Last year, the Eagles were beaten twice in the tournament by the Blue Devils and have waited patiently for the opportunity to get a little payback.
Thursday night, the Eagles made the most of their opportunity as they mercy-ruled the Blue Devils 17-1 in four innings. The win advances the Eagles to a Saturday game at
6 p.m. against the winner of a Cuyahoga Falls game today while Tallmadge falls into the consolation bracket.
“Most of the boys were on the team last year that lost to Tallmadge in the tournament,” Avon coach Michael Love said. “They’ve been waiting for this game and it showed in the bats today. A lot of the boys feel they have unfinished business to take care of this year and this is a great start for us.”
The Eagles set the tone in the top of the first inning as they sent 11 batters to the plate and came away with seven runs on five hits, chasing Tallmadge starter Brandon Heigelmann off the mound.
Charlie Ellis got things rolling with an RBI double that put the Eagles up 1-0, and Jack Walsh followed with a two-run single that scored Matt South and Ellis to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead with no outs.
Jacob Love brought Walsh in for a 4-0 advantage and an RBI single by Noah Mangan brought in Love. Dan Drellishak, who led off the inning, finished the scoring with a two-run triple that brought in Noah Mangan and Zach Maxey.
“I knew we needed to get out to a lead,” said Walsh, who finished 3-for-4 with three
RBIs. “I just stayed calm at the plate and got a hold of a pitch to bring in a couple of runs. Things just kind of fell into place after that.”
“That was a great first inning for us,” said Love, who finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs. “After losing to them last year, we wanted to get back at them this year.
Everyone has been waiting for this game and I think it showed in the first inning.
“I knew we were going to win after that.”
With seven runs backing him up, South took to the mound and survived a shaky first inning where he faced seven Tallmadge batters, gave up four hits and one run. From that point, he faced only nine batters over the next three innings to pick up the win.
“Well, the first inning didn’t go as well as I hoped,” South said. “I gave up some hits and a run but after that I settled down and pitched well. My two-seam fastball was working pretty good for me. It just felt really good to come off the field with a win against them after last year.”
Avon scored three more runs in the second inning before exploding again for seven runs in the third inning. Leading the way in the third inning was Ellis, who knocked in two more runs with a double to put Avon up 13-0 with no outs.
“It always feels great to win a game, but this feels a little bit better than normal,” said Ellis, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs. “I knew we had this game in the bag after the first inning. We were motivated and ready to play.”
The same couldn’t be said for Tallmadge.
“I’m a little surprised that we came out the way we did,” Tallmadge coach Matt Hunkele said. “I think we’re a better team than we showed tonight. I told the team that it looked like they fell asleep on the drive up here.
“We need to get it together quick or we’re going to be going home early this year.”