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Six-run burst pushes Simsbury into D6 softball title game with Avon

Simsbury catcher Grace Hare tags out Avon's Natalie Noland in Sunday's District 6 tournament game in Simsbury.

Simsbury catcher Grace Hare tags out Avon’s Natalie Noland in Sunday’s District 6 tournament game in Simsbury.

SIMSBURY, June 30 – Simsbury’s Major Division softball All-Star team used a six-run burst in the fifth inning to break open a one-run ballgame and move within one victory of its sixth District 6 championship Sunday night with a 9-4 victory over Avon at Memorial Field.

Simsbury (6-1) faces Avon (5-2) on Monday night beginning at 6 p.m. for the D6 championship and a berth into the Section II state tournament. Simsbury is looking for its second D6 title in three years having won its most recent championship in 2011.

Avon is seeking its first-ever District 6 championship, having qualified for the double elimination portion of the tournament for the second year in a row. Players in the Major Division tournaments are 11 or 12 years old.

Avon went 3-1 in the four-game round robin portion of the tournament. In the double elimination playoffs, Avon beat Granby, 8-7 and handed Simsbury its only loss so far this summer with a 7-6 victory, scoring five runs in the sixth to erase a two-run deficit.

Simsbury earned a spot in the championship round with Avon thanks a no-hitter from Emma Banulski in a 8-0 shutout win over Granby on Saturday night. Banulski struck out 10 in the victory.

So, Avon needed a win on Sunday to secure its first D6 title. Simsbury led 2-0 before Avon cut the lead to one on a RBI double from Paige Noland in the third inning. In the fourth, Avon tied the game at 2-2 when Jordan Blackington reached on an error and scored on a two-out single from Kayla Bucci.

Simsbury took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Erin Choi reached on an error, moved to third on a single from Brooke Witkin and scored on a RBI single from Kareena Geno.

Geno had a tremendous game at the plate with four singles and two RBI.

In the fifth, Avon took a 4-3 lead. Aimee Carrier got her second single of the game and moved to second on a fielder’s choice by Noland. Carrier scored on an error and Noland scored on a RBI single from Jill Haworth.

But Simsbury was too much in the fifth for Avon to take a 9-4 lead. Simsbury ripped off six runs on five hits. Two errors, a wild pitch, a passed ball and a hitter struck by a pitch helped the Simsbury rally.

Kerry Laveride, Choi and Geno each had RBI singles in the inning for Simsbury. Megan Stepka added a sacrifice fly for another RBI.

In the top of the sixth inning, Simsbury threw out an Avon runner trying to score from second base on a base hit.

“They have been playing absolutely fabulous,” Simsbury manager Dom Statile said. “They’re pitching great. They’re playing good defense and they’re hitting the ball well.”

Banulski, LaVerde, Choi and Witkin each had two hits for Simsbury. On the mound, Erin Jennings went the distance, scattering eight hits and striking out six to earn the victory.

For Avon, Carrier and Bucci each had two singles. 

Simsbury 9, Avon 4
At Simsbury
Avon (5-2)            001  120 – 4-8-3
Simsbury (6-1)     110   16x – 9-13-2
WP: Erin Jennings; LP: Jillian Haworth; 2B: Paige Noland (A); 3B: none; HR: none 

2013 District 6 Major Division softball tournament
Round-robin portion (4 games each)
Simsbury 11, Tri-Town 1
Simsbury 12, Burlington 2
Simsbury 20, Thomaston 5
Simsbury 4, Avon 3
Granby 10, Thomaston 0
Granby 16, Tri-Town 0
Granby 17, Canton 2
Granby 8, Torrington 2
Avon 13, Canton 3
Avon 13, Torrington 3
Avon 8, Tri-Town 4
Burlington 16, Torrington 4
Burlington 19, Thomaston 7
Canton 12, Burlington 4
Torrington 15, Thomaston 7
Tri-Town 6, Canton 4
Standings: Simsbury 4-0, Granby 4-0, Avon 3-1, Burlington 2-2, Torrington 1-3, Canton 1-3, Tri-Town 1-3, Thomaston 0-4 

Double elimination playoffs
Avon 7, Simsbury 6
Avon 8, Granby 7
Simsbury 8, Granby 0
Simsbury 9, Avon 4
Monday, July 1
Simsbury vs. Avon, 6 p.m. at Simsbury


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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