AVON, July 22 – Three Avon pitchers combined to limit Tri-Country to just four hits and struck out five to earn a 4-2 victory in the single elimination, play-in round of the 2012 American Legion state tournament Sunday at Avon Old Farms.
Avon (20-8) can earn a spot in the 16-team, double-elimination portion of the tournament for the second year in a row if they beat Middletown (19-6) on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Palmer Field in Middletown. Middletown finished second in Zone 3.
Noah Hahn, Matt Koenig and Michael Castellani each pitched three innings for Avon. Hahn gave up four hits but Post 201 had a 3-2 lead after three innings. Koenig didn’t allow a hit in his three inning stint and Castellani didn’t allow a hit and struck out four.
“I thought our pitching was outstanding,” Avon coach Brian Doyle said. “When we were winning games earlier this season, we were getting great pitching and taking advantage of (opponent’s) miscues. Our pitching hasn’t been bad (recently).”
Avon won just four of its last nine Zone 1 contests. In its final three losses of the regular season, they scored just one run. “We didn’t hit bombs today but we got some hits,” Avon second baseman Connor Doyle said. Avon had 10 hits.
Avon took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a RBI single from Nicholas Sanderson. Tri-Country, made up players from Andover, Hebron, Lebanon and Marlborough, took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a pair of doubles and a single. But from that point, Tri-County never had a runner reach second base.
Avon quickly responded. Connor Doyle opened the inning with a single, followed by Matt Koenig with another single. Doyle scored on a groundout to tie the score. After another single from Cody Doyle, Koenig scored on a sacrifice fly from Ben Lombard.
Avon added an insurance run in the seventh. Koenig singled, moved to third base on a pair of ground ball outs and scored on an error for a 4-2 lead.Avon 4, Tri-County 2 At Avon Tri-County (16-10) 002 000 000 — 2-4-2 Avon (20-8) 012 000 10x — 4-10-0 Salois and Fontanella; Hahn, Koenig (4), Castellani (7) and Cody Doyle; 2B: LaPointice (T), Starr (T)