Two days after the Under-11 Little League team evened its tournament record against Cuyahoga Falls North, the Under-10 team went on the road to fight off elimination — and the rain — and came up with an 11-7 victory over North.
The teams will play for the district championship at Veterans Park in Avon tonight at 6. The Under-10 team hopes the trend of following their older counterparts continues. The Under-11 team won the District 3 championship 14-4 Saturday.
“The biggest part about our team is they don’t like to quit,” Avon coach Ron Stitchick said. “Even when they’re down by three or four runs they know what needs to be done and they get it done.”
The teams traded leads five times and scored runs in six consecutive half-innings. Karl Wearsch proved to be the difference for Avon. First he drove in three runs with a triple in the top of the fifth that put Avon up 9-7.
Then he used that momentum to shake off a rocky fourth inning on the mound to face just six batters in the final two innings.
“I was really nervous because even though we were up I was still nervous because they could always come back,” said Wearsch, who was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a run scored. “I’m happy my team went through it and they won it for us. We had really good hitting today and smart baserunning.”
Nerves played a part in North’s ability to retake the lead. Two runs scored off wild pitches from Avon starter Jason Clay. Two of the three runs he allowed were walks, the other a hit batter.
“We’re talking about 10-year-olds here,” Stitchick said. “They get very heady and they’re nervous. Sometimes it takes them a couple of pitches to settle in and once they settle in they know what I need them to do.”
Clay limited the damage to three runs and struck out five.
Wearsch had his shaky moment in the fourth inning when he allowed four earned runs on five hits, giving North the lead back at 7-6. But once he settled in, North couldn’t touch him. He also finished with two strikeouts.
“We just kept cheering on each other, which I think really helped,” Avon catcher Ryan Rosfelder said. “We were still all motivated that we could win this. If we win the next game at our home, we go to state, which would be really nice.”
Rosfelder scored three times and provided some insurance in his only RBI of the game off a towering shot to right field in the top of the sixth, nearly giving him an inside-the-park home run. He scored during the next at-bat off a passed ball.
Leadoff hitter Tyler Louth also scored three runs for Avon and had three hits in five at-bats.
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.