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Avalon Baseball's Josh Brunvoll featured in recent Gazette Article

 

A Who's Who of Montgomery County high school baseball would start with Sherwood ace pitcher Will Bouey and continue with Good Counsel's Kevin Doherty, Whitman's Michael Flack, Clarksburg's Brody Milligan and Quince Orchard's Peter Bowles.

But there is another list of players who are having seasons the equal of those stalwarts, but may not be as recognizable. The reasons are various, including being overshadowed by a teammate, playing for a smaller school or for a team that's struggling.

Sherwood pitcher Jamie Detjer and Whitman outfielder James Dionne fall into that first category, but both have distinguished themselves with their play on the field.

Detjer, the No. 2 starter behind the University of Maryland-bound Bouey, the playoffs with a 6-0 record and 0.99 earned-run average with one walk in 35 1/3 innings.

"He works fast, throws strikes and changes speeds," Goodman said. "His ball has good movement and is put in play, so players love playing behind him, knowing they get some action. Will is the hard thrower; Jamie is the junk-baller."

Dionne volunteered to move to the outfield to help Whitman a year ago and the move has worked out for both him and the Vikings, using his speed to track down would-be base hits. He has also been a terror at the plate and the base paths, batting .569 (33 for 58) with 28 runs scored, 12 batted in and 24 stolen bases in 27 attempts this season.

"I think teams overlook him because of his lack of size," Whitman coach Joe Cassidy said. "He is a kid who you cannot measure his heart. ... He loves Dustin Pedroia of the [Boston] Red Sox, and since I think they are the same size, he tries to emulate Pedroia's play on the field. He never takes a play off, has tremendous at bats and basically is the team energizer."

While Good Counsel, Georgetown Prep and Landon garner much of the private school looks, the county houses two other solid programs in Avalon and The Heights, which defeated the rival Black Knights, 17-2, in five innings to win the team's first Old Line Baseball Conference title recently.

Helping to lead the Cavaliers to that championship was George Koutris, a junior pitcher-first baseman, who has already improved on last year's numbers (.430, 34 RBI) with a spot in the Maryland State B Tournament final left on Wednesday. Through the weekend, Koutris was batting .519 with 43 RBI, 12 doubles and six triples.

"George is the best hitter I've ever coached, and the best two-strike hitter I've ever seen," Heights coach Brian Carroccio said. "He's able to keep his hands back longer than most and drive the ball to the opposite field. Also, he sports a 3.8 GPA, and was one of the leading scorers on the basketball team this year."

Although Avalon was unable to snare its first OLBC title -- it has been in the title game every season of the league's four-year existence -- the Black Knights boast one of the league's best players in shortstop Josh Brunvoll.

Brunvoll has torn the cover off the ball this season, including blasting seven home runs through the weekend. He is batting .544 (37 for 68) with six doubles, 39 RBI, 33 runs and 21 stolen bases.

"Josh is a hard worker who doesn't know when to stop," Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said. "He's the type of kid who has a batting cage in his backyard, and he does everything in his power to improve his swing every day. I've never seen a kid want to take so many cuts on a daily basis. He comes to practice and gets plenty of cuts, and then when he leaves, he's off to take more cuts."

Humility is a trait Richard Montgomery coach Bob George has found in sophomore Tyler Coleman, who the long-time county coach believes compares favorably with some of the best center fielders he has coached, including current Clarksburg coach Mat Derrick, who played for the Rockets in the early 1990s.

"If we need to get an out, we hope they hit a ball to center," George said. "His angles are spot-on and he makes every catch seem routine, even when they're not. As a sophomore, Tyler is one of the best I've seen at this early stage. Remember, I had Mat Derrick and David Crutchfield, both were first team All-Met in center field. He is also one of the more humble players I've had."

Through the weekend, Coleman had also showed adept ability at the plate. He was batting .543 while accounting for 25 percent of his team's runs and 33 percent of the team's hits, although his squad had recorded just a single win this season.

 

In a battle for first place in the Old Line Baseball Conference, Avalon used a three-run double to right center field by sophomore catcher Anthony Durbin with two out in the top of the seventh inning to score a 12-11 victory against arch-rival and host The Heights on Thursday.

Durbin went 3 for 3 for the game with the double, a triple and three runs batted in. Josh Brunvoll added two hits, a double and two RBI and Mike Brunvoll pitched well in his 2 1/3 innings of relief for the Black Knights (8-5), who improved to 5-0 in the OLBC.

 

"[Mike] Brunvoll did a great job of shutting them down," Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said. "He kept them off balance and did a super job. It showed a lot of heart in our guys [to come back]. We were missing two starters. Both were home with illness. It was a total team effort."

Avalon led 8-4 through 3 ½ innings but a three-run homer by Luke McCabe helped the Cavaliers (9-3, 2-1 OLBC) eventually pull ahead, 11-8, against Black Knights ace pitcher Harry Klein through five innings of play.

 

Besides McCabe, the Cavaliers were paced offensively by Will Marvin (2-5, 3 RBI), Jack Linehan (3-5, 3 runs, 2 doubles), Michael Buono (3-5) and George Koutris (2-4, double). The Heights banged out 19 hits.

 
Linehan surrendered 10 runs, six earned, in six innings. Brady Hall (0-1) took the loss, allowing two runs in an inning of work.
 
 
 

Black Knights come from behind against The Heights

Published on: Thursday, April 14, 2011

By Nick Coletta (The Sentinel)

 

POTOMAC – The Avalon Black Knights baseball team’s clutch hitting performance late in the game Thursday helped the school secure a come-from-behind win over Old Line Baseball Conference archrival The Heights School Cavaliers.

Sophomore Anthony Durbin hit a three-run double in the seventh inning to secure the Knight’s 12-11 victory. He also had a triple earlier in the game and was intentionally walked once.

The game jumped to a quick start in the first inning when Durbin, who went three for three in the game, scored from third base via a wild throw from the Cavaliers’ junior pitcher Jack Linehan. Later in the inning, freshman Mike Smith’s sacrifice groundout brought in another run to put the Knights ahead, 2-0, with six more innings to play.

