And after only three practices, the Elyria East Little League 9- and 10-year-old softball All-Stars rolled over Avon 14-8 on Saturday at Vic Janowicz Memorial Park.
The Elyria girls, having defeated Tallmadge earlier in the week, are now in the driver’s seat in their bid for a district championship and berth in the state tournament in Clyde.
As a result of the loss, Avon travels to Tallmadge for a losers bracket game Monday.
The winner returns to Elyria at 6 p.m. Tuesday in what could be the title game in the double-elimination tournament. If the Elyrians lose Tuesday, a second game with the Avon-Tallmadge winner will decide the district championship.
Elyria fell behind 3-0 after a half-inning as Avon shortstop Marissa Ptacek blasted a bases-loaded, three-run double. But the Elyrians bounced back with a run in the bottom of the first, then sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning. The score was tied at 3 when Hawkins went to bat with two outs.
She ripped a first-pitch double to left field that scored Haley Sykuta — on base with Elyria’s first hit of the game — and Petrisko, who was hit by a pitch.
“I just remember running as fast as I can, finding (looking for) my coaches and watching who had the ball,” Hawkins said.
Elyria scored eight runs in the second and two more in the third.
But Avon refused to roll over. It also scored twice in the third with a rally that included Jessie Dean’s triple to right field, cutting the deficit to 9-5.
Again, Elyria scored twice in its half of the third and added another pair in the fourth.
After Grace Sherban walked — and later scored — with two outs in the fourth, Petrisko, who also walked, scored her fourth run of the game on a wild pitch. Petrisko’s run put Elyria in charge, 13-6. Ptacek and Grace Espey scored unearned runs for Avon in the fifth, but by then it was too late.
“I do work on my baserunning and I pay attention to my coaches,” Petrisko said. “I also work on my pitching a lot, sometimes at home with my brother or my mom. I throw a change and a fastball and I knew I had to put up a good fight tonight.”
Elyria’s Madison Schultz, who had two of her team’s hits, created the final score when she ran home with two outs in the fifth. Dean, who scored two of Avon’s runs, had two of her team’s five hits.
“Adrian (Petrisko) worked four innings for us against Tallmadge and she got another six tonight,” Elyria manager Scott Barnes said. “She’s worked hard on her pitching recently.
“Avon has a good team and they hit the ball well tonight. The first couple innings were great. It was a close game. But sometimes the ball bounces for you and you get a couple walks and a nice hit, and the girls are real excited right now. They’re fun.”