AVON — Yogi Berra’s immortal words came true once again as Tallmadge proved “It ain’t over till it’s over” Thursday night at Veterans Park.
Trailing by 10 going into the last half of the final inning, Tallmadge scored seven runs and had the bases loaded before Avon’s Majors Little League team (ages 11-12) finally managed to escape with an 11-8 victory in the district losers bracket final.
Avon will travel to Cuyahoga Falls North on Saturday at 6 p.m. to stay alive for a chance at the state tournament. Avon previously lost 12-2 to Cuyahoga Falls North and must beat Falls twice to win the district.
Sparked by the hitting and pitching of Jacob Lozinski, Avon exploded to a 6-0 lead after three and added five more in the fifth and sixth innings before its near collapse. A pregame coin tossed determined that Tallmadge would bat last even though the game was at Avon.
Lozinski had a single and a two-run homer at the plate and struck out four in 1 1/3 innings, while giving up just one hit.
“I felt confident tonight,” said Lozinski, who has three home runs in the tournament.
“It was a fastball right down the middle,” he said of the pitch he sent over the fence in right-center in the fifth.
He’s also confident of Avon’s chances Saturday.
“I think we can turn it around,” he said.
Tallmadge began its big comeback with a walk, followed by two singles and another walk. The losers got only three hits in the big inning but were helped by four walks, two hit batsmen and an error.
It was a little payback because Tallmadge hurt its cause with seven errors, six in the first three innings.
“We just made some mistakes,” Avon manager Randy Spencer said. “But the kids hung in there. It was nice to jump off to the big early lead because all the way through the tournament we’ve been starting slow.”
About his team’s chances to upset Falls on Saturday, he added, “We’ve got to be ready to play.”
Tallmadge manager Todd Genovese was all smiles after the game despite the loss.
“Our kids just didn’t give up,” he said. “I’m really proud of the guys.”
The seven errors surprised him.
“Normally we’re really a good defensive team,” he said. “The bright sun in the outfield hurt us, also the wind made for some tricky plays.”
Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.