Cavalier hitters came alive in the second inning with five hits, including sophomore outfielder Will Marvin’s hit deep into right field to bring in the first run of the game for his team. Two more runs came in for the Cavaliers in the second inning, advancing the team ahead, 3-2.

For the Knights, Durbin continued to make his presence felt in the third inning when he hit a triple deep into left center field and then scored the tying run off of Smith’s sacrifice fly out into right field.

The Cavaliers responded with a score of their own late in the third when Marvin hit a hard bouncer that went through the hands of the Knights’ freshman infielder Billy Lennox and allowed Linehan to score from second base.

Trailing 4-3, the Knights came alive with fury in the top of the fourth inning. Putting up five runs this inning, the Knights now posted an 8-4 lead with slightly more than half of the game in the books.

However, the Cavaliers refused to roll over quietly, posting a three-run inning in the bottom of the fourth and then a four-run inning in the bottom of the fifth to take an 11-8 lead with just two more innings left to play.

The game grew more intense in the top of the seventh when the Knights’ hitting came alive. Starting with Smith’s double to left center field, the Knights were able to load the bases with Durbin coming to the plate but not before acquiring two outs. Durbin, however, settled into the situation and sent the pitch soaring to right center field to bring in three runs, including the go-ahead run that put the Knights up, 12-11.

Unlike earlier in the game, Cavalier batters could not respond in the bottom of the seventh, allowing the Knights to take the win on the road Thursday night.

The Knights are now 8-5 overall and 5-0 in the Old Line Baseball Conference. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (9-3) drop to a 2-1 record in the conference.

 
 
 
For the second straight season and third time overall, the Avalon School's baseball team captured the Maryland State B private school tournament title, winning all five games in the double-elimination event, including Sunday's 9-3 win against rival and host The Heights.

Harry Klein (6-6) went the distance for the victory on the mound for the Black Knights (17-9), who defeated the Cavaliers (20-14) in all five meetings this spring. The two squads also face off in the Old Line Baseball Conference.

"He hit his spots and mixed it up to keep them off balance," Avalon coach Pat Duffy said. "He forced a lot of pop-ups."

Offensively, Josh Brunvoll, in his first action since suffering a concussion, belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the third to cut the Cavaliers' initial lead to 3-2.

Avalon rolled from there. Brunvoll finished 2 for 3 with four RBI for the game. John Mason batted .563 with seven RBI during the state tournament.

Nick Testo, who switched from catcher to shortstop with Brunvoll's injury, doubled prior to Brunvoll's home run. He also walked twice, was hit by a pitch and scored twice.

 
"They could have hung their head when we were 3-7, but they knew good things around the corner," said Duffy, whose team won 14 of its final 16 games. "The guys genuinely cared how each other played." 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Avalon back to the final

For the third time in the league's three-year existence, the Avalon Black Knights will play in the Old Line Baseball Conference final after besting The Heights, 11-1, in five innings during Thursday's semifinal round.

John Mason struck out three and allowed one unearned run in four innings of work to pick up the win while Mike Brunvoll worked a scoreless fifth.

At the plate, Dante Stumpo doubled twice and drove in three runs. Josh Brunvoll and Mason each knocked in two runs for the Black Knights (12-8), who will face No. 1 seed and Riverdale Baptist Saturday. The Crusaders defeated Washington Christian, 10-5, Thursday.

Riverdale defeated Avalon in the previous two OLBC championship games and in both regular season games this spring.

From The Gazette.net (May 7, 2010)
Article by James Peters 

Avalon baseball tops Heights in conference play

by James Peters, Gazette Sports Writer

The Heights left-handed pitcher Luke McCabe and Avalon right-handed hurler Harry Klein started Tuesday's meeting with quick, efficient first innings. It looked like a pitchers' duel in the making.  After a 12-pitch first, however, the hurlers' performances diverged dramatically. Avalon won a commanding, 11-0, five-inning victory in their Old Line Baseball Conference season-opener.


With the win, Avalon takes the early lead in the Red Rose Cup series inaugurated between the two schools.

Klein, a junior, continued his dominating start, allowing just two hits in his complete-game effort. He also struck out five, including Cavaliers leadoff batter Nolan Kime to end the game. Four of those strikeouts came in a row to end the second inning and begin the third. Klein did not walk a batter, usually throwing a first-pitch strike to get ahead early.

 

"I was using my fastball to set up my cutter to the tight corner and they pretty much couldn't touch anything on 0-2 or 1-2 [counts]," said Klein, who tossed 63 pitches and improved to 2-2. "I just went out there and threw my hardest game."

 

McCabe was not nearly as fortunate. Walks, timely hits and some costly errors forced him out of the game in the third inning with his squad trailing 7-0. He was tagged for all eight runs Avalon notched in the first three innings after lefty reliever Joe Kelly surrendered an inherited run before picking off a runner to end the third.

McCabe threw just five pitches to get out of the first inning unscathed but started the second with a walk of Nick Testo (three walks, three runs) that was followed by an error at second base. The Black Knights (3-4) then scored five runs on a sacrifice fly by Dante Stumpo, a double by Mike Brunvoll, a groundout by Steven Funk and run-scoring singles by Anthony Durbin and Mike Smith.

 

"We could never get back [after the five-run second inning]," said Cavaliers coach Brian Carroccio, whose squad dropped to 7-4 overall, 1-2 in the OLBC. "We could never put anything together. That second inning, I really think it got us down. Klein, he's shut us down two years in a row now. He pitched ahead and he got our guys to chase and we didn't have an answer for it."

 

McCabe walked Testo again to start the third inning and then an error put Klein on base. McCabe got the next two outs, but in between Testo scored on another error. Klein later scored on a groundball back to McCabe, who threw to first base without checking the runner to make the score 7-0. Brunvoll later reached on a fielder's choice and scored on an error for an 8-0 advantage.

