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Photo from Avon Little League game recognized in national contest

This photo of players on the Avon Major Division softball  celebrating and hugging third baseman Jackie Funderburk after her inning ending catch in last June’s District 6 championship is one of eight photos being recognized by Little League International after a nationwide photo contest. (Gerry deSimas, Jr./Collinsville Press)

A photo of a Little League softball game between Avon and East Granby/Granby taken by the Collinsville Press’ founder and editor Gerry deSimas, Jr., last June was one of eight selected to be part of a new Girls with Game exhibit at the World of Little League museum this summer in Williamsport, Pa.

As part of a celebration of Women’s History Month in March, Little League International announced a nationwide photo contest as part of their Girls With Game (GWG) 50 celebration, recognizing the start of Little League softball competition in 1974.

Little League launched their Girls With Game initiative in 2019 to honor all of the girls and women who have made the Little League program what it is today and to inspire future generations female participants at every level.

Rayna Banks, the vice president of Avon Little League softball, submitted the photo to the contest. Nearly 1,000 submissions were received by Little League International.

Three photos were selected at the top three entries with five being recognized as honorable mention selections. All eight photos will be featured on Little League International’s social media feeds this spring as part of the Girls With Game 50 celebration and in an exhibit at the Little League museum.

The Avon photo comes from last July’s District 6 Major Division (ages 10-12) championship game at Memorial Field in Simsbury.

In the photo, Avon players celebrate and hug third baseman Jackie Funderbuck after an inning-ending catch. Avon beat East Granby/Granby, 9-5 to win the best-of-three D6 championship series, 2-0.

The victory allowed Avon to advance to the Major Division state tournament for the first time. A team comprised of girls from Avon and Simsbury played together and won the District 6 title in 2020 but this was the first time that a team with just Avon players won a D6 Major Division title in softball to advance to the state tournament.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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