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Avon U-15 Legion rallies to beat Middletown, earns spot in Northern Division final

AVON, July 31 – Noah Gordon’s infield single in the bottom of the seventh inning drove in the winning run to lead the Avon 15-and-under American Legion baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Middletown in the Connecticut American Legion Prep Division state tournament Tuesday night at Buckingham Field.

The victory puts Avon in the Northern Division finals against Ellington (24-4) on Thursday. Post 201 will have to beat Ellington twice to advance to Sunday’s state championship game.

Middletown (20-15) took a one-run lead in the top of the seventh inning thanks to three consecutive walks and a wild pitch.

But Avon (16-8) rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning for their sixth win in the last nine games.

With one out, Emmett Borenstein reached base thanks to an error – Middletown’s only error of the game.

Nicholas Amatullo singled to center field and Dylan Love loaded the bases with a single to right field. Avon’s Cole Baran coaxed a walk off Middletown reliever Colin Loria to tie the game at 4-4. Gordon followed with a hard line drive past the second baseman to drive in Amatullo from third base and win the game.

Borenstein was 2-for-4 for Avon while Amatulli was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Love, Baran and Tyler Nyberg also had singles for Post 201.

Avon pitchers Matt Leopold and Tyler Nyberg gave up just three hits but they walked eight Middletown batters.

Amatullo gave Avon a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run double to center field. Middletown tied the game in the third inning on a bases-loaded walk and a RBI single from John Fox.

Middletown took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on a RBI double from Michael Garafalo but Avon tied it in the bottom of the fifth inning, 3-3, on a sacrifice fly from Love.

It was the sixth meeting of the season between the two teams. Avon won both meetings in the state tournament. The two teams tied for first place in Zone C with 13-7 records but Avon won the championship on a tiebreaker.

Avon 5, Middletown 4
At Avon
Middletown (20-15)            002  010  1 – 4-3-1
Avon (16-8)                          200  010  2 — 5-9-5
Michael Garafalo, Jacob Kucharski (6), Colin Loria (7) and unknown; Matt Leopold, Tyler Nyberg (6) and Emmett Borestein; WP: Nyberg; LP: Loria; 2B: Michael Garafalo (M), Nicholas Amatulli (A)

2018 American Legion baseball
State tournament
Prep Division (Age 15 and under)

Northern Division
Friday, July 27
Middletown 12, RCP 6
Avon 5, Manchester 0
West Hartford 13, Windsor Locks 1
Ellington 9, Tolland 6

Saturday, July 28
Avon 4, Middletown 0
Ellington 11, West Hartford 8
RCP 5, Manchester 0, Manchester eliminated
Tolland 7, Windsor Locks 4, Windsor Locks eliminated

Sunday, July 29
Ellington 11, Avon 0
RCP 5, West Hartford 4, West Hartford eliminated
Middletown 8, Tolland 5, Tolland eliminated

Tuesday, July 31
Avon 5, Middletown 4, Middletown eliminated
Ellington 13, RCP 1, RCP eliminated

Thursday, August 2
Avon at Ellington, 2 p.m.
Avon at Ellington, 5 p.m., if necessary

Sunday, August 5
At Ceppa Field, Meriden
State championship
Northern Division champion vs. Southern Division champion, 4 p.m.

Southern Division
Friday, July 27
Ridgefield 5, North Haven 4
Wallingford 6, Glastonbury 3
Branford 10, Meriden 6
Stamford 10, Newington 0

Saturday, July 28
Ridgefield 4, Wallingford 2
Stamford 6, Branford 4
North Haven 5, Glastonbury 3, Glastonbury eliminated
Meriden 10, Newington 0, Newington eliminated

Sunday, July 29
Stamford 3, Ridgefield 0
North Haven 10, Branford 4, Branford eliminated
Meriden 6, Wallingford 3, Wallingford eliminated

Tuesday’s games
Stamford 2, North Haven 0, North Haven eliminated
Meriden 6, Ridgefield 3, Ridgefield eliminated

Thursday, August 2
Meriden at Stamford
Meriden at Stamford, if necessary

2018 Zone C standings
American Legion Prep (ages 15 and under)
x-Avon                                  13-7
Middletown                         13-7
West Hartford                     12-7
RCP                                       11-9
Newington                           7-11
Wolcott                                2-17
x-won Zone C title, tiebreaker

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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