 

The Black Knights added a run in the fourth on a run-scoring single by Klein and then three in the fifth largely on run-scoring singles by Klein and Stumpo for an 11-run lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Tim Finnell reached base on an error to start the bottom of the fifth but Klein worked a pop out to short, a line out to left field and then the strikeout of Kime.

 

"It was just good to see us play a complete game," Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said. "I think it's we've been a little up and down. I think this is a game that's really going to give us some confidence moving forward."

 


 
 
5/23/09
Avalon wins Maryland State B Private School Championship
Black Knights beat St. Maria Goretti, 6-2; Testo goes 3 for 3 with three RBIs
by James Peters | Staff Writer

Powered by the hitting of Nick Testo and Ivan Wood, and the pitching of Harry Klein, the Avalon baseball team won the Maryland State B Private School championship, 6-2 over St. Maria Goretti at Shirley Povich Field Wednesday.
 
Klein allowed two runs in five innings of work to pick up his seventh win in 10 decisions for the Black Knights (16-9). Ace pitcher Bennie Sanchez, who racked up six wins this season, worked two shutout innings to seal the victory.
 
Testo, the team's catcher, went 3 for 3 with three runs batted in to give him 24 for the season. Ivan Wood added a hit, three walks and two RBIs against J.J. O'Neill, who Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said is headed to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and who has a fastball that can rise to 90 miles per hour.
 
"We really weren't sure what kind of team we would have," said Duffy, who has reached the championship game four out of the last five years. "We've never had a team play this close. Their togetherness was just unbelievable. They truly wanted to see each other succeed."
 
Goretti took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning but Avalon quickly tied the contest on a run-scoring single by Testo to bring home Josh Brunvoll. Avalon then took the lead on a Testo RBI in the third inning. St. Maria knotted the score on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth.
 
After seeing its first two batters go down via strikeout in the bottom of the fourth, the Black Knights got a two-run double by Wood. Testo knocked in another run with a double in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 5-2 advantage and a groundball by Klein brought another run.
 
The win was the 100th of Duffy's career. Sanchez, who finished the year with 104 strikeouts, Klein, Testo and Wood were named to the all-tournament team. Klein went 2-0 with a 0.58 ERA in the tournament while Testo batted .643 and Wood had seven RBI during the team's four-game championship run.

The Herald-Mail

Preps Roundup

May 21, 2009
 
Avalon 6, Goretti 2

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Chris Testo had three hits and three RBIs to lead Avalon past St. Maria Goretti in the championship round of the Maryland Private Schools ‘B’ Tournament on Wednesday.

J.J. O’Neill struck out 12 in a losing effort for the Gaels (10-13). Will Murray and Aaron Wilkinson each had an RBI.
 


Goretti 100 100 0 — 2 5 0
Avalon 101 202 x — 6 7 1

O’Neill, Murray (6) and Donoghue. Klein, Sanchez (6) and Testo. WP — Klein. LP — O’Neill (3-4).
 
 
 
Montgomery County Gazette
Baseball Round Up
May 12, 2009
by James Peters, Staff Writer
 
Avalon falls in OLBC final
 
Despite another solid outing by pitcher Bennie Sanchez, Avalon fell, 3-0, to Riverdale Baptist Monday in the final of the Old Line Baseball Conference. Sanchez (5-5), who worked all six innings, allowed three runs with nine strikeouts. Sanchez finished the season with 95 strikeouts and a 1.05 earned run average in 60 innings.
 
 
 
 
 
Sanchez No-Hits WCA in Avalon rout, 16-0
A roundup of the week in county baseball and softball
Montgomery County Gazette
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
 
Stars rising in county circles
by James Peters
 
Avalon pitcher Bennie Sanchez threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Washington Christian Academy on Friday. He struck out 14 and allowed just one walk to break up the potential perfect game in a 16-0 win by the Black Knights. Washington Christian entered the game in first place in the Old Line Baseball Conference a 4-1 league record.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Avalon diamond gem Bolden heading South to N.C.




Fact is, early spring weather in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country is unpredictable at best. It’s why so many baseball players from the area dream of playing further South, just like recent Avalon School graduate Matt Bolden.

He’ll have that chance starting next spring, having signed a scholarship offer from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College (Laurinburg, N.C.), an NCAA Division II program.

Bolden, who suffers from Type I Diabetes, a condition that he monitors during offensive half of innings and adjusts accordingly with an insulin pump, packed up his cleats, glove and bat and left Watkins Mill High School following his sophomore year and headed to Avalon in Bethesda, where he became one of the school’s most prolific offensive players. This past spring he set a school record for batting average in a season at .524.

His travels didn’t stop there as last summer Bolden joined Elite Baseball of Lancaster (Pa.), a new organization that travels up and down the East Coast, to promote its players at various showcase tournaments during the fall and summer seasons. It’s during just such a tournament last fall that the St. Andrew’s coaching staff received its first glimpse of Bolden, who chose the Knights over Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Millersville University (Pa.), also D-II programs.

‘‘The coach contacted me and wanted me to come visit,” said Bolden. ‘‘[St. Andrew’s coach Keith Williams] saw me do a light workout and he was very interested. We kept talking from there. He’s a very good coach and I’ve always wanted to play southern baseball to be in the nicer weather. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking to improve down there.

‘‘He told me that I would likely start in right field and maybe play some left and first base but I’d be starting right away. For Avalon, I played third base but for [Elite] I play in the outfield. I find I do better at it. I just find it more fun. I like chasing balls down.”

Opposing outfielders had to chase down many hard hit balls by Bolden the past two years, including this past spring as he added 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 23 runs scored and 35 runs batted in to the impressive .524 batting average to earn All-Gazette second-team honors and first-team Old Line Baseball Conference recognition.

‘‘Matt Bolden has been one of the finest players I have ever coached in my 11 years of coaching high school baseball,” Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said. ‘‘He is a true competitor. A hard-nosed, leave-it-all-out-there, never-let-up type of athlete, and I am very confident that he will have great success at the college level. He came to Avalon with a chip on his shoulder because he was never given a fair opportunity at his public school, Watkins Mill. He also had a dream to play at the next level, and from day one of being at Avalon he worked extremely hard to improve on his game.”

