Senior Avalon School pitchers Billy Lennox and Tommy Sanchez didn’t pitch a perfect game, but pitched well enough to give The Avalon School Black Knights the State B championship title on Tuesday May 20 at the Black Knights home field Kelly Park.
The Black Knights outlasted their archrival The Heights 5-3 in a knuckle-biter that went down to the wire.
Old Line Baseball Conference player of the year Billy Lennox started out on the mound for Avalon and began by pitching a scoreless first inning. “It really meant a lot to me (on starting the game at pitcher.) I didn’t have my best stuff, is a really good feeling,” Lennox said.
In the Black Knight’s half of the first inning Lennox picked up the pace with a lead-off double down the middle of the field. Mark Searles and Pearce Howard followed with hits loading up the bases for senior Tommy Sanchez. Sanchez got hit with a pitch sending Lennox home as Avalon opened up with two runs.
The Black Knights never fell behind in the game but during the 3rd inning the Heights scored twice to tie the game at 2-2. But the tie wouldn’t last long as the Black Knights next at bat they scored three times making the score 5-2. The Heights scored their only other run in the inning bringing the score to 5-3. The game ended with The Heights having one last chance to tie the game but was unable to do so.
Sanchez came in for Lennox after the 4th inning and only allowed one hit with no walks. Lennox got the win and finished the game with three hits, three walks and one earned run. That effort earned him an ERA of a 1.75 and giave him a season ERA of 1.43. Avalon’s other pitcher Sanchez closed the last three innings of the game to help them secure the win and had an ERA 0.00 on the game, which gives him a season ERA of 1.34. The Heights pitched Brady Hall for most of game after Guy DeSanctis was pulled early in the first inning after he gave up two earned runs. Hall ended the day with seven hits, one walk and no earn runs. He finished the game with a 0.00 ERA. He also had the most strikeouts with seven. But this wasn’t enough to give The Heights the win.
The Heights batting game struggle throughout the game, as they finished the game with a team batting average of .160. The Black Knights batted statistically better as they batted a team average of .308. Two athletes batted .1000; Mike Brunvoll and Paul Jackson while two other players batted .500; Mark Searles and Sanchez.
This win marks the first time in the Black Knights baseball history they have won their conference championship and the state championship in the same year. “It feels excellent, not so much because we won it, but because the guys, especially the seniors they wanted to do it so bad and seeing them accomplished that goal that’s really what makes me the most proud, that’s what I love the most about it,” said Avalon head coach Patrick Duffy.
This game marks the end of coach Jonathan Fritts rookie head coach campaign for The Heights. This game also marks the end of several players’ high school playing careers. The Heights will be graduating Joe Bruchalski, Matt Mccreary, Brady Hall, Michael Heinssen, Stefan Elliopoulos, and Alex Hadley. The Black Knights will be graduating Lennox, Sanchez, Brunvoll, Aspen Feldman, and Alex Jacobs. “It means a lot to me because from the beginning of the year we set out a goal to win both the conference and the state and that’s what’s been driving us all year long and to be able to get it is a great moment, especially me us a senior to go out with a win, it is a really great feeling,” Lennox said.