ELYRIA — The Elyria East Little League All-Stars made sure Thursday that the path to the District 3 10-11-year-old championship will run through Vic Janowicz Park.
Elyria East continued its domination of the tournament with a 16-1 win over Avon in a game shortened to four innings by the mercy rule. In two games Elyria East has outscored its opponents 39-3.
“I told the girls after the game, ‘Just as easily as we won 16-1 tonight we could be on the other side of that score next time if we don’t play our best,’” manager Scott Barnes said. “But this is such a good group of girls I don’t think I have to worry about that.”
After a scoreless first inning, Elyria East took control in the second, sending 14 girls to the plate while scoring 10 runs. Every East hitter reached base in the inning.
Aubrey Frazier got the inning started with a walk. She scored the first run on a grounder by Ashley Cascio. The next eight batters reached base and the rout was on. Alexis Reinhardt and Sam Filiaggi each drove in two runs in the second. Filiaggi, the leadoff batter, also singled and scored in the third.
“I think this showed what we can do when we play as a team,” Filiaggi said. “Coach Scott always talks about getting our adrenalin pumping. That’s how that big inning felt.”
East pounded out 12 hits, but the offense was almost overshadowed by the outstanding pitching.
Cascio pitched the first two innings and retired all six Avon hitters, striking out two. Reinhardt came on in the third and retired the first four batters she faced until Lauren Roman broke up the perfect game by drawing a four-pitch walk.
Shay Davidson got Avon’s only hit, smashing an opposite-field double down the left-field line. She scored her team’s only run on a wild pitch.
“Look at the pitching we’ve had in this tournament. We have four good pitchers,” Barnes said. “That’s really going to help us down the road if we can keep winning.”
Elyria East third baseman Haley Ivan had a big night with her bat with a pair of triples. On her second hit, she tried to stretch it into an inside-the-park home run, but a perfect relay throw from Avon third baseman Nora Hopkins just beat her to the plate.
“Tonight was great. It was one of my best games all year,” Ivan said.
Barnes said the toughest part of coaching his team is filling out the lineup card, because there is so much talent on the roster.
“There is no weak spot in this lineup,” he said. “And the girls coming off the bench are just as good as the ones who are starting. From the first practice everyone has understood the importance of playing as a team. This is really an easy group of girls to coach.”
Avon may yet have a chance to avenge Thursday’s loss. They will play in the losers bracket Saturday evening at Tallmadge with the winner earning the right to face Elyria East again with the District 3 title on the line.
While Elyria East will have to wait to see who will occupy the opposing dugout at Vic Janowicz Park come Monday night, Filiaggi has a plan for how she will spend her weekend.
“I’m going to relax and not do anything where I can wind up hurting myself. Then I’ll be ready for whoever we play,” she said.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.