Bolden’s stats last spring included a 2-for-3 performance with a double against Gazette Player of the Year Kevin Brady, a Baltimore Orioles draft pick and Clemson University (S.C.) signee, and three hits in six at-bats against Riverdale Baptist’s Tommy Winegardner, who has signed with Coastal Carolina (S.C.).

‘‘His senior year was nothing short of outstanding,” said Duffy of Bolden, ‘‘He played third base for us the entire year, and helped lead the offense. St. Andrew’s is very fortunate to be getting such a high-caliber player in Matt Bolden. In my mind he has Division I ability, but Division II St. Andrew’s seems to be a great fit for him. He has an opportunity to start right away, the academic opportunities meet his needs, and the overall environment of the school is what he was looking for.”

St. Andrew’s compiled a 15-37 record under Williams in his first year at the school this spring.

 

http://gazette.net/stories/042308/rockspo203447_32359.shtml

Sanchez is Avalon baseball’s top gun
by James Peters | Staff Writer

When it comes to hitting and defense, Avalon School baseball coach Patrick Duffy believes his squad is at or near where it needs to be to have a successful season, especially offensively. But holding the Black Knights back from having more success has been an inconsistent pitching staff.

That’s been true except for junior Benny Sanchez, who had garnered a 3-3 record with a 2.82 earned-run average and 37 strikeouts in 30 innings through Monday. The rest of the staff has not been able to keep pace, however, and that’s a big reason the team’s record is 6-5 overall and 1-1 in the Old Line Baseball Conference.

‘‘We’re a little up and down,” said Duffy, whose team will play league foes Spencerville Academy and Washington Christian Academy this week as well as participate in the four-team Bullis tournament this weekend. ‘‘We’re trying to find a little more consistency with the pitching. We need some other guys [to pitch well] as we start to wind the season down. Lately, we’ve been hitting the ball and our defense has improved a ton since the beginning of the season.”

Leading the team’s hitting attack have been senior third baseman Matt Bolden (.436, two home runs, 13 RBI, .692 slugging percentage), senior shortstop John Halo (.472, 12 RBI, .500 on-base percentage), junior center fielder Malik Bob (.400, three triples, eight RBI, eight stolen bases), senior outfielder Joe Funk (.524, eight RBI, seven stolen bases, .600 OBP) and junior first baseman Haider Fahs (.476, two home runs, eight RBI).

Duffy said Bolden is close to signing with one of the three following NCAA Division II college programs — Millersville (Pa.), Indiana (Pa.) University of Pennsylvania or St. Andrew’s (S.C.). Funk is a DeMatha transfer who sat out the last two seasons at the Prince George’s County private-school powerhouse because of illness and league transfer rules. Fahs has produced his gaudy numbers in just seven games after returning from March knee surgery.


Fuqua Honored By A-10 After Shutout Performance
Becomes First Freshman Explorer to Throw Complete Game Shutout since 1985

March 10, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - La Salle University freshman pitcher Kevin Fuqua has been named the Atlantic 10 Conference's Rookie of the Week and Co-Pitcher of the Week for his three-hit complete game shutout performance against Cornell on Friday, which gave the Explorers their first win of the season.

In the 1-0 victory, Fuqua became the first freshman at La Salle to throw a complete game shutout since Joe Marykwas shut out Robert Morris in March 1985 and registered the first Explorers shutout since Dan Waters blanked Fordham on March 26, 2005.

The right hander faced 25 batters in the scheduled seven-inning game, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out nine batters. Only once - in the second inning - did a Cornell base runner stand on third base.

That was in the second inning, when Cornell's Kaleb Hutchinson singled through the left side with one out. Brian Kaufman then drew the only walk of the game before Scott Hardinger flew out to center and Hutchinson tug up to put runners on the corners. However, Fuqua got Kyle Groth swinging to end the threat.

After Cornell's Domenic Di Ricco hit a one-out double in the top of the third - the only extra base hit allowed by Fuqua - he would retired 14 of the final 15 batters, six by strikeout and, at one point, 10 straight.

Fuqua becomes just the third La Salle pitcher to be named A-10 Rookie of the Week, as former Explorer Bryan Harvey was honored in March 2001, and Kenny Elkind took the honor in March 2005.

He is the first Explorer to garner both the Pitcher and Rookie honor in the same week and becomes just the third Explorer to be named Pitcher of the Week - as Gerard Breslin was the only one ever named twice (March 2004 and April 2007), and Eric Ruhland (March 2003) and John Polillo (March 1997) were each recognized once.

Fuqua shared the honor with Rhode Island's Brett Palanski, who allowed just two hits over seven innings in the Rams' 8-0 victory over Central Connecticut State. He issued just one walk and struck out three in the victory.

For the season, Fuqua (1-1) is leading the Explorers in ERA (3.18), innings pitched (17.0), strikeouts (17), and opponents batting average (.210). In his first collegiate start, he went 6.0 innings, allowing just one run, four hits and struck out five at Elon on Feb. 23.


October 24, 2007 – 09:00 AM
A league of their own
Small county private high schools form brand-new baseball conference
by James Peters | Staff Writer

Tired of trying to find a league for his baseball team to compete in, The Heights coach Brian Carroccio decided to form one.

‘‘Last year during the season, I talked with a few coaches before the games and said, `You’re not in a league. We’re not in a league. Would you guys be interested,’” Carroccio said. ‘‘I sort of felt a lot of people out and I did some e-mails over the summer. I got the whole thing together.”
The Heights have played an independent schedule since the 2002 season after the Potomac Baseball Association folded when members St. Maria Goretti and St. John’s Prospect Hall (now called St. John’s Catholic Prep) left to join other leagues.

‘‘It’s great,” Carroccio said. ‘‘It’s good for our guys to actually be able to play for something.”

