2009-2013 Highlights

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Bennie Sanchez '09, Named Sun Conference Player of the Week!
Baseball Pitcher of the Week - Bennie Sanchez

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Sun Conference announced on Monday that Bennie Sanchez of SCAD Savannah has earned the first Pitcher of the Week honor for the 2011 season.

Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Truett-McConnell over the weekend, finally surrendering a hit in the seventh frame. The sophomore hurler from Bethesda, Md. pitched a shutout against the Bears, allowing just one hit and three walks while fanning six Bear batters.

Other Nominees
Jake Kutsukos, Northwood
Kevin Maloney, Embry-Riddle
Brett Stanton, Warner
Dimitri Nunez, Southeastern


Avalon returns victorious from Vero Beach
The Black Knights capped off a successful road trip to Florida with a 12-2 victor over the Ontario Blue Jays, on Sunday at Lakewood Regional Park, in Fort Pierce, FL.  Avalon had traveled to the Vero Beach Sports Village for 5 days of practice and games, and the team left the Sunshine State with a 2-1 record.
On Saturday, Sophomore Mike Brunvoll was masterful in 5 innings of work.  The left hander struck out 5 batters, but more impressively was his strikes to balls ratio.  Mike's efficiency was outstanding as he threw 58 pitches, and 47 for strikes.  He also picked off 3 base runners at first base with a killer pick off move.
Down 3-2 late in the game, Senior John Mason's 2-run single put Avalon ahead to stay, and the Black Knights scored two more runs in the inning, thanks to timely hitting.  Freshman Billy Lennox threw the 7th inning, and picked up his first varsity save.
In their second game on Saturday, Avalon had the privilege of playing in the legendary Holman Stadium.  Holman Stadium was of course the Spring Training home for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for over 50 years.  
Senior Harry Klein pitched 4 innings for the Black Knights, in a game that featured mostly offense against St. John's School, of Houston, TX.  Sophomore Anthony Durbin's hot hitting continued, and he was a combined 4 for 7 with a triple on Saturday.  Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as the Texans defeated Avalon 8-6.

Avalon baseball gets back to winning ways

After stumbling twice since returning from Vero Beach, the Black Knights were able to pull themselves back to .500, and 1-0 in the OLBC.  A heartbreaking loss to Georgetown Prep (5 to 4) and a close loss to Severn School (7 to 4) were tough pills to swallow, but Avalon was able to man handle both Washington Christian Academy, and St. Anselm's Abbey School, and finish 2-1 for the weekend.
In their OLBC season debut on Friday, the Avalon pitching staff shared the load with each pitcher throwing at least an inning a piece.  Offensively, the team started hot and stayed so throughout, as both Sophomore Anthony Durbin and Senior Josh Brunvoll hit first inning home runs.  Eight Avalon batters record base hits, and six brought home multi-hit performances.  Josh Brunvoll was especially consistent, going 3-for-3, scoring 2 runs, and driving in 4.
After losing the opening game of the Wilson Tip-off Classic to St. Mary's Ryken, Avalon bounced back nicely with a 13-7 win over St. Anselm's Abbey School.  For the second time in two days, Avalon recorded two first inning home runs.  Junior Mike Smith, batting with one out in the bottom of the first inning, smoked a line drive to the right-center field gap, and the left handed centerfielder sped around the bases for the inside the park round trip.  The home run was Smith's second on the day, after he laced an opposite field home run over the left field fence at D.C.'s Friendship Park in the tournament opener.  Josh Brunvoll then added his second home run of the season as he hit an opposite field shot to the same spot Smith hit his, the right-center field gap, and Josh too legged out an inside the park homer.  
Sophomore Mike Brunvoll was efficient throwing three innings and striking out seven batters to record the win.  Smith threw three innings in relief, and Josh Brunvoll closed out the 7th inning.
Avalon (4-4, 1-0) has a busy week ahead as they play former OLBC member Riverdale Baptist on Monday, and conference games against Spencerville and St. Maria Goretti on Tuesday and Thursday.
Black Knight Weekend Notes:
  • Josh Brunvoll was 7-for-9 with 2 home runs, and 6 runs batted in over the weekend.
  • Mike Smith went 6-for-14 with 2 home runs, 6 runs scored, and 5 runs batted in.
  • Freshman Billy Lennox threw 2 scoreless innings vs. WCA, throwing to only 6 batters.
  • The Black Knights infield continued to play extremely well turning 3 double plays in 2 games on Saturday.
  • Leadoff batter Sophomore Anthony Durbin was 4-for-10, scored 6 times, and stole 4 bases.  
  • Despite playing Good Counsel on Thursday, St. Mary's Ryken saved top pitcher Lawrence Jarboe (NCAA D1 signee) for Avalon.

