July 12, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.
It took all nine innings for a run to be scored, but the Avon Lakers did so with a walk-off single against the Pierz Lakers for a 1-0 win in Victory League competition July 7 at Blattner Field in Avon.
Avon’s Elian Mezquita led off the bottom of the ninth with a solid hit to left, sliding head first into second base. After a ground out, Cole Wellmann and Carter Philippi drew intentional walks to load the bases. Next up was Peyton Randall, and on a 2-1 count, he sent the ball between the left and center fielders, scoring Mezquita to end the game.
After that, the Lakers rushed onto the field and mobbed Randall in celebration.
Dominic Austing started and went six innings for Avon. Matt Pichelmann, who got the win, took over and threw three innings. Austing struck out 11 and Pichelmann two.
Noah Cekalla went the distance for Pierz.
“That’s a region baseball game or even a state tournament game,” said Matt Meyer, one of the co-managers of the Avon Lakers, about the atmosphere and type of game it was. “A lot of good things from that game for us.”
He noted the great pitching from Austing and Pichelmann and added “that was a big at-bat” from Randall.
Pierz had a good opportunity to score in the second inning, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Austing then struck out the side.
As the game went on, each team put runners on base, but the opposing team’s pitching and defense stifled any scoring chances.
“We did what we needed to do in the ninth to get the run across,” Meyer said. “A great job all around.”
Ryan Janzen and Mezquita got two hits each. Caleb Curry and Randall had a hit each.
Avon sits on top of the Victory League South/West Division ahead of St. Stephen, who will be in Avon Friday, July 14. The winner will get the No. 1 seed and the loser No. 2 when the league playoffs begin.
Meyer said the goal is to get back to the state tournament.
“We’ve got a good group here,” he said. “They are grinders, good baseball players.”
Avon will travel to Freeport Wednesday, July 12, to finish up a game that was suspended June 7 with the score tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh.
Upsala 7, Avon 6
The Lakers traveled to Upsala July 8 to make up a game that was postponed from earlier in the season and lost 7-6.
Avon got off to good start, scoring two runs in the first and adding one in the third for a 3-0 lead, but the Blue Jays caught up and after the sixth inning, the score was tied at 5-5.
Avon scored a run to go ahead 6-5 in the eighth, but Upsala scored two in its half of the inning to go ahead 7-6.
Curry led Avon’s offense with three hits, including a solo home run in the eighth with two outs.
Wellmann and Philippi had two hits each.
Mezquita pitched the first six innings and Wellmann, who took the loss, came in for the final two.
Levi Lampert pitched the complete-game win for the Blue Jays.
Matt Swanson had three hits for Upsala, including a home run.
St. Joseph 2, Avon 1
Both teams pitched well, but the St. Joseph Joes were just a bit better in a 2-1 win over the Lakers July 5 in St. Joseph.
The Joes scored a run in the fourth and fifth.
Avon scored its run in the sixth. Nick Merdan grounded into a fielder’s choice and eventually scored on a single by Reese Gregory.
Gregory got two hits in the game, with Mezquita and Elliot Allen getting one each.
Jackson Henderson pitched 3 1/3 innings and took the loss. Philippi pitched 1 2/3 innings and Joe Dolan one frame in the seven-inning game.
Avon’s pitchers allowed just four hits. Henderson struck out three and Dolan one.