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Simsbury blanks Avon to capture Zone 1 North championship

Simsbury American Legion player Tate Valerio had a RBI single and a sacrifice fly to help Post 84 win the Zone 1 Northern Division title Wednesday.

SIMSBURY, July 17 – Errors have haunted the Avon American Legion baseball team all summer long. The final game of the regular season was no different. Post 201 committed three errors that allowed six unearned runs to score as Simsbury captured the Zone 1 North championship with a 7-0 victory.

It is Simsbury’s first Zone 1 pennant since 2015. Simsbury (19-7, 18-6 Zone 1 North) and Bristol (20-7, 18-6 Zone 1 North) actually tied for first place but Simsbury gets to bring home the championship because they won two of three games between the two teams this summer.

Bristol made Simsbury earn it. Post 2 won their final three games – all against Avon – forcing Simsbury to win three of their final four games to bring home the title.

Simsbury and Bristol have both qualified to play in the upcoming American Legion state tournament that begins on Saturday. But the zone champions get home field advantage through the first round of the tournament.

“We’re young. We’re super young,” first-year Avon American Legion coach Eric Welles said on Saturday after a five-run loss to Simsbury. “That’s been the theme all year for us. We’re trying to learn how to play at this level. Some days are better than others. We’re trying to eliminate the mistakes.”

Three errors didn’t help Post 201. But Simsbury’s starting pitcher Conner DiAngelo didn’t open any doors that Avon could have walked through. DiAngelo, the East Granby resident who saw limited action with the University of Scranton baseball team this spring, went the distance, allowing just three hits and striking out nine to improve to 4-1 this summer with Simsbury.

Simsbury took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Sam Attianese led off the game with a single to center field. He moved to third when DiAngelo reached on an error. DiAngelo scored on Tate Valerio’s sacrifice fly to center field.

Post 84 broke open the contest in the sixth inning. Blake Chapman led off the inning with a walk and moved to second when Attianese was hit by a pitch. DiAngelo popped to shortstop for one out and then Chapman stole third base.

Valerio’s RBI single drove in Chapman for a 2-0 lead. Kyle Desjardins walked to load the bases. Jonathan Wilson grounded to third baseman Jake Coppen who threw home for the force out.

Avon was almost out of the inning, down just two runs with two outs. But when an outfielder dropped a fly ball from Brandyn Garcia, three runs scored for a 5-0 lead. A sixth run scored on a third error.

Coppen, Matt Leopold and Miles Borenstein each had hits for Avon, which finished the year 6-22 overall and 6-18 in Zone 1. Post 201 dropped their last nine games of the season.

For Simsbury, Attianese, Valerio, Desjardins, Nate Orluk and Chapman each had hits. Valerio drove in two runs and Attianese stole two bases.

NOTE: The state committee of the American Legion restructured the zones before the season began creating two divisions in each zone. It will be the first time in Zone 1 history that there will be two divisional champions. Zone 1 had two divisions in the early 1990s but the two divisional winners played for the zone championship. … This was Simsbury’s ninth zone championship since 1960. Post 84 brought home the Zone 1 championship in 2015, 2014, 2008, 2003, 1995, 1991, 1987 and 1981. … Avon had won the last three Zone 1 championships.

Simsbury 7, Avon 0
At Simsbury
Avon (6-21)                            000  000  0  — 0-3-3
Simsbury (19-7)                    100  060  x  — 7-6-0
Millan Jain, Miles Borenstein (4), Connor Galliher (5), Matt Leopold (5) and Emmett Borenstein; Conner DiAngelo and Christian Fagnant; WP: DiAngelo (4-1); LP: Jain (0-5); 2B: none; 3B: none; HR: None 

2019 Zone 1 standings, final

Northern Division Zone Overall
x-Simsbury 18-6 19-7
y-Bristol 18-6 20-7
Winsted 12-12 12-12
Avon 6-18 6-21
Southern Division Zone Overall
x-Southington 17-7 18-7
y-West Hartford 15-9 16-10
y-Berlin 13-11 13-11
Newington 9-15 9-16
Hartford 0-24 0-24

x- won division title; y-clinched state tournament berth. Two division champions qualify along with three wild cards.
Tuesday’s games
Bristol 3, Avon 0
Berlin 4, West Hartford 3
Wednesday’s game
Simsbury 7, Avon 0
West Hartford 1, Hartford 0, forfeit

 

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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