CUYAHOGA FALLS — After a scrappy run to the title game, the district tournament ended exactly how it started for the 11U Avon Little League All-Stars.
Playing in the championship game Thursday, Avon fell 2-1 to Cuyahoga Falls North.
Avon opened the tournament with a 2-1 loss to North last Friday.
Avon got a bit of revenge with a 14-4 win Wednesday to force the deciding title game but fell just short again.
“It was a really good game and these kids worked really hard today and all season,” Avon coach Phillip Pintar said. “They played a great game and found a way to get the win.”
Avon had a few chances to change the outcome in a whirlwind of a sixth inning.
Landon Gomez singled up the middle with one out. He was picked off first, however, as catcher Bryson Brazelton made a perfect throw to catch him leaning.
“We hit the ball pretty well, they just made some big plays to keep us off the board,” Pintar said.
Bryce Chura followed with a booming triple to right field, almost going all the way before getting the stop sign from his third base coach.
“It was a relief to come up with a big hit for my team,” Chura said. “I had to find a way to keep it going and I got a good swing on the ball.”
It would have been a close play at the plate, but the All-Stars have trust and faith in their teammates.
Chura was stranded at third to end the game.
“We played a good game, just came up a little short in the end,” Chura said. “It was a lot of fun to play with all the guys from around our league.”
Avon actually outhit North by a large margin, 8-2. But it wasn’t able to capitalize, leaving nine runners on base, four in scoring position.
Cuyahoga Falls scored its two runs in the second inning, taking advantage of four walks.
Both defenses made numerous big plays and played great overall.
Chura had two highlight catches in center field while the infield played nearly perfect.
“We practice a lot on our defense and it has made us a lot better at it,” Chura said.
Back-to-back singles from Grant Barr and Carter Jenny in the top of the fifth inning helped drive in Avon’s only run. They were both stranded, marking another missed opportunity.
“It was special to be able to play with this team and make an impact in such a big game,” Barr said. “I wish we could have got the win but I’m still proud of the way we played.”
Evan Musaga started for Avon, pitching a strong 3 1/3 innings before Jenny came in for the rest of the game.
They combined to throw a two-hitter, though they surrendered six walks.
Chura and Jenny both had two hits, while Gomez added an extra-base hit.
“A lot of guys stepped up for us today and this was a tough way to lose,” Carr said. “I felt like we did a great job as a whole and I did the best I could.”
Avon had scored 33 runs in its previous two games.
Cuyahoga Falls just played a fantastic game, making one more play than Avon and never shooting itself in the foot.
“You have to give them credit, they played great defense and that’s why they won,” Pintar said. “These kids have been great to coach and it was a fun season.”