D12 takes ASA "D" Nevada State
By Ermano Siri
SPARKS, NV - D12 put it all together July 10, going 4-0 at the Don Mello Complex, to take the men's D ASA State Slow Pitch Tournament championship. The Sparks team defeated Hardway of Carson City, NV, 17-10, in the title game. The champions scored 11 runs in the top of the first inning, and were never threatened. As a matter of fact, that was the story all day long for the team, beating Diligaf, 18-6, Hardway in the teams' first meeting, 15-3, and BSD, which took third, 18-6, on its way to the title.
Even with such an early deficit, Hardway seemingly never gave up. By the end of the second inning, it had cut the lead in half, 12-6. But even though Hardway kept chipping away at the lead, D12 kept the pressure on. By the middle of the fourth, it had rebuilt a fairly comfortable 15-6 advantage. Right to the very end, though, Hardway kept trying to come back. In the bottom of the seventh, it had the bases loaded with two outs, buttrailing 17-8, could manage to score only twice more.
In the winner's bracket final, D12 jumped out to a 6-1 lead by the end of the second inning against BSD of Gardnerville, NV. The eventual champions were on their way to building on that lead, but a nicely turned infield double play by BSD ended the surge. In its very next at-bat, BSD got its own rally going, but this time a D12 infield double play ended the threat, and left the score at 6-5, the closest BSD would come.
Hardway got revenge against the team that dropped it into the loser's bracket by eliminating BSD, 6-5, in the third-place game that displayed some good defense, and not much hitting, except for balls that, with the help of the ever-present afternoon winds, sailed over the out field fence of Mello's field 7 for long outs.
After a first-round loss to Nevada Fitness of Carson City, thought to be one of the teams to beat for the title, Finishing Touch of Reno took fourth, winning three in a row in the loser's bracket, including an 8-2 payback win that knocked Nevada Fitness out of the tournament.
Hardway posted a 5-2 overall record, and BSD went 2-2. Ten teams competed in the one-day tournament.
D12 placed Jason Carlson, Justin Norris, Chad Kendall, Marc Pea and Rich Mercer on the All-State team. Chad Watson, Kevin Rabe, Angel Olivera and Rich Diaz represented Hardway on the team. James Evans and Tim Davis of BSD, and Matt McHenry of Finishing Touch rounded out the squad.