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MORGANTON — The Avery County Little League All-Stars ended its run in the North Carolina Little League District 7 U12 baseball tournament with a defeat to Morganton on Wednesday night, July 3, at Catawba Meadows Park.

Despite playing in temperatures that hovered in the mid to upper 80s for most of the contest, the teams ignored conditions and played a highly competitive matchup, as Morganton’s offense ultimately proved too much for the Avery squad to overcome in a 9-7 defeat.

Morganton built an early 3-0 lead in the top of the second frame, only to see Avery rally with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to cut the margin to 3-2. An inside-the-park home run by Morganton’s Grayson Owens added an insurance run in the top of the third for a 4-2 advantage. Undaunted, Avery rallied to score a pair of runs to knot the score at 4-4 entering the fourth inning.

Both teams’ bats continued to stay as warm as the temperatures, as Morganton plated a trio of runs in the top of the fourth inning to again take a lead at 7-4. Avery answered with a run in the bottom of the frame to draw within a pair at 7-5, only to see Morganton cross two additional runs in the top of the fifth to lead 9-5.

The cardiac Avery club refused to fold, however, as the club held Morganton scoreless over the final two innings. Offensively, Avery scored a pair of runs and trailed by only a pair in the bottom of the sixth and final inning.

Avery threatened with a pair of runners in scoring position and looked poised to tie the game in its last at-bat, but Morganton’s southpaw reliever struck out the final two batters of the contest to win the contest and eliminate the Avery squad.

Morganton will travel to face McDowell in another elimination game to determine the district champion, which is set to take place this Saturday, July 13.

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