FASTPITCH SOFTBALL: All Star Automotive earns 7th at World Series | TheUnion.com

FASTPITCH SOFTBALL: All Star Automotive earns 7th at World Series

All Star Automotive went 3-2 overall and finished tied for seventh at the North American Fastpitch Association World Series Tournament in North Dakota last week. Back row from left: Alec Jiron, Bobby Alvara, Russ Newnan, Toby Thompson, Justin Deme and Justin Nicholson. Front row from left: Adam Custer, Dustin Thompson, Mike Milligan, Darrel Smeltzley, Wes Cross and Kody Kencke.

All Star Automotive made the more than 1,500 mile trek to North Dakota last week to take on some of the best competition the nation has to offer at the North American Fastpitch Association World Series.

Competing among more than 30 other teams in the A Division, All Star Auto went 3-2 overall and finished the annual tourney in a tie for seventh place.

"I'm real proud of the guys," said All Star Auto pitcher Bobby Alvara. "We never gave up. Every game we stayed in there till the last inning, battling it out. I'm just super proud of the guys. We went out there and left it all on the field."

The Grass Valley based team that bears the name of its sponsor opened the tourney with a thrilling, 2-1, extra-inning victory over Orien Masonry Services (Indiana) on Thursday.

All Star Auto's second baseman Dustin Thompson scored the game-winning run in the 10th inning and led the team from the plate with a double and two walks.

Alvara tossed all 10 innings, allowing just one run and striking out 10 to earn the victory.

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All Star Auto's first loss of the tourney came on Friday when it fell, 3-2, to the Fargo Knights (North Dakota).

Justin Deme led All Star Auto from the plate with two hits, including a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning that briefly gave his team the lead.

The squad rebounded nicely from the loss with a 6-1 victory over Deluth FP (Minnesota) in game three of the tourney.

Deme continued his strong tourney with a home run, a double and three RBIs in that win. Shortstop Kody Kencke added two hits, including a triple. Third baseman Justin Nicholson and first baseman Russ Newnan chipped in with an RBI each.

All Star Auto also won game four, topping South Dakota's Crow Bar, 8-0.

Newnan led the way against Crow Bar, notching a home run, a double and three RBIs. Nicholson also had a double and three RBIs.

Mike Milligan earned the win from the circle, throwing a one-hit shutout for All Star Auto.

"(Milligan) threw really well," said Alvara. "His down ball and knuckle ball were just ridiculous. They couldn't touch it."

All Star Auto was eliminated in its final game Saturday, falling 4-1 to Northern O Selects (Ontario, Canada).

Leading All Star Auto across the tourney was Deme, who went 6-for-13 from the plate with two doubles, a home run and a team-high five RBIs. Newnan and Nicholson both tallied four RBIs in the tourney. Kencke finished with six hits and five runs scored. And, Toby Thompson tallied five hits and four walks.

From the circle, Alvara went 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched. Milligan finished 1-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.

As a team, All Star Auto allowed just nine runs across five games, but struggled to score at times and tallied just 19 runs in the tourney.

"We struggled with the bats a little bit," said Alvara. "We had people on all the time, but we just couldn't get that big hit."

All Star Auto entered the tourney in North Dakota on the heels of three straight tourney championships, which included titles at the Trees in Sonora tourney, the President Hoover Memorial Day Fastpitch Softball Tournament (Newberg, Oregon), and the Seattle Invitational.

The So Cal Knights from Southern California won the NAFA'S A Division World Series Championship after going 7-0.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com. All stats and scores provided by http://www.playnafa.org.

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