Fastpitch softball: All Star Automotive cruises past Dirtbags, wins league title
A year after coming up just short in the 2015 championship, All Star Automotive didn’t let the 2016 title slip away.
Behind solid pitching and a big offensive first inning, All Star Automotive drove past the Oroville Dirtbags, 11-6, to earn the Nevada County Fastpitch Softball League’s American League championship Thursday night at Les Eva Field.
“It means a lot,” said All Star Automotive catcher Justin Nicholson after the game. “We got some guys that have never really played this before. It’s good to get these guys out here doing it, and we had guys like Wes (Mayfield) laying out to make plays, and that stuff is why we come out here. To see these guys play hard, and be excited about it after the game. They talk about about it all week. Me and Milli (Mike Milligan), we’ve been doing this for 20 years and it’s fun, but to see these guys go out and win one is great. These guys are champions and that’s cool.”
All Star Automotive didn’t waste any time putting runs on the board as they erupted in the first inning for 11 runs. Martin Savedra got things going with a line drive single. After a walk, Justin Nicholson ripped an RBI single. Donner Walters followed with an RBI single. Mayfield followed suit with an RBI single, Ryan Jenkins drew an RBI walk, Jeremy Boyes added an RBI single and Nick Ullom also had an RBI single to put All Star Automotive up 7-0, but they weren’t quite finished. Third baseman Daryl Allen capped the big inning by crushing a grand slam home run that soared high above the left field fence.
“We had a game plan to make them throw strikes,” said Nicholson. “We stuck to the game plan and made them throw strikes. We got (their starting pitcher) out of there and got their second pitcher, and she shut us down. She was really, really good.”
All Star Automotive tallied nine hits in the first inning, and finished the game with 10 total.
“Without that first inning we would have been in trouble, I’ll tell you what,” Nicholson said.
Oroville’s Birdie Birdsong, who came into the game with one out in the first inning, gave up the grand slam to Allen but was lights out after that. She allowed just one hit, no runs and struck out three the rest of the way.
The Dirtbags got on the board in the fourth inning with a two-run blast off the bat of Jake Fox. They would add two more runs in the fifth when Toby Thompson belted a two-run shot. The Dirtbags added another run in the sixth and were threatening with the bases loaded and one out, but All Star Automotive shortstop Kyler Caldwell fielded a grounder up the middle, stepped on second and fired to first for the inning-ending double play.
Oroville scored another in their final at bat, but a diving catch by Mayfield took the momentum away from the Dirtbags and All Star Automotive closed the game out shortly after.
Milligan earned the win from the circle for All Star Automotive, going seven innings, allowing six runs and striking out 10.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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