AVON, April 6 – In the past few years, there has been some good baseball played in Avon.
A year ago, the Avon High baseball team finished the regular season — its first year in the Central Connecticut Conference — on a five-game losing streak and having lost seven of their final eight games.
But the Falcons had enough talent and confidence to advance to the semifinals in a CIAC baseball tournament for the first time since 1968.
A few weeks later, many of those same Falcons played on the Avon American Legion baseball team that won a Zone 1 championship and won a pair of state tournament games.
Avon High brings back an experienced team this spring as the Falcons kick off the 2017 campaign next Tuesday against Windsor High in Florida in Orlando, Florida at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex – the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.
Third-year coach Jon Yolles is looking forward to the warm weather. Up to this point, the Falcons have been outside just three times. Avon will play against Windsor on Tuesday but they will also take part in several clinics, including a speed and agility clinic, a leadership course and some scrimmages.
“We have a good nucleus of kids,” Yolles said.
Yolles hasn’t settle on a lineup yet but there is no shortage of baseball experience. Seniors Justin Olson, Kyle Emery, Chris Jacobs and Jeremy Zarawanski each played on the high school and American Legion squads.
Olson, who will be pitching for Trinity College next spring, was 6-1 for the high school and 4-3 in Legion ball. Emery was 6-1 in Legion ball, starting and in relief. Zarwanski spent the majority of the spring and summer behind the plate.
Juniors Connor Harris, Ryan Ollestad and Jack Stokesbury played on the high school and American Legion teams. Harris went 6-2 on the Legion team. Will Boone played well for the high school squad last spring.
Yolles said team chemistry is huge. “There is unity,” he said. “They’re all friends. They all hang out together on and off the field. We’ve had a blast.”
A year ago, Avon was 10-10 overall and 4-4 in the CCC Central White Division. Again, the schedule will challenge Avon with contests against larger Central Region opponents such as Glastonbury, Southington, Simsbury and a pair of games with arch-rival Farmington.
After three wins in the Class L tournament, Avon finished with a 13-11 record.
“We played a tough schedule last year and we’ll do that again this year,” Yolles said. “The tougher the schedule, the most prepared we will be the tournament. A hard schedule helps us in the (state) tournament.”
Avon will also get a chance to play at the new ballpark in Hartford. They’ll face Bulkeley/Weaver at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, at Dunkin Donuts Stadium, home of the Hartford Yard Goats.
APRIL: 11 vs. Windsor at Orlando, Fla., 8:30 p.m.; 17, WETHERFIELD; 19, RHAM; 20, at Hall; 21, at Conard; 24, PLAINVILLE, 27, vs. Bulkeley/Weaver at Dunkin Donuts Park, 4; 29, at Enfield, 2 p.m.
MAY: 1, FARMINGTON; 3, at NW Catholic; 5, GLASTONBURY; 8, at Rocky Hill; 10: GRANBY, 4 p.m.; 11. ROCKVILLE; 15. At Simsbury (Memorial Field), 7 p.m.; 17, WINDSOR; 19: at Maloney; 22: at Farmington (Tunxis Meade), 6; 23: At Southington
All games at 3:45 p.m. unless otherwise listed