AVON — When one team wins by mercy rule, the last thing anyone usually wants to talk about is defense.
Not so Thursday night at Veteran’s Park in Avon, where the 10-year-old losers bracket final was played. Avon played stellar defense to advance to Saturday’s final with a 13-3 victory over Cuyahoga Falls North. Avon plays at Tallmadge and needs two wins to clinch the district title.
Avon made plays that would make a senior team proud. Its third baseman — Seth Broadbent — looked a Cuyahoga Falls’ runner back to second before firing a strike to first in the second inning when the game was far from settled. He later snagged a line drive in the third inning when Cuyahoga Falls made its only noise of the game with two runs. Those plays — plus a number of other nice fielding plays by the infield — made quick work of the losers bracket final.
“Seth did a great job there,” Avon manager Dave Cupar said. “He’s done a great job the whole tournament. He’s smart. He keeps the ball in front of him and makes a good play.”
Avon took advantage of some Cuyahoga Falls’ miscues, wild pitches and passed balls to put the game on ice with an 11-run third inning. Danny Drellishak — the No. 9 hitter — nearly cleared the fence when he smacked a long double over the head of Cuyahoga Falls’ left fielder to put the nail in the coffin by driving home two runs. He had three hits — two doubles — in the game.
“I think he had his Wheaties for breakfast,” Cupar said. “(He) pulled the ball really nice. We were telling the kids all game — swing early, get ahead — and that’s exactly what he did. We got good results out of it.”
It wasn’t just Drellishak that contributed. Pitchers Matt South and Charley Ellis combined to keep Cuyahoga Falls off the board for the most part and catcher Connor O’Malley drove in three runs and did a good job at backstop. Jack Walsh had two hits and drove in two runs with a single in the third inning. South, Cam Cupar — the manager’s son — and Tommy Purcell all had hits for Avon.
“Avon’s a good team,” Cuyahoga Falls manager Charley Ellis said. “I wish them all the luck, but I’m very proud of my team. I tip my hat to Avon.”
Avon was sent to the losers bracket by Tallmadge, 6-4, in the opening round.
“We’re finally here,” said the senior Cupar of the chance to play Tallmadge again. “We’re finally back in the winners bracket. One team left and that’s (Tallmadge). We lost to them the first time, but I think we’re in great shape and ready for a tough battle.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or email@example.com.