball,” said Falcon senior captain Aaron Curfman. “It shaped everything around the Falcon baseball culture.”

Playing in the postseason for the first time in more than four years, South Whidbey lost its first game in a rout. Facing elimination, the Falcons fought off Blaine and Lynden Christian to make the tri-district tournament. In the first-round elimination game, South Whidbey lost to Charles Wright Academy in an extra-inning bout.

Overall, South Whidbey’s offense was a little lackluster. The Falcons averaged 4.3 runs per game and allowed 4.7. Against league opponents, South Whidbey fared better with a 5.1 average for and 4.4 runs allowed. Fallon and the coaching staff pulled a major turnaround defensively, as the Falcons allowed 7.9 runs overall and 7.7 to Cascade Conference teams. And while coaching played its part last year, Fallon is quickly credits the team’s unity.

“Team chemistry, that’s one of those intangibles that you either have it or you don’t and we had it and everything clicked this year,” he said.

 

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