The new league, which will likely be called the Old Line Baseball Conference, includes the Avalon School, Riverdale Baptist, Spencerville Adventist Academy and Washington Christian Academy, the last two schools are located in Silver Spring.

‘‘Brian Carroccio ... is responsible for putting all this together,” Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said. ‘‘He has been looking for a conference to get into for a few years now. Obviously, we were doing the same, and both sides wanted something that wasn’t going to restrict the amount of games we were allowed to play, which is what some of the other conferences do.

‘‘This is an important variable because colleges love to see kids playing lots of baseball, getting at-bats, and one thing we’ve been able to offer student-athletes, here at Avalon, is a schedule with 30-plus games (scrimmages and tournaments included). We graduated three seniors last year, all three received offers, and two signed with respected programs, while the third chose to concentrate on academics.”

Duffy said other factors, including travel time, also contributed the formation of the league.

‘‘The goal was to find teams within 40 minutes of each other, who either wanted to join a conference, or were looking to play in a more competitive conference,” he said. ‘‘Obviously, we wanted this new conference to be competitive, and relevant to what serious student athletes are looking for, so adding a powerhouse school such as Riverdale Baptist was imperative.

‘‘It legitimizes the conference right off the bat. The distance was important because we felt if teams didn’t have to travel over an hour for a weekday game they’d be more inclined to join.”

Some of the league rules include the following: the teams play each other twice in the regular season and will participate in a end-of-year conference tournament; no team has any formal roster requirements other than players being enrolled in the school or in a home-school program affiliated with the school; and coaches will select both an all-tournament team and an all-league team.

Carroccio will serve as the commissioner for at least the first year, while Duffy will be in charge of Website production and media relations.

April 20, 2007
(from Montgomery Gazette)

Avalon’s Fuqua will play D-I baseball
LaSalle is first to land player out of new school
by James Peters | Staff Writer

Avalon senior Kevin Fuqua made school history Friday afternoon, and all he did was write his name.

In signing with LaSalle (Pa.) University to play baseball for the next four years, Fuqua became the small private school’s first Division I college signee in its four-year existence.
The significance of that moment was not lost on Fuqua, a second team All-Gazette pitcher a year ago.

‘‘It really is kind of cool,” said Fuqua, who has guided the Black Knights to a 9-3 record this season. ‘‘When I found out I was going Division I, my coach told me don’t sign it yet. We’ll take pictures and [celebrate].”

Avalon coach Patrick Duffy followed through with Friday’s signing ceremony at the school. Fuqua signed his talents over to LaSalle coach Lee Saverio over interest from Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond (Va.) and Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.).

‘‘Basically, it reminds me of my sister’s school,” said Fuqua, comparing LaSalle with Salisbury University. ‘‘The baseball field is in the center of the campus. You can walk from one end of the campus to the other in five minutes and the food there is great. The players look like I could get along with them and I know three [of them].”

Those familiar players are freshmen Christian Schulz, Kevin Jones and George Papuchis, a trio of Good Counsel graduates. Fuqua has played on various teams with Schulz, a left-handed pitcher, since he was nine years old. Quince Orchard graduate Justin Handler also plays at LaSalle.

‘‘It’s fantastic for him,” Duffy said of Fuqua’s signing. ‘‘He’s worked so hard and it’s something he really set out to do, to sign a Division I letter of intent. It’s great for our school, too. It’s so new it’s not on many people’s radar. It shows you can go to a small school and still get pretty good exposure.”

Since his arrival at the school in 2003, Fuqua has been the team’s top all-around player, leading the squad at the plate and on the mound. While playing a split junior varsity⁄varsity schedule during his four years as the program grew into a full-time varsity squad, Fuqua has batted .365 (72 for 197) with 75 runs, 60 runs batted in, 19 doubles and seven triples.

On the mound, he stands at 24-6 with a 1.73 earned-run average and 319 strikeouts in 202 2⁄3 innings. Fuqua has worked 23 complete games.

‘‘We knew we had a kid who would give us good innings and good, quality starts, but we had no idea he would be throwing this hard and have control over his offspeed pitches, as well,” Duffy said. ‘‘He developed a curveball his first year. As the years went on, he added a change-up, a slider and now he has knuckle curve. He’s just been a lot of fun to watch him.

‘‘He’s willing to do whatever it takes for the team. He’s a good guy, a good example to watch. He always wants the baseball when the game is on the line.”

This year, Fuqua, through the weekend, had compiled a .567 average (17 for 39) with 18 runs, five doubles, three triples and 15 RBI. On the mound, he had worked a 5-2 record with a 3.57 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 47 innings. Opponents are hitting .233 against him.

He joins a program that has numerous young players — 17 freshmen or sophomores — and that had compiled a 14-20 record and a 6-9 mark in the Atlantic-10 through the weekend.


April 4, 2007
Taney, Avalon baseball beat up on The Heights in doubleheader

Game One: Avalon 9, The Heights 4; Game Two: Avalon 6, The Heights 0
by James Peters | Staff Writer

Looking to enrich his high school baseball career, versatile sophomore Kevin Taney decided to transfer from Washington Christian Academy to the Avalon School this year.

For the Black Knights, who swept The Heights in a doubleheader Saturday by the scores of 9-4 and 6-0, his arrival couldn’t have come at a better time as the team’s already thin pitching staff — normally a committee effort behind ace Kevin Fuqua — was further depleted by the loss of Drew Berry to transfer to Magruder and the early-season absence of Joe Halo because of a broken ankle suffered during the basketball season.
Taney has been more than a stop-gap or fill-in, however, becoming instead a solid complement to the La Salle University-bound Fuqua on the mound — he’s won both starts this season, including first game win over the host Cavaliers (3-3) — while also quite capably assuming the vacant catcher duties with Halo on the mend.

‘‘We weren’t sure what we were going to get out of him,” Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said. ‘‘We knew there was some talent there but we weren’t quite sure how far along he was. But the last two starts, he’s just been everything for us.

‘‘This is his first time catching and he’s filled a huge hole for us. Joe Halo hurt his foot playing basketball and we were between a rock and a hard place. Kevin Taney stepped up for us. He’s just done a great job.”

