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Savanna beats Anaheim, stays in first place in league
ANAHEIM — Savanna pitcher George Avina, as he often has this season, took matters into his own hands Friday afternoon. The junior righty threw six shutout innings, the first five without allowing a hit as he pounded the zone with his curveball.
It was a great start but not enough for the Rebels in their bout with rival Anaheim. Good thing Avina doesn't need a designated hitter.
The junior's two-run single capped a four-run fifth inning as host Savanna knocked off Anaheim, 4-0, to remain in first place in the Orange League.
Three days after teammate Ryan Hartman threw a two-hit shutout against Anaheim, Avina nearly matched his effort by allowing just two singles and striking out seven. He also had two of the Rebels' five hits.
"Every game he goes out there, he competes," said Savanna assistant coach Steve Little, filling in as head coach Rick Parmenter missed the game to tend to a personal matter. "He'll do whatever you ask. To know that our pitcher's going to give us a chance to win the game is a humongous difference for us."
Savanna (18-5, 9-2) is streaking again, winning its past four games after losing five of seven. That was after opening the season with 12 consecutive wins. Two weeks ago league foe Katella took a pair of games from the Rebels, tying them for first place in the process. The defending league champion Rebels seemed more focused than festive after sweeping a pair from Anaheim.
"We know how quickly it can change," Little said. "We've experienced the ups and downs this season. We're still a work in progress."
Anaheim starter Goliath Gaddy cruised through four innings, but allowed three hits and was the victim of two errors during the Rebels' four-run outburst in the fifth. The Colonists (11-13, 6-5), once alone in first place, have lost four in a row and are now tied with Century for the league's third playoff bid.
"When you play good teams and give them more than three outs in an inning, it's tough to overcome," Colonists coach Dave Torres said. "Sometimes when we struggle, it snowballs. You have to be real strong mentally and be able to bounce back after a bad day. We have to learn how to handle the success and handle the adversity we've had."