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Avon Legion gets the big inning to beat Simsbury and win first game of season

Avon’s Max Raha lays down a bunt with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning in Wednesday’s Zone 1 baseball game against Simsbury. Raha reached base safely, driving in a run and sparking a five-run rally.

SIMSBURY, June 12 – First-year Avon American Legion baseball coach Eric Welles has seen Post 201 drop their first five contests including a pair of Zone 1 losses to Newington on Sunday.

But he has been upbeat about Post 201. “Every game there has been one inning when it gets away from us,” he said Wednesday night at Memorial Field. “We’ve been beating ourselves with errors. But the pitching has been great. We’ve played three Zone (1) games and we’ve gotten excellent pitching.”

Avon hurler Benjamin Angus went the distance, scattering six hits and striking out three to lead Post 201 to their first victory of the season with an 8-2 Zone 1 victory.

Leading by one run, Avon (1-5, 1-2 Zone 1) scored five runs with two outs in the sixth inning to pull away and secure their first victory of the season.

With two outs, Avon’s Justin Hasler coaxed a walk from Simsbury reliever Aidan Shugrue, who then hit the next batter, Post 201 catcher Zac Coleman. Shugrue loaded the bases when Angus coaxed a walk.

Simsbury (2-2-1, 2-1 Zone 1) went to reliever Josh Gilmore in a tough spot. Avon’s Max Raha approached the plate. On the first pitch he saw, Raha dropped down a bunt and raced to first base. He beat the throw to first base allowing Hasler to score from third base and extend the lead to two runs, 4-2.

Wells didn’t call for the bunt with two outs and the bases loaded. He let Raha make that call.

“I have to give Max credit. He knows he can do it,” Welles said. “Max knew he could do it in that spot and that he could get it down.”

Matt Leopold followed with a two-run double to right field while Miles Borenstein had a two-run single to allow Post 201 take an 8-2 lead.

Justin Hasler (24) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a run in Wednesday night’s Zone 1 win over Simsbury.

“This wasn’t the outcome we were looking for,” Simsbury Legion coach Tom Vincent said. “We got outplayed in virtually every aspect of the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t have it today.”

Simsbury came into the game after winning their first two Zone 1 games with an 11-1 win over Winsted in five innings and a 7-4 victory over Berlin, a new team in Zone 1 this season with Matt Rose (Canton) going 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI.

Wednesday night against Simsbury, Raha finished the game by going 3-for-4 for Avon while Borenstein was 3-for-3 with three RBI and a double. Jake Coppen was 2-for-4 with two RBI. For Simsbury, Sam Attiansese was 2-for-3.

Avon had a two-run lead after three innings in their first Zone 1 game of the season against Newington before falling 4-2. Avon committed four errors in a 7-1 loss in game two on Sunday against Newington, giving up six runs in the sixth inning.

On Wednesday night, Avon had a season-high 11 hits. Post 201 took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Coppen’s RBI single. Simsbury tied the game on Jack Rose’s RBI ground ball that drove in Sam Attianese. Post 2 took a 2-1 lead in the second inning when catcher Christian Fagnant scored on a two-out passed ball with the bases loaded.

Avon tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning on Coppen’s two-out RBI single. He drove in Borenstein, who had doubled. Post 201 took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on Borenstein’s sacrifice fly that drove in Raha from third base.

The two teams are scheduled to play against on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. at Buckingham Field in Avon.

Avon 8, Simsbury 2
At Simsbury
Avon (1-5)                               101  015  0  – 8-11-3
Simsbury (2-2-1)                   110  000  0  — 2-6-1
Ben Angus and Zach Coleman; Kyle Desjardins, Aidan Shugrue (5), Josh Gilmore (6) and Christian Fagnant; WP: Angus (1-1); LP: Desjardins (0-1); 2B: Miles Borenstein (A), Matt Leopold (A)

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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