TURNER — Alex Avila picked his first start of the regular season to try out a new curveball.

It seemed to work for Edward Little in its 11-5 baseball win over Leavitt on Wednesday. Avila pitched four innings, allowing only two hits and striking out three.

“It was to go out there and hit my spots,” Avila said of his mindset. “I am working on a new curveball that I started today, so I wanted to go out and throw strikes, first-pitch strikes, especially. Definitely first-pitch strikes and getting the ball on the ground because I trust my infield, my outfield — they did a great job.”

The Red Eddies’ (2-0) defense showed out in the bottom of the first inning when, with a runner on third, Garrett Mollica of Leavitt (0-3) drilled a ball into center field. EL’s Campbell Cassidy charged in to make the catch with an outreached arm and then immediately launched a throw, without a bounce, directly to catcher Colin Merritt who made the tag at the plate for a double play that ended the inning and kept the score 0-0. 

“Campbell’s play was insane,” Avila said. “I could tell right from the throw that it was on the money, and so I was already celebrating before they made the tag,. It was a nice play. It was on the fly and right on the money. It was such a beautiful throw and really a big game-changer, keeping runs off the board.”

Avila helped spark the Red Eddies’ offense in a six-run bottom of the third inning.

Avila drew a one-out walk and later scored the gam’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Chase Martin. Patrick Anthoine singled and later scored on an overthrow at first base after a Merritt grounder. EL rolled from there, batting through the lineup and scoring six runs on five hits in the inning. 

“Second time through the order and people were able to get the timing down and were able to get some balls in play,” Edward Little coach Dave Jordan said. “But I also thought we hit the ball well early on, but you have to give credit to Leavitt, they made some nice plays, too.”

“We start off a little bit slow, but we’ll work on that,” Avila added. “But once we see a pitcher once or twice, we get after it. A lot of hard contact guys on this squad, and I got out there and got my first hit tonight, which felt nice.”

Anthoine singled again to lead off the fourth inning and scored two batters later, giving the Red Eddies a 7-0 lead, when Jack Keefe singled to left-center.

In the top of the fifth, as rain started to fall, Edward Little added three more runs. Campbell led off the inning with a single and later scored after a stolen base and an error. Aiden Gonzalez reached on that error and scored on an Avila double. Avila stole third and scored on a groundout by Anthoine.

After Avila left the game, following four innings on the mound, Leavitt’s offense got going and started applying pressure to the Red Eddies’ lead. 

“What I like is we have been really mature about seeing the things we need to work on,” Leavitt coach Chris Cifelli said. “Just being able to see the things we need to improve upon and being really honest about reflecting on the things we are doing well and things we need to get better, at and we are seeing that each game. The score today doesn’t indicate that, but I love how we battled and loved how we put pressure on them.”

Leavitt, facing the 10-run rule in the bottom of the fifth, and the weather getting worse by the minute, started putting the ball in play. That led to the Hornets starting to score runs. 

Ben Sirois and Ryan Thibeault each walked with one out to set up Matt Wallingford, who doubled home Sirois to make it 10-1. After a strikeout, Blake Springer walked to load the bases, and Brogan McCormick’s bases-loaded single drove in two runs to cut the deficit to seven runs. 

After EL tacked on a run in the sixth to make it 11-3, Wallingford and Mollica added each scored for Leavitt, but the Hornets weren’t able to further close the gap. 

“It’s a tough schedule that we’ve had, but at the same time it’s going to prepare us for the rest of the season and especially the playoffs,” Cifelli said. “I would rather our guys go against tough pitchers now. This is a great hitting team, so to be hanging around for as long as we did is great.”


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