That’s how both coaches described the nine-inning beauty between Avon and Cuyahoga Falls North in the Under-11 Little League District 3 semifinal tournament game at Veterans Park.
Cuyahoga Falls trailed 2-0 and 3-2 before pulling out a walk-off 4-3 win over Avon on Alec Hass’ fourth hit of the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning.
It was Avon’s first loss in the double-elimination tournament. It will now have to beat a yet-to-be-determined opponent Wednesday to have a chance at Cuyahoga Falls again in the championship round. Avon would have to win games next Friday and Saturday to advance to the state tournament.
“I’ve been in baseball for 15 years at many different levels and that’s the best baseball game I have ever seen,” Cuyahoga Falls coach Mark Haas said. “We are very lucky to get out of here with a win.
“Avon is such a good program and they are so well-coached. We had to play a perfect game to beat them and except for a couple of plays, we did that. We are looking forward to possibly playing them again next week.”
Avon wasted no time jumping on Cuyahoga Falls starting pitcher Tony Sondles as Dan Drellishak singled to left and Matt South walked to start the game. Charlie Ellis followed with a double to the fence in left-center to give Avon a 2-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the bottom of the fourth when Nick Tartaglia scored for Cuyahoga Falls on a fielder’s choice by Kyle Dereamer to trim the lead to 2-1.
Cuyahoga Falls tied the score in the bottom of the fifth off Avon starting pitcher Zach Maxey as Hass doubled to right-center. Maxey exited after reaching the 85-pitch limit and was relieved by Jack Walsh.
Walsh got Sam Trego to ground a ball to second base, but it kicked off the defender’s glove allowing pinch-runner Cole Sullivan to scamper home with the game-tying run.
The score stayed knotted at 2 until Avon scratched out a run against Cuyahoga Falls reliever Micah Blair as South reached on a single to center and went to third on a single by Charlie Ellis. An error by the Cuyahoga Falls right fielder put runners on second and third.
South came home on a wild pitch to take the lead, but a huge defensive play by Cuyahoga Falls kept the lead at 3-2 when Ellis was cut down on a rundown between third and home on a hard grounder that was stopped on the left side of the infield.
Hass provided the game-tying run in the bottom of the 8th after doubling to the fence in right-center and scoring on a single to left by Tartaglia.
“We are going to push everyone on the basepaths and it usually generates good results, but (Cuyahoga Falls) made every play they were supposed to,” Avon coach Michael Love said. “(Cuyahoga Falls) is in the championship game and we need to win Wednesday to have another shot at them. We are excited about the prospects of playing them again
after such a great game tonight.”