Klein and company roll past Goretti

March 31, 2011
On a cold and dreary day in Hagerstown, the Avalon Black Knights were able to overcome the elements and completed a late-inning rally for a 6-1 victory over St. Maria Goretti. The win improves Avalon (6-5) to 3-0 in the conference, and gives them a half game lead over The Heights.
The weather, as bad as it seemed, was only one obstacle the team had to overcome.  Key members Dante Stumpo, Anthony Durbin and outfielder Omar Collins were not present for the game, and Avalon traveled with only nine players.  Durbin, the team's spark plug at the top of the batting order, was absent for a family event, and Collins was home resting with strep throat, forcing head coach Patrick Duffy to move other players around.

Late in the game, as the rain began to take a toll on the field, and with the possibility of the game being called after 4 1/2 innings, Avalon had to move fast. Sophomore 1B Mike Brunvoll led the 5th inning off with a drag bunt single down the third base line, breaking up the no-hit bid by Goretti pitcher Ian Moss. Moss quickly bore down and struck out the next two batters, but was unable to put away Avalon's number nine batter, Alex Gunnerson.  Gunnerson's walk kept the inning alive, and junior Mike Smith followed with a line drive single to right field, scoring Brunvoll.  Immediately after the Smith single, freshman Billy Lennox ripped a double to the right field gap, breaking the 1-1 tie and scoring Gunnerson from second base. To cap off the rally, senior Josh Brunvoll crushed a three-run home run over the pine trees behind left field, giving Avalon a 5-1 lead.

Avalon pitcher Harry Klein picked up his second OLBC win of the year with a dominate performance in a complete game effort. Klein's fastball was humming and he finished the game with 9 strikeouts, but more impressively was the fact he only threw 79 pitches for the entire game. Klein faced 24 batters allowing 3 hits, and 1 earned run, as his defense did the rest.  

Avalon finishes the week winning 2 of 3 games after defeating Spencerville on Tuesday, and losing to Riverdale on Monday.  The loss to Riverdale was unfortunate because senior pitcher John Mason was superb as he threw 5 innings, scattered 5 hits, and only allowed 1 run.  The Crusader win was also the 900th in the legendary career of head coach Terry Terrill.  The two teams will meet again April 12.

Late heroics lead Black Knights past The Heights

April 10, 2011
by Patrick Stoll
Avalon Baseball Staff Writer

The Avalon Black Knights came out victorious against The Heights Cavaliers on Thursday, using big hits in big situations to emerge with a 12-11 victory. Midway though the game, when the score was tight and could go to either team, Avalon coach Patrick Duffy responded “the one who makes the fewest mistakes [will win the game].” Those words rang true, as the game came down to the very last pitch.


The first inning gave a reasonable impression of what the game would be like, including 5 hits between the two teams. This was the inning where both pitchers, Harry Klein for Avalon and Jack Linehan for The Heights, had more luck than the rest of the game.  Klein struck out two batters on only nine pitches, and Linehan recorded a strikeout as well.


In the top half of the first, Avalon started hot drawing energy from their coach, and his philosophy for his team to set the intensity of the game. That they did, squeaking out an early 2-0 lead Anthony Durbin scored off of an errant throw to third, and Mike Smith added an RBI on a groundout to second base. The Heights went down quietly, not being able to find Klein’s weak point, and the inning without them scoring a run.


Avalon had nothing to show for the 2nd inning, but The Heights, on the other hand, caught fire scoring three runs on five hits.  They sent eight batters to the plate that inning to turn the game in their favor, 3-2.


Avalon came back when Anthony Durbin tripled in the 3rd inning, and then scored off of a Mike Smith sac fly to right field, tying the game at 3.  The Heights, in their half of the 3rd, scored once again to make the game 4-3.


Avalon would not go down easily, exploding in the 4th.  John Mason slammed the ball into deep left for what appeared to be a home run. The run was discounted and decided a ground rule double after the umpire found another ball in play. Mike Brunvoll advanced Mason to third with a bunt, and Aspen Feldman followed with a walk. In a wild turn of events, Feldman stole second base drawing a throw from catcher Joe Kelly, and an alert Mason took advantage of the opportunity to steal home, tying the game at 4. The nightmare continued for the Cavaliers as Anthony Durbin walked to the plate after a John Klein strikeout. The Heights decided to intentionally walk him, preferring to deal with freshman Billy Lennox, but the gritty second baseman singled down the third base line to load the bases. Josh Brunvoll then smacked a Linehan pitch over the fence in double territory, scoring two and giving Avalon a 6-4 lead. Mike Smith once again showed the Cavs why he was a force to be reckoned with, by collecting yet another RBI base hit, this time scoring two, making the game 8-4.


