It looks like the Zone 1 championship in American Legion baseball this summer will come down to either Avon or Simsbury.
Avon, which won its first-ever Zone 1 championship a year ago, leads the zone with a 17-3 record with four games remaining. Three of the games are against Simsbury, which is second in the zone with a 13-4 record. Post 84 has six games left.
Avon and Simsbury will square off in a three-game series on Sunday and Monday at Memorial Field in Simsbury. On Sunday, the two teams will complete the game that was suspended on June 25 in the seventh inning tied 7-7. That game will begin at 5:30 p.m. to be followed immediately by a second game.
On Monday, Avon and Simsbury will complete the third game of the season between the two teams beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Field.
Avon clinched a berth in the American Legion state tournament for the sixth consecutive season on Thursday night with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Southington at Avon Old Farms.
Connor McCutcheon drove in both runs with a two-RBI double. Cody Doyle went the first three innings, Connor Dunn pitched three innings to pick up the win and Michael Castellani earned the save.
Post 201 has won six of its last seven games. Its only loss in that stretch was a 4-3 loss in 11 innings to Wolcott on Sunday. Avon blanked Torrington, 7-0 on Tuesday night and earned an impressive 4-2 victory over Bristol on Wednesday at Muzzy Field, sweeping the three-game season series from Post 2 for the second time in team history.
Avon took a 2-0 lead over Bristol in the first inning. The first run came on a double steal when Matt Williamson stole second base and Nick Sanderson stole home. Williamson made it 2-0, scoring on a sacrifice fly from Doyle.
Bristol scored one run in the second inning on Greg Lozier’s RBI single and tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth when Jake Colello singled, stole second base and scored on a RBI single from Troy Micale.
Avon moved ahead in the sixth. Post 201 received back-to-back singles from Ben Suski and Dunn. A throwing error by a Bristol outfielder allowed both runners to move to second and third base, respectively. Suski scored on an error by Bristol’s second baseman to give Avon the one-run lead. Post 201 added an insurance run in the seventh on two singles and a stolen base.
Matt Boone was sharp over four innings, giving up two hits and scattering six hits. Dunn pitched an inning to pick up the victory while Castellani struck out two and pitched 1 2/3 innings to pick up the save. Williamson had two hits for Avon along with Ben Lombard, who also had two stolen bases.
Simsbury (16-5, 13-4 Zone 1) has played well down the stretch. Post 84 has won five of its last six games including a 11-4 and 17-1 rout over Torrington and a 6-0 win over Winsted with Gunner Koff striking out four and scattering four hits to lead Simsbury.
On Wednesday night, Southington’s Joel Daigle allowed just four hits in a 3-1 win over Simsbury despite two hits from Andrew Girard. Simsbury bounced back on Thursday night with a 13-5 win over Terryville. Chris VandeBogart (Canton) was 3-for-5 in the victory while Andrew Girard had two hits and four RBI for Post 84.
Avon is looking for its second straight Zone 1 championship and a bye into the double elimination phase of the American Legion state tournament. The eight zone champions will play three other teams in the Northern and Southern Sectional tournaments.
The top five teams in each zone qualify for the state tournament. Teams that finish second through fourth place will play in the single elimination phase of the tournament, looking to earn one of three berths in the Northern or Southern Sectional tournaments.
Simsbury is seeking its first Zone 1 championship since 2008 when they went 23-1 in the zone. Post 84 has won six Zone 1 championships.
Zone 1 is part of the Northern Section, which hosts its tournament at Muzzy Field in Bristol.
The winner of the Northern and Southern Section tournaments play in Stamford in a best-of-3 series for the state championship on August 1-2. The Northeast Regional tournament will be held in Middletown this summer.