SOUTH WINDSOR, May 1 – Two years ago, the Avon High baseball team was in the state semifinals for the first time since 1968. A year ago, the Falcons were 13-7 in their second season in the Central Connecticut Conference and advanced to the second round of the Class L tournament before losing to North Haven in nine innings.
After losing five seniors including All-State pitcher Justin Olson, no one was predicting that Avon would be a contender for a CCC West Patriot Division title. But expectations certainly included another appearance in the CIAC Class L tournament.
Things are not turning out as expected for the Falconsg. Avon dropped to 2-7 on Tuesday in a 10-0 mercy rule loss to South Windsor at Rotary Field. The game was halted after five innings with the Bobcats (9-1) owning a 10-run lead.
South Windsor, which won their first nine games of the season, scored eight runs in the second inning and added another two in the third inning. Bobcat pitcher Zachary Donahue went the distance, pitching five innings of scoreless baseball, giving up just two hits and striking out six.
Avon has struggled to hit for much of the season. It wasn’t much different on Tuesday against the Bobcats. Junior Miles Borenstein and senior third baseman Chris Angus had singles for the Falcons. Only twice this season has Avon mustered more than four hits in a game and both resulted in victories.
“We’ve been inconsistent,” Avon’s fourth-year head coach Jon Yolles said. “We haven’t had the consistent performance and consistent production we thought we might have.
“The bats haven’t come alive yet,” he said. “The kids come to practice every day and they work hard every day. We just haven’t had the success we’ve hoped for.”
South Windsor’s Hunter Pasqualini and William Novak were each 3-for-3 with two RBI. Novak added a triple – the game’s only extra base hit. James Tamburro was 2-for-2 with one RBI for the Bobcats.
Thanks to a rainy April, the Falcons will have plenty of opportunities to play baseball this month. Tuesday night’s loss was the second of four games this week for Avon. The Falcons will play three games next week and play four games in five days the following week (May 14-18).
Avon snapped a five-game losing streak on Monday night with a 20-1 victory over Bulkeley/Weaver at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Eastern League’s Hartford Yard Goats. The Falcons host Farmington (4-5) on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. at Buckingham Field and close out the week with a game at Simsbury (6-4) on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at Memorial Field.
“We hope to win the week, take three of four games and we can still do that,” Yolles said. “We’ll have to step up our energy level and give it a shot.”
Avon had a season-high 12 hits on Monday evening against Bulkeley/Weaver with Angus going 3-for-4 with four RBI. Freshman Zack Aiello was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Will Boone and Ryan Ollestad each had a single and a double. Freshman Daniel Bae added a double, too.
Boone and Borenstein combined to struck out nine and limit Bulkeley/Weaver (0-9) to just two hits.
NOTES: The last Avon team to miss the CIAC tournament was the 2006 squad that finished 7-12. … The top 32 teams in Class L qualify for the state tournament, regardless of their record. The Falcons (2-7) are currently ranked 37th. Foran-Milford was 7-13 and won a coin toss with New London to claim the 32nd and final spot in last year’s Class L tournament. Foran won five straight games including wins over No. 1 seed East Lyme, No. 7 North Haven and No. 9 Guilford to win the state championship.
South Windsor 10, Avon 0 (5)
At South Windsor
Avon (2-7) 000 00 – 0-2-2
South Windsor (9-1) 082 0x – 10-12-0
Blaise Engle, Connor Harris (2), Daniel Bae (3) and Ryan Ollestad; Zach Donahue and unknown; WP: Donahue; LP: Engle (0-2); 3B: William Nowak (SW)
Avon 20, Bulkeley/Weaver 1 (5)
At Hartford (Dunkin’ Donuts Park)
Bulkeley/Weaver (0-9) 00 0 10 – 1 -2-7
Avon (2-6) 51(12) 2x – 20-12-1
Gabriel Ocasio, Jeffrey Mauras (3), Felipe (4), Malik Belfast (4) and unknown; Will Boone, Miles Borenstein (4) and Ryan Ollestad; WP: Boone (1-1); LP: Ocasio; 2B: Zack Aiello (A), Daniel Bae (A), Ryan Ollestad (A), Will Boone (A), Joshua Ayala (B)