AVON — Besides winning, the one constant for the Avon Little League Minors (age 8-10) All-Stars during the district tournament has been the consistency of pitcher Evan Masuga.
Masuga came through once again Wednesday, this time in Avon’s biggest game yet.
Masuga threw four shutout innings as Avon made quick work of Cuyahoga Falls North with an 11-0 win in the district final. The win puts Avon in the state tournament, which begins July 28 in Cambridge.
“It feels great to have the team that I have behind me,” Masuga said. “Once we built a lead like that it just gives me so much more confidence on the mound.”
It was the third win of the tournament for Masuga, who’s allowed just three total runs.
He gave up just one hit Wednesday, while allowing just one Cuyahoga Falls player to advance past second base.
“Evan has been unbelievable for us this entire tournament,” Avon coach Phillip Pintar said. “He’s been our horse and I couldn’t ask for anything more from him,”
The game was low-scoring until Avon erupted for nine runs in the fourth inning, turning a close game into a mercy-rule in just minutes.
Seven of the nine batters in the inning came around to score and two players scored twice.
Lucas Pintar and Drew Sidlowski both had two-run singles in the inning.
Avon had eight straight batters reach at one point and stole home twice.
“The big inning was fantastic with all the hits and we were going crazy in the dugout,” Masuga said. “We feel pretty good right now.”
The teams were scoreless through the first two innings but Avon scored two runs in the third inning before the fourth inning explosion.
Meanwhile, the Avon defense came up with some big plays, led by shortstop Carter Jenny.
“It’s crazy when we’re playing like this, it’s the best thing ever,” Jenny said. “We’ve all worked very hard to get to this point and I feel very confident going into the state tournament.”
Avon has high hopes for state.
“It’s hard to explain when you’re coaching, it’s like you’re worried about everything because you don’t want this to stop,” Pintar said. “Cuyahoga Falls is a really good team so we were just patient out there until the big inning happened.”