The Heights got an up-close-and-personal look at exactly what Taney can do during Saturday’s doubleheader in what was a rematch of last year’s Maryland Private School B Tournament semifinals. Avalon (4-1 this year) won the three-game series last year, 2-1, and went on to capture the B title.

In the first game Saturday, Taney limited the Cavaliers to one run on four hits with a pair of strikeouts in five innings of work. Joe Halo, back in limited fashion, allowed three runs in the sixth and Fuqua closed out the game in the seventh for the win.

After pitching, Taney moved behind the plate, where he threw out a runner trying to steal second base to help limit The Heights’ three-run rally in the sixth inning. Taney, the team’s leadoff hitter, also tripled and scored in five plate appearances.

‘‘Kevin Taney, he’s great,” Fuqua said. ‘‘For him to just step in and start catching since Joe broke his ankle is just great. He’s such a great addition to this team. I don’t know what we’d do without him. He can throw the ball. He has a nice curveball. He’s well ahead of sophomores.”

Taney contributed a single, a walk, a run and two stolen bases in the team’s 6-0 win in game two and threw out another runner in the first inning while catching all seven innings of Fuqua’s complete-game gem. Fuqua (2-1) struck out 13 batters, including the side in the seventh inning, and limited The Heights to just two hits on 91 pitches. He struck out two or more batters in four innings.

‘‘I went out and I wanted to have fun,” said Fuqua, who chose to attend La Salle last month over Virginia Commonwealth, Rider and Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C). ‘‘At the beginning, my arm wasn’t feeling too good so I was like, ‘Just keep getting through it.’ As I went on, it just went away. My arm felt great.”

Taney and Fuqua’s performances on the mound overshadowed a strong effort by Heights hurler Alex Eliopoulos (1-1), who logged 12 strikeouts in the 6-0 loss.

Avalon didn’t experience similar power outages Saturday, especially first baseman Haider Fahs, who went 2 for 3 with a two-run triple and a steal of home in game one and 2 for 4 with two runs batted in on a pair of ground-rule doubles over the short right-field fence in the second game. Right field at The Heights consists of a large hill and a fence that yields home runs or ground-rule doubles depending how far left or right the ball travels. The farther left is ruled a home run.

Fuqua produced four hits, five runs and a double in the two games. Jason Redmon produced three hits, including two doubles, with two RBI in game two. John Halo chipped in three hits, three runs and an RBI in game one.

‘‘We’re in two tournaments with [Avalon] and the state playoffs so we’re going to try to catch them,” Carroccio said. ‘‘We’re going to try to improve to beat them.”


June 1, 2006
Congrats to P/3b Kevin Fuqua on being named to the 2006 Montgomery County All Gazette Team.


May 31, 2006
Bethesda/Rockville/Germantown Gazette

For Avalon, ‘B’ is good grade
Black Knights win title in first year of varsity play
Wednesday, May 31, 2006


by James Peters
Staff Writer


With just two of his large repertoire of pitches crossing the plate for strikes, Avalon High junior pitcher Kevin Fuqua didn’t have his ‘‘A” game going when the Black Knights played Bishop Walsh last Thursday for the Maryland State Private School B Tournament at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick.

Even his stuff graded out at ‘‘B” level, his sneaky slider and blazing fastball were enough to lead Avalon to the tournament championship in its first varsity season with a 4-3 win over their opponents from Cumberland.

‘‘He didn’t have his best stuff ... but he still dominated,” Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said. ‘‘It was one of the more impressive performances [by Fuqua this year]. He just overpowered Bishop Walsh with his fastball.”

Fuqua (10-3) went the distance, allowing one earned run with 15 strikeouts and a walk in seven innings. He walked just one batter, struck out the side twice and blew a fastball past the last batter in the seventh to preserve the victory after surrendering a two-out single.

‘‘It’s huge for the school being so young,” said Duffy, whose squad defeated The Heights (12-8) in a best-of-three series to reach Thursday’s final and finished the season with a 15-10-1 record. ‘‘Something like this can really put us on the map, so to say. We had to have half our school there. It was a big lift.”

Bishop Walsh took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning but the damage could have been worse if not for a well-executed play at the plate by Avalon when a Bishop Walsh player tried to turn a triple into an inside-the-park home run.

Right fielder Erick Chhut ran the ball down and then threw to shortstop John Halo, who then relayed the ball to catcher Joe Halo for the out at home.

The Black Knights rallied for a 3-2 lead in the top of the second, scoring on a single by junior center fielder Drew Berry (3 for 4, double, RBI) and a failed double play on a ball hit by Halo with the bases loaded that allowed two runs to score for a 3-2 lead.

They pushed the lead to 4-2 in the top of the fourth inning as Berry doubled to right field and then scored on a single by Halo.

‘‘John Halo really showed up for the postseason,” Duffy said. ‘‘He was absolutely fantastic at the plate. He was up and down during the season. To step up on that kind of stage was outstanding.”


May 26, 2006
Cumberland Times-News
Published: May 26, 2006 09:51 am

Fuqua, Avalon rally to defeat Bishop Walsh, 4-3
From Staff Reports

FREDERICK — Bishop Walsh scored two runs in the bottom of the first, but Kevin Fuqua settled down to collect 14 strikeouts and lead Avalon to a 4-3 win over the Spartans in the Maryland Private Schools Small School State Championship game.

Jeremy Sneathen started the Spartan first by reaching on an error. He then stole second and was brought home on a single by Johnny Taylor. Taylor would come around to score the second run on a Chandler Tomlinson double.

Avalon struck back in the top of the second inning with three runs to take the lead. Foss and Griffal drew walks and Collen was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Drew Barry came through with one of his two hits, a single that scored both Foss and Griffal. Collen would score on a fielder’s choice and Avalon was up 3-2.

Barry then hit a double in the Avalon fourth and scored the insurance run on a single by Eric Halo.

