SIMSBURY, April 24, 2021 – A year ago, the baseball diamond at Memorial Field in Simsbury was quiet. The sun was shining high in the sky, warming the earth and birds whistling to each other was the only sound you could hear.
We were all home trying to stay safe as the contagious and deadly COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country and the world.
It was a different scene Saturday. The parking lots were jammed with cars with Simsbury Little League baseball beginning their spring season. At Memorial Field, the sun was still high in the sky, warming the earth but there was energy pulsating through the facility.
The Avon High and Simsbury High baseball teams were back on the field.
Fans were in the stands – many wearing masks and many being socially distant. The sounds of baseball filled the air with the baseball smacking into the mitt, the ding of a baseball being hit with an aluminum bat and cheers rising from the stands after a big play.
“We’re all grateful to be here because we didn’t have a season last year,” Avon High coach Jon Valles said. “It made me miss it more than I thought and (the kids) did too. Did you hear that dugout today. They were excited to be here.”
Avon High sophomore Alex Grant won his second game of the young season on Saturday, falling one out shy of pitching a complete game as the Falcons beat Simsbury, 12-3 in a CCC West contest.
Grant scattered five hits and struck out six to lead the Falcons (4-1), who won their fourth straight game – an encouraging sign for a program that won a total of eight games in 2018 and 2019.
“We have nine seniors this year and we didn’t cut anybody from the program this year,” Yolles said. “We kept the group together (all last year). We did zoom calls every Tuesday night. We did some community service and they just love each other.
“They root for each other,” he said. “If anyone makes a mistake, they pick each other up. I am proud of the way they are competing.”
Jesse Bernaduci led the Falcons at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a triple and three RBI with Daniel Bae going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Tyler Nyberg was 2-for-2 with one RBI.
Avon (4-1, 1-0 CCC West) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning. Ben Angus walked with one out and moved to second when Emmett Borenstein reached on an error. Angus moved to third base on a fly ball to the outfield and scored the first run on a passed ball.
Dylan Love was hit by a pitch and scored on Bernaduci’s two-run triple for a 3-0 Falcon lead. Bernaduci scored on an error to make it 4-0.
Avon extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning on Tyler Nyberg’s two-out single and added three more runs in the fifth inning. Bernaduci had a RBI single to left field while Tyler Engle had a two-run single to left field to swell the lead to 8-0.
Simsbury (1-4, 0-1 CCC West) got on the board in the sixth inning on a two-out solo home run from shortstop Ryan Laubscher to straight-away center field. It was his third home run in four games.
Avon dives into the meat to the CCC West schedule this week with three games in five days.
The Falcons host Glastonbury on Monday at Buckingham Field beginning at 3:45 p.m., host Hall on Wednesday and then travel to face No. 9 Southington on Friday in the first night game of the season beginning at 7 p.m. at Fontana Field.
Avon 12, Simsbury 3
Avon (4-1) 400 132 2 — 12-13-2
Simsbury (1-4) 000 001 2 — 3-5-3
Alex Grant, Lucas Lloyd (7) and Emmett Borenstein; Daniel Gorham, Mitch Wallman (6) and Jackson Matyczyk; WP: Grant (2-0); LP: Gorham (1-1); 2B: Nolan Conderino (S), Dylan Love (A), Jessie Bernaduci (A), HR: Ryan Laubscher (S)
CCC West baseball