By GERRY deSIMAS, JR.
Connecticut Sports Online
TORRINGTON, July 14 – It was tough to stop the Avon Little League baseball team (ages 11-12) in the District 6 tournament. Throughout the tournament, Avon received contributions from several players to earn a spot in the finals for the fourth straight year.
“We have a real deep team and everyone contributes,” Avon manager Rick Griffin said. “Whatever is needed, they get done.”
Pitcher Brandon Moss had been used as a closer in five previous tournament games. But in the championship game against previously undefeated Thomaston, Moss hurled a complete game shutout striking out 10 and allowing just three hits as Avon rolled to an 8-0 victory and its third District 6 title in four years.
The win lifts Avon into the Section II state tournament in Newington, which began on Wednesday. Avon has tournament games scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Avon (5-1) received three 2-run home runs to spark the victory. Third baseman Jordan Whalen hit a pair of two-run homers while catcher Cody Doyle added some insurance in the fifth inning with a two-run home run of his own.
Doyle finished with three hits and three RBI while outfielder Conor Larsen had two singles.
“The kids are starting to get into the zone and it’s definitely a good thing to see,” said Griffin, who was doused seconds later by his players with a celebratory jug of ice water.
Moss struck out the first seven batters he faced. After Larsen was hit in the helmet by Thomaston hurler Joseph Foschini to lead off the fourth inning, Whalen belted his first home run of the tournament over the right field fence to give Avon a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth, Mitch Cappello walked before Doyle belted a home run to right/center field for a 4-0 lead. With two outs, Larsen singled and Whalen followed with his second two-run home run of the game, this time to left/center field.
In the sixth inning, an RBI single from William DiStefano and an RBI single from Doyle capped off the scoring for Avon.
Avon won its first three D6 tournament games by a combined score of 29-4 before stumbling in a loss to Simsbury National. But Avon’s 5-1 win over Simsbury American lifted Avon into the D6 semifinals where they eliminated Burlington, 4-1. DiStefano and Doyle had home runs against Burlington.
“I was impressed how the kids bounced back in the semifinal,” Griffin said.
Avon previously won the D6 title in 2004 and 2005. They lost in the championship game a year ago to Simsbury Nationals, 4-3. Avon also captured District 6 titles in 1991 and 1993.
Thomaston (5-1) was seeking to win its first district championship since they won their only title in 1986. Until facing Avon, they had shown the ability to hit the long ball.
Ryan Hurlbert hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to beat Simsbury National, 7-5 while teammate Gary Pickett had a two-run home run as Thomaston rallied from a four-run deficit to beat East Granby, 6-4. Hurlbert had a two-run home run in a 10-2 semifinal win over Torrington American. Foschini threw only 77 pitches in a 3-1 complete game victory over Tri-Town.
Avon Major Division (ages 11-12) roster: Ryan Marioni, Cody Doyle, Brandon Moss, Connor Larson, Jordan Whalen, Matt Griffin, Sam Ravech, William DiStefano, Matt Mascoli, Jacob Florcheimer, Michael Castellani, Bobby Zaino, Mitch Cappello. Manager – Rick Griffin; Coaches – Paul Marioni and Brian Doyle
BASEBALL, ages 9-10: Taking advantage of two errors in the third inning to score four unearned runs, Avon completed a six-game sweep in the District 6 tournament with a 9-0 win over Burlington in the championship game.
The victory allows Avon to move to the Section II state tournament for the first time since 2001.
Avon (6-0) led by one run before breaking the game open in the third inning. Burlington hurlers Anthony Maselli and John Arel limited Avon to just two hits through the first four innings.
Avon added four more runs in the fifth to take a 9-0 lead. Chris Moss had a RBI sacrifice fly to centerfield, John Burdick ripped a two-RBI double and Patrick Albanesi added an RBI double. Burdick was the only Avon players with two hits.
Avon earned a spot in the D6 finals with a 9-1 win over Granby in the semifinals. In the tournament, Avon outscored its opponents by a 59-9 margin. Five players had hits in the game for Burlington, led by Dan Kryzanski with a double in the sixth inning.
Avon age 9-10 roster: Patrick Albanesi, Alex Mangome, Patrick McKearney, Stephen Griffin, Ben Suski, Kevin Rosato, Chris Moss, Connor Dunn, John Burdick, Chris Dumais, Tyler Scalise, Jordan Levine, Dylan Marquis. Manager – T.J. O’Connor; Coaches – Walt Suski and Steve Green
SOFTBALL: Avon’s Little League softball (ages 11-12) team went 0-4 in the District 6 tournament while the 9-10 division team went 1-3.
2007 State Tournament
Tuesday, July 17
Newington National (D7) 5, Avon 0
Wednesday, July 18
Ellington (D8) 2,
Avon 1 (7)
Friday, July 20
Avon 11, Madison American (D9) 5
Saturday, July 21
Avon 6, New London American (D10) 1
Sunday, July 22
Avon (D6) 5,
Brooklyn (D11) 4
District 6 titles
1994: Torrington American def. Avon
2002: Simsbury American 1, Avon 0
2004: Avon 8,
Simsbury American 2
2005: Avon 15, Simsbury National 5 (4)
2006: Simsbury National 4, Avon 3
2007: Avon 8, Thomaston 0
State tourney appearances
Norwich American 3
Avon 9, Vernon 4
East Hartford Eastern 5, Avon 4
Semifinal: Clinton def. Avon
South Windsor 12,
Clinton 9, Avon 0
Glastonbury American 1
Avon 3, East Lyme 2
Avon 10, Tolland 1
Haddam Killingworth 0
Killingly 7, Avon 4
Section II final: Killingly 3, Avon 0
Avon 11, Thompson 1
Avon 1, Coginchaug 0
Waterford North 6,
Vernon 4, Avon 3
Glastonbury National 6, Avon 5