By: Clinton Cole
PALM SPRINGS, CA — Alex Mistuloff (Chico State) was brilliant yet again for the POWER, tossing seven shutout innings to catapult the POWER to a 10-1 triumph over the Long Beach Legends in game one of the So-Cal World Series Wednesday night at Palm Springs Stadium.
The righty from Chico State did not allow a lead-off batter to reach base and struck out six over his seven innings of work.
“It was all my fastball in the beginning,” Mistuloff said. “Towards the end of the game, I was able to locate my off-speed pitches and that really helped me.”
One of the issues that plagued the POWER throughout most of the season was the inability to drive in runs with two outs and to execute with small-ball.
Ino Patron (Long Beach State) began the reversal of fortunes with a two-out, RBI double in the bottom of the first to put the POWER on top 1-0.
POWER first baseman Hunter Bening (Northwest Florida State) led off the fourth with a single which brought Zach Sterry (Oakland) to the plate. Sterry laid down a perfect bunt and reached with an infield single. Nick King (Georgia) followed suit laying down a perfect bunt of his own to advance the runners to second and third for Charlie Madden (Mercer). Madden drove in both runners with a line shot up the middle and put the POWER ahead 3-0 going into the fifth inning.
Long Beach did not do themselves any favors from the sixth inning on as the POWER scored their final seven runs with help from several defensive miscues.
An error by Legends centerfielder Daniel Pitts allowed one run to score after dropping a routine fly ball. Not only did a run score, but it extended the inning to Ryne Clark, who drove in a run of his own to put the home team up by five.
Legends Shortstop Mike Thomas’ error on a ground ball with two outs allowed three more POWER runs to score, ultimately putting things out of reach.
Mistuloff improved to 6-0 on the summer season and was quite confident of his team’s chance to sweep the series Friday night with Brooks Kriske (USC) on the mound.
“With the way we (POWER) are swinging the bats and Kriske on the mound, I feel good about our chances on Friday,” added Mistuloff.
Kriske has been equally dominant this season with a 6-0 record and 1.88 ERA.
Palm Springs will go for their third-straight So-Cal World Series crown on Friday night in game two of the best-of-three series with the Legends.