Bulldogs, All Star Auto battle for fastpitch title Thursday
The culmination of the Nevada County Fastpitch Softball season will take place tonight at Les Eva field in Memorial Park.
The top-seeded Bulldogs are set to square off against All Star Auto with the winner being crowned the 2015 champions.
Both teams have blazed dominant trails to the final game, behind strong defense and hot hitting.
Aside from the ace pitching of Bobby Alvara, the Bulldogs strongest asset this season has by far been their hitting. The entire lineup has hit well during the playoffs, highlighted by big hitters like Justin Deme and Jarett Roenicke, both of whom were responsible for huge home runs in the Bulldogs semifinal victory against the Les Eva’s All-Stars.
“Everyone on this team can hit, one through 10, there isn’t a single guy on this team I don’t trust at the end of the game,” said Deme of the team’s hitters.
In a classic case of offense versus defense, the All Star Auto team has relied heavily on pitcher Mike Milligan’s arm and tight defense from the infield to get them through to the championship. In both the quarterfinal and semifinal games, All Star Auto and Milligan have allowed just one run to the opposition.
Milligan’s dominant pitching has loomed heavily in the minds of the Bulldogs in the lead up to the game.
“We’re the best hitting team in the league,” said Roenicke following his team’s semifinal win, but added, “They (All Star Auto) have probably the best pitcher in the league.”
However, it isn’t only the Bulldogs who boast strong hitters. The All Star Auto squad, despite being a brand new team to the league, has sluggers to match the Bulldogs. Kyler Caldwell (.583 BA, 14 RBI), Daryl Allen (.542 BA, 12 RBI) and Justin Nicholson (.516 BA, 18 RBI, 5 HR) match up comparably to the Bulldogs trio of Deme (.561 BA, 22 RBI, 9 HR), Russell Bracket (.564 BA, 13 RBI) and Roenicke, who despite posting a .433 batting average during the regular season, has caught fire in the playoffs.
Both teams have shown they can last in a stalemate, slug-it-out style game, with both groups surging in the later innings in their postseason clashes.
All-Star Auto, who has found success in their first year in the league, looked as organized and put together as any crew during their 8-1 semifinal victory against the Oroville Dirtbags.
The Bulldogs do have experience on their side, as this team has played together for many years. Several Bulldog players pointed to this fact for their late game surges.
“We never panic, we all know, we’ve played together for so long that we know it’s only a matter of time before we are going to get going,” said the Bulldog’s Jeff Nye, who also hit a home run in the team’s semifinal game.
The championship game will be played at 7 p.m. tonight at Les Eva Field at Memorial Park. Admission is free.
Kael Newton, a journalism student at the University of Oregon, is interning with The Union; he can be reached at NCPCIntern@theunion.com.
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