The Spartans scored their third run in the fifth inning when Grant Riggleman scored on a Ray Miller single. Miller finished 3-for-3 with two singles and a triple.

Fuqua may have had 14 strikeouts, but according to coach Sam Torres the Spartans had their chances.

“We had several opportunities throughout the game but kept falling short. Their pitcher worked hard and got ahead of us often to keep us off balance.”

Bishop Walsh was making its first trip to the state finals since 1997, after winning the championship in both ’97 and 1995.


May 25, 2006
Thursday Night, May 25, 2006- Avalon (15-10-1) defeated Bishop Walsh 4-3 to win the Maryland State Private School B Tournament.

Game Highlights

Bottom 1st: Bishop Walsh leadoff batter, Miller, is thrown out trying to stretch a triple into a home run. RF Erik Chhut (SO) threw to shortstop John Halo (SO), and John threw a perfect strike to his brother, Joe Halo (JR, c), at home plate for the out. Bishop Walsh would score 2 runs in the bottom of the first inning, and lead 2-0.

Top 2nd: Avalon starts inning off w/ 2 walks by Haider Fahs (FR, 1b) and Ethan Griffith (SO, lf), and then Timmy Cullen (SO, 2b) was hit by a pitch. After a strikeout by Hayden Jewett (JR, dh), Drew Berry (JR, cf) singled home Fahs. John Halo then hit what appeared to be an inning ending double play, but BW threw the ball away to first, and 2 Avalon players scored. Avalon would lead 3-2 after 1 ½ innings.

Bottom 2nd: Kevin Fuqua (JR, p) strikes out all 3 BW batters, and throws only 9 pitches for the inning.

Bottom 3rd: BW leadoff batter, Miller, gets on base w/ an infield single. Three pitches later, while trying to steal second base, Miller is thrown out by Avalon catcher Joe Halo. Next batters are retired in order.

Top 4th: With 2 outs, Drew Berry doubles to right field. John Halo follows with a single to centerfield, scoring Berry. Avalon leads 4-2 after 3 ½ innings.

Bottom 4th: Fuqua strikes out all 3 BW batters.

Bottom 5th: BW gets a single from Riggleman with 1 out. Riggleman steals second, advances to third on a throwing error, and later scores on a Miller base hit. Avalon leads 4-3 after 5.

Bottom 7: After striking out the first 2 batters of the inning, Fuqua gives up a single to Riggleman. Riggleman, with a 2-2 count, fouled off 6 straight pitches before smacking the single to centerfield. Fuqua would settle down, and get a 2-2 count on Peterson. Fuqua blew a fastball past him for the last out of the game.

Avalon 4, Bishop Walsh 3

Stats:

Fuqua 7 ip, 3 r, 1 er, 15 STRIKE OUTS, 1 bb, batting: 1-4, 2b

Berry 3-4, 2b, r, rbi

John Halo 1-4, 3 rbi

Joe Halo 0-2, 2 hit by pitches, 1 runner thrown out stealing

Nick Marshall (SO, 3b) 2-4

Fahs 0-3, bb, r

Griffith 1-2, 2 bb, r, sb

Cullen 0-3, hit by pitch, r



May 3, 2006
Date: May 3, 2006
Publisher: The Gazette (Rockville)
Section: Community Sports
Author: James Peters



With large repertoire, Fuqua makes his pitch

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

When Avalon School junior Kevin Fuqua takes the mound, he likes to make batters play his version of the guessing game. While the average high-school pitcher has a couple of pitches to challenge batters, Fuqua, a powerfully built right-hander from Rockville, can confidently throw four different pitches for strikes at any time.

Just ask perennial area powerhouse Riverdale Baptist, which fell, 4-2, to Avalon (10-5-1) last week as Fuqua struck out 10 and allowed one earned run in the complete-game effort. He added seven more strikeouts and allowed one run in four innings during Monday’s 11-1 five-inning rout of host St. Mary’s of Annapolis.

Of the Riverdale Baptist game, Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said, ‘‘They couldn’t find a certain pattern — a fastball, curveball, slider. The pattern is constantly changing. That’s what’s so huge because guys are staying off-balance. You hear guys on the other bench say, ‘Hey, look curveball,’ and he throws a fastball in on the hands. The batter’s done. The same thing: ‘Watch that fastball,’ and he throws that slider down and away, and the kids are fishing.”

Fuqua’s confidence in his pitches — a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a curveball, a change-up and a slider — has transformed him into the ace of the Bethesda private school’s staff and one of the area’s most accomplishment pitchers.

‘‘I can have him throw a 3-0 curveball just to kind of send the batter a message and you kind of battle back from there,” Duffy said. ‘‘He has a lot of confidence. He’s been clocked at 87 [miles per hour]. He’s consistently added velocity every year. He came in throwing 81 and he was throwing 84 at the end last year. We’re hoping he can add a couple of more and get some looks from some D-I schools.”

A year ago, as Avalon, a third-year program, played a mixed junior-varsity and varsity schedule, Fuqua compiled a 6-1 record with a save and a 2.10 earned-run average. He struck out 67 batters in 50 innings.

‘‘He’s our best pitcher,” said Joe Halo, a Fuqua teammate. ‘‘Everything works for him. All of his pitches are real good. Nobody can touch his curveball. He’s confident on the mound.”

Currently, Fuqua has a 6-2 record with two saves and a stingy 1.02 ERA. He has struck out 85 in 52 innings, and before Monday’s contest, opposing batters were hitting a mere .163 off him.

‘‘My dad [Chuck Fuqua] sort of helped me with it,” Fuqua said of his pitching. ‘‘He taught me most of my things: How to pitch, mechanics, my pitches. He taught me my curveball, my change-up. He didn’t really play baseball. He just liked it and taught me.”

Besides his impressive array of pitches, Duffy said Fuqua’s success stems from his dedication to his craft.

‘‘His work ethic is great,” the coach said. ‘‘He’ll throw on the side. If he’s struggling with anything mentally or physically, he wants to try to work it out before game day. He makes sure he gets his throwing in between games. He’s kind of got this refuse-to-lose attitude, too, and you can tell the other kids pick up on that. They almost feed off on it. They get a little bit of an edge when Kevin’s on the mound. You can see it in their warm-ups.”

