December 21, 2014

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Baseball: Avon edged by Tallmadge in Little League 12U district game

TALLMADGE — Avon got in its own way against Tallmadge on Monday.

The 12U Little League baseball team gave Tallmadge too many extra outs, which Tallmadge took advantage of in a 9-4 victory for a berth in the 12U District 3 championship game.

“We cannot, at this level against a really good team like Tallmadge, be making errors,” Avon coach Michael Love said. “We give them four outs, we give them five outs, and we’re going to lose. It’s that simple and the boys understand that.”

Avon will face another consolation team Sunday. Its opponent will be determined by games being played Wednesday and Friday, according to the bracket posted on the District 3 website. The winner of Sunday’s matchup will return to Tallmadge on July 15 for the District 3 championship.

“We need to focus on execution,” Avon’s Nick Nowakowski said. “We did alright, but we need to work on it a little. We’re just going to forget this game and try as hard as we can the next game.”

Avon took its only lead of the game in the second inning. Trailing 1-0, Matt South sent a towering shot down the right field line that bounced into the corner for a triple. He ultimately didn’t need the extra bases, because Nowakowski one-upped him the next at bat with a home run about 210 feet to center field, giving Avon a 2-1 lead.

Avon had a perfect chance for more with one out when the next three batters — Charlie Ellis, Conor O’Malley and Joey Lance — all reached base with two hits and a hit batter. But when Austin Bramhall struck out and the ball got past the catcher, Love decided to send the runners and Ellis was tagged out at the plate for the third out.

“I sent (Ellis), that one’s on me,” Love said. “We had discussed it. We tried to get a little excitement and it was a bit of a gamble. With hindsight it didn’t come out well, but it is what it is. He ran on my instructions.”

Tallmadge wasted no time erasing the deficit as it scored two runs in each of the next four innings, highlighted by a two-run home run from Andrew Ayers in the fourth that cleared the 200-foot fence and landed in the hill about 20 feet beyond to give Tallmadge a 7-3 lead.

Ayers also shut the Avon bats down, racking up nine strikeouts in 4⅔ innings of work. He allowed four hits, a walk, two runs and hit two batters.

“He’s got a very good fastball,” Love said. “He also has great command of the plate and got our boys a little bit passive. Too many called third strikes.”

Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

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