The Les Eva All-Stars have been a staple in the Nevada County Fast Pitch championship game, but they won’t be there this year after falling to No. 5 seed A-Z Supply in the first round of the playoffs.
A-Z got up early and never fell behind Wednesday night as it knocked off the No. 4 seed All-Stars, 6-5, in a tight contest at Memorial Park.
The All-Stars had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the sixth, trailing 6-4, when Nick Freitas bunted and reached second after a throwing error. Eric Oxenbol, playing on his second team of the day, then laced a ball down the right-field line and was thinking extra bases, but Troy Dutra made a spectacular diving catch along the foul line to rob Oxenbol.
Sean Coffey then drove in Freitas, now at third, on a single up the middle to bring the All-Stars to within one. Coffey attempted to move into scoring position but was gunned out trying to steal second. With two outs, Pete Medrano hit a double into the gap to put the tying run on second. Mario Pereira then hit a hard grounder up the middle, which A-Z shortstop Craig Fleenor made an incredible play on, snagging the tough hopper, then wheeling around and gunning to first, but the head-first slide by Pereira beat the throw. With two outs and two on, A-Z pitcher Kenny Brose settled in and delivered to Robbie Porter, who had already taken Brose deep earlier in the game. Porter topped the ball sending a weak grounder back to Brose who threw him out at first, ending the game.
Brose went all six innings, allowed five earned runs, struck out three and walked two.
Leading A-Z at the plate was league RBI leader Chad Garvey (19) with two hits and two RBIs, Rob Waldman added two hits, including a triple and two runs scored, and Ray Thompson came through with a two-run single in the fifth.
For the All-Stars, Pereira reached all four times he batted with two singles and two walks, Porter had a two-run home run, Josh VanMatre added two hits and Tyler Phillips notched two hits and an RBI.
A-Z will get a week before they take on Event Helper at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Park.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.