Fuqua has given the team a big lift at the plate, as well. As a sophomore, he batted .338 with 19 runs batted in. He has increased that average this spring to .418, with 11 RBI, six doubles and 15 runs.

Fuqua is already drawing attention from college recruiters, including the University of South Florida, Penn State, Elon (N.C.) and a host of Division III schools. He hopes to attract even more interest this summer with appearances in some high-school showcase games while also possibly playing for Rockville Post 86 and a Montgomery County Baseball Association squad.


April 5, 2006
Rockville Gazette

Fuqua is a winner again for Avalon
Junior pitcher has all three wins this season for Black Knights
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

by James Peters

Staff Writer


When junior pitcher Kevin Fuqua takes the mound for the Avalon High baseball team, the Black Knights are a tough team to beat.

Last week, in his two outings, Fuqua, who went 6-1 with a 2.10 earned-run average a year ago, recorded back-to-back shutouts to improve to 3-1 on the season, giving him all three of the team’s victories this spring through Sunday.

His commanding performance began with a 7-0 shutout of Jewish Day last Tuesday as Fuqua struck out 10 batters in five innings of work. Haider Fahs sparked the team offensively with a three-run home run.

After Avalon endured an 11-0, five-inning loss to St. Albans, the defending Interstate Athletic Conference champions, last Thursday, Fuqua went the distance for a 1-0 win Saturday in what was the first game of a doubleheader with host Bishop Walsh.

In that victory, Fuqua struck out seven, walked two and allowed one hit in the complete-game effort. Joe Halo knocked in John Halo in the fourth inning to account for Avalon’s one run. Fuqua set up Joe Halo’s game-winning hit with a fly ball that moved John Halo to third base after he doubled to open the inning.

The team’s offense struggled again in the second game with Bishop Walsh, resulting in a 2-0 loss despite a strong combined effort on the mound from Drew Berry, who allowed a run in 3 2⁄3 innings, and Joe Halo, who surrendered a run in 1 1⁄3 innings in relief.

‘‘They’re defense was very good,” said Avalon coach Patrick Duffy, whose squad had a 3-3-1 record through Sunday. ‘‘Both teams’ defense and pitching were just fantastic. We had four hits total in the doubleheader

‘‘We’re up and down. I think our defense and pitching are really coming around but we’ve just go to get more with the bats. We go to Bishop Walsh and score one run in two games. We’ve got to have more consistency.”

Before the St. Albans contest, Avalon had scored a total of 23 runs in wins over Randolph Macon and Jewish Day.


March 22, 2006
Montgomery County Gazette Baseball Preview


Wednesday, March 22, 2006
James Peters

In the private-school ranks, Avalon will play a complete varsity schedule, led by junior pitcher⁄third baseman Kevin Fuqua, who went 6-1 with a save, a 2.10 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 50 innings last year. He also hit .338 with 19 RBI.

‘‘Kevin has been our top pitcher all three years,” Black Knights coach Patrick Duffy said. ‘‘He’s putting up some real impressive stats. He can throw a knuckle curve and a slurve and his fastball is in the mid-80s.”

Junior pitcher⁄catcher Joe Halo (.276, 20 RBI), junior center fielder Drew Berry (.375) and sophomore shortstop John Halo (.250) are the team’s other top players.


May 22, 2005
Date: May 22, 2005
Publisher: The Washington Post
Section: Sports
Web Address: Update



Avalon Reaches Final
------------------------


Sophomore pitcher Kevin Fuqua struck out eight and allowed just six hits and an unearned run to lead the Avalon School past the Heights, 2-1, in the Maryland Private School B conference semifinals. Avalon got its runs in the fifth, on an error on Fuqua's ground ball.

Avalon (13-2) will visit St. Maria Goretti at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow for the championship game.


May 18, 2005
Date: May 18, 2005
Publisher: The Gazette (Potomac)
Section: Community Sports
Author: James Peters
Web Address: Article

Heights falls in first state game
by James Peters
Staff Writer


May 18, 2005

Facing a tough hurler in Avalon sophomore Kevin Fuqua Monday, The Heights baseball team began the Maryland State Private School B Tournament with a 9-2 loss.

Fuqua, who mixed a good fastball with an excellent slider, recorded 12 strikeouts against two walks and two hits by Ritchie Loria, who hit a fifth-inning single, which broke up the no-hitter, and a seventh-inning triple that scored his team's first run.

Loria then reached home in the same inning on an error, Avalon's only defensive miscue of the game. Offensively, Avalon banged out 11 hits against Andy Reitz (4 innings) and Peter Eliopoulos (3 innings). It also benefited from eight walks, six by Reitz, and five errors committed by the Cavaliers.

Avalon capitalized on two errors, two walks and two hits to take a 5-0 lead in the third inning.

Catcher Chris Berset helped limit the damage by throwing out a potential base stealer and picking off another runner at second base.

Bishop Walsh was to play St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown Tuesday. The winner of that game will play Avalon Thursday, while the loser will play The Heights on Thursday. Game times are tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m.


May 8, 2005
Date: Sunday May 8, 2005
Publisher: The Washington Post
Section: Sports (High School)
Author: Jon Goldberg
Web Address: News & Notes


Eighth-grade first baseman Haider Fahf's sixth-inning triple drove home freshman left fielder Ethan Griffith and helped The Avalon School remain undefeated with an 11-8 victory over Washington Christian at South Valley Field in Montgomery Village.

The Avalon School (9-0) is in its second year of existence and has no junior or senior class. The team's other eighth-grader, reliever Nick Loftus, got the save after entering with one out in the sixth inning.

"If you count JV games our record is 14-4," Coach Patrick Duffy said. "We've surprised some guys. Things have been rolling for us so far, and we're not going to start lacrosse until baseball is up and going. School President Richard McPherson made baseball the athletic department's spring priority."