AVON — The most important thing Cuyahoga Falls North did Friday before the 11U Little League District 3 championship game was win the coin flip — for the first time in the tournament.
Falls used the home-field advantage to grab a 5-4 walk-off win over Avon when Mason Stams drove a ball deep to left field for a sacrifice fly. It brought home Andrew Morse, who had reached base for the fourth time with a one-out single.
It was the second year in a row Cuyahoga Falls kept Avon from advancing to state.
“We left a lot of runners on base (10) and just couldn’t get a hit when we needed it,” Avon manager George Berki said. “We’re just going to have to work hard to find a way to beat them next year.”
If Avon is going to beat Falls next year, it will have to find a way to keep Morse off the bases. Friday he walked twice and singled twice in the leadoff spot.
Matt Granitto, Andrew Siler and Mason Bingham all pitched well for Avon, but Cuyahoga Falls did just enough to get the win, scoring single runs in five of the six innings.
Stams drove in Kyle Mottice in the first inning with a single to center and Mottice knocked in Alex Givens (2-for-3, double) in the bottom of the second for a 2-0 lead.
Cuyahoga Falls could have had more in the inning, but a strike from center fielder Bruce Duelly to home plate for an out ended the threat.
Avon did all of its scoring in the top of the third inning, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring four times to grab the lead.
Jacob Eiermann singled and Andrew Siler and Nick Gardner walked to load the bases.
Eiermann scored on a wild pitch for the first run and the next two came home when Duelly stroked an opposite-field single to left for a 3-2 Avon lead.
The final run came down when Granitto walked and scored on Ryan Rosfelder’s single through the middle.
Cuyahoga Falls rallied as Givens drove in a run in the bottom of the third with a two-out double to right-center, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Falls knotted the score in the fourth when Morse singled with two down and came around to score the tying run on a wild pitch.
Avon had a chance to grab the lead in the top half of the sixth as Eiermann (3-for-4) singled and clean-up hitter Gardner drew an intentional walk. The rally ended when Alex Givens, pitching in relief, got a strikeout to close out the inning and setting up the walk-off that is sending Cuyahoga Falls to North Canton for the state tournament.
“Their top four batters are really tough,” Berki said. “We played really well, but they got the hits when they needed them. It’s really tough having to play these guys three games in a row. We did the same thing last year.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or email@example.com.