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Harris twirls one-hitter as Avon Legion remains alive with 6-1 win over Waterford

Pitcher Connor Harris allowed just one hit and struck out six as Avon remained alive in the state tournament with a 6-1 win over Waterford Sunday.

BRISTOL, July 23 – The Avon American Legion baseball team isn’t done yet.

Pitcher Connor Harris came within one strike of throwing a no-hitter and Post 201 had eight hits as Avon remained alive in the Connecticut state tournament with a 6-1 decision over Waterford in a Northern Division regional contest at Muzzy Field Sunday afternoon.

Two-time defending Zone 1 champion Avon (22-7) will face South Windsor in another elimination game on Monday night at 6 p.m. at Muzzy Field. The winner will get a chance to play West Hartford on Tuesday night.

Harris was too much for Waterford (24-7), the Zone 6 runnerup team. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter. With two outs and with two strikes in the top of the seventh inning, Nick Parazzi finally got a hit down to break up the no-hit bid.

“He was absolutely electric,” Avon catcher Ryan Ollestad said. “His fastball was peppering the outside of the plate and he worked well inside when he needed to. He mixed in his changeup well. That worked so we stuck with it throughout the game. He pitched with an attitude today.”

Avon’s Sean Del Gallo safely slides into second base with a stolen base before Waterford’s Mike Rocchetti can get the tag down in Sunday’s 6-1 victory.

Harris, who improved to 9-0 on the season, got some help from his defense, too. Shortstop Justin Olson had four assists and made two tough throws to get Waterford runners out. Center fielder Joe Suski had good range tracking down two hard-hit balls into the outfield.

“He has been our ace all season,” Avon manager Donny Annicelle said. “The kids played great defense behind him. He pitched great today.”

Harris had two strikes on Waterford’s first hitter of the game – shortstop Mike Rocchetti before he hit him with a curve ball. Rocchetti stole second and eventually scored the game’s first run. But that irritated Harris, who returned to the mound in the second inning with a little more fire.

It was the third complete game of the season for Harris, who has won three games in relief.

Waterford’s pitching staff was a bit depleted so Avon took advantage. “They used everyone they had (to get to this point),” Annicelle said. “So, we had to take advantage of that.”

Avon third baseman Will Thramann grabs a ball off the turf in Sunday’s 6-1 win over Waterford. Thramann threw out the runner in the sixth inning.

Avon had four hits in the second inning and took a 4-1 lead with a two-RBI single from Olson, an error and Will Thramann getting hit by a pitch. Olson had a great day at the plate, too, going 2-for-3 with three RBI.

Post 201 loaded the bases in the fifth inning but couldn’t convert. They did score twice in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 6-1.

Sean Del Gallo led off the inning with a walk and Thramann singled. Olson’s RBI single scored Del Gallo from third base and Thramann scored on a sacrifice fly from Ollestad (2-for-3, RBI).

“We feel we have a lot of talent and if we lost today, it would have been wasted,” Harris said. “I was a little disappointed (losing the no-hitter) but we got the win and that is what counted.”

Teammates on the Avon American Legion baseball team congratulate Connor Harris after Sunday’s win over Waterford.

Olson (2-2) will take the mound Monday night for Avon. Olson got the win on Wednesday when Avon beat Southington, 4-3 in the third and deciding game of their three-game series earlier in the Northern Division regional. Harris threw 91 pitches in the win so he will need to get four days of rest before he pitches again, according to state pitching rules. 

Avon 6, Waterford 1
At Bristol
Waterford (24-7)                        100  000  0 – 1-1-1
Avon (22-7)                               040  002  x – 6-8-0
John Pellegrino, Kyle Kobyluck (6) and Justin Keating; Connor Harris and Ryan Ollestad; WP: Harris (9-0); LP: Pellegrino; 2B: none; 3B: none; HR: none

Connecticut State Tournament
Northern Division Regional final
At Muzzy FIeld, Bristol
Saturday, July 22
Game 1: West Hartford 7, Avon 2
Game 2: South Windsor 4, Waterford 0
Sunday, July 23
Game 3: Avon 6, Waterford 1, Waterford eliminated
Game 4: West Hartford 16, South Windsor 7
Monday, July 24
Game 5: Avon vs. South Windsor, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, July 25
Game 6, Final: Winner game 5 vs. West Hartford, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 26
Game 7, Final: Winner game 6 vs. loser game 6, if necessary

Southern DIvision Regional finals
At Palmer Field, Middletown
Saturday, July 22
Game 1: Stamford 4, Greenwich 1
Game 2: Cheshire 1, Trumbull 0
Sunday, July 23
Game 3: Trumbull 8, Greenwich 1, Greenwich eliminated
Game 4: Stamford 4, Cheshire 1
Monday, July 24
Game 5: Trumbull vs. Cheshire, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 25
Game 6, Final: Winner game 5 vs. Stamford, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 26
Game 7, Final: Winner game 6 vs. loser game 6, if necessary

State championship finals
Best of three
At Middletown, Palmer Field
Friday, July 28
Game 1: Northern Division champion vs. Southern Division champion
Saturday, July 29
Game 2: Northern Division champion vs. Southern Division champion
Game 3: Northern Division champion vs. Southern Division champion, if necessary


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.

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