The Heights refused to fold when down four runs, and they put together their own monster inning. After two quick outs the Cavs got rolling with two singles, and then one could feel the momentum shift when Nick McCabe hit a 3-run homerun over the right-centerfield fence. The Height’s coach Brian Carroccio added, “A deficit is really no big deal to [The Heights]. Nick's hit just gave the team such an energy lift.” At 8-7, the Heights showed no mercy, hitting two more singles and forcing Duffy to replace Klein with the sophomore left hander Mike Brunvoll. “Harry couldn't get anything by them... everybody had seen him three times, and it was time to give them another look,” said coach Duffy.  After another single that tied the game at 8, the inning ended with a ground out. 


In the 5th, The Heights took full advantage of Avalon mistakes. There was one part of the inning when Avalon thought the inning was over, but only two outs had been recorded, resulting in a run scoring.  Then a balk resulted in advancing a runner to third, followed by a dropped ball that resulted in extra bases, and the Cavs had tacked on three more to make it an 11-8 game.


The 6th was quiet for both teams, as neither one of them scored. The Knights did have Durbin on 3rd after he was walked and Lennox hit a single, but they were unable to take advantage. The Heights were also unable to take an opportunity, as they loaded the bases before a pop fly ended the inning.


The 7th was one of the most intense innings of baseball you will ever see. Mike Smith hit a double and Harry Klein followed with a walked, both events leading to Carroccio removing Jack Linehan, for reliever Brady Hall. Linehan moved to shortstop, and the following batter John Mason hit what appeared to be an easy double play ball right to him.  Linehan booted the ball, and Smith scored as the ball rolled into centerfield, cutting the deficit to two runs. Mike Brunvoll then singled, loading the bases for Avalon. Hall bore down, and bottom of the order struck out in 6 pitches. Anthony Durbin was now at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded, down by two. A fearless Durbin worked the count, but put himself in a bad spot after a check swing resulted in a foul ball for strike two.  He didn't relent, and delivered with one of the most clutch hits any of us will ever see, hitting a double onto the hill in right field - if you have not seen this hill, you have to, its one of the most unique home field advantages I've ever seen. Coach Brian Carrioccio did say about it, “It's a unique home field advantage... but yes, we practice hitting into it.” - that drove in three runs, putting Avalon up, 12-11. Mike Brunvoll handled the next three batters with no problem. 


The Heights didn’t exactly go quietly in the bottom half of the 7th.  McCabe lead off with a check swing that dumped into left field for a hit.  With the tying run on, Mike Brunvoll made short work of the next three batters, and Avalon held on for the 1-run victory.  Said coach Duffy, “I thought that if we could get our first three on, we're gonna have a shot. The back of the order is a little inexperienced, you know, they're still learning, they're working hard, but they still have a long ways to go.  We just had to get the first three on base, and let the top of the order do it’s thing.”


When I asked Coach Duffy who his MVP(s) were, he said he gave this prize to Mike Brunvoll for his magnificent effort in relief, Mike Smith, who was 2/4 with 4 RBI, and of course Anthony Durbin, who was 3/3 (walked twice as well) with 3 RBI, including the winning shot in the 7th.


This was a great game that showed the intensity and emotion of both teams, and the ability of those teams to come back from adversity. The Heights Cavaliers are now 9-3, 2-1 in conference play. The Avalon Black Knights are now 8-5, and an undefeated (5-0) in conference play.



April 30, 2011
by Patrick Stoll
Staff Writer

They came, they saw, they conquered. The Avalon Black Knights beat Chen home school on Saturday, exerting their dominance as they coasted for a 20-1 win after five innings. Avalon secured the #1 seed through the playoffs with the win after earlier beating Sidwell 3-1, all on Senior day. Chen was missing their #1 pitcher, since he discovered he gets numbness in his arm while/ after pitching.


Chen started off without much of a problem, after a single, a ground out that advanced the batter, a steal, and an error, the Chen half of the first ended one to nothing. Avalon started their game off right, however, with Anthony Durbin hitting a double on the third pitch, then advancing to third on a ground out by Mike Smith. Josh Brunvoll then broke the Avalon single season home run record by knocking one over the fence for a two shot home run, putting Avalon up, 2-1. Harry Klein then grounded out, and John Mason got hit by a pitch before Mike Brunvoll flew out to right, and Avalon started ahead, 2-1.


Chen produced no runs in their half of the second, as one batter popped out to Durbin at catcher, another batter struck out, and another reached base on an error (then ended up stealing second). The top of the second ended with a ground out. Billy Lennox lead off for Avalon, hitting a line drive single. Dante Stumpo reached base safely on a bunt single, and Omar Collins struck out swinging. The game really started to turn in Avalon's favor after Durbin hit a double, scoring Billy and Dante. Anthony then advanced to third after the throw in, and reached home on a bad throw by the catcher, making the game 5-1. The second ended when Josh struck out swinging after Mike Smith popped out. The third was very quiet for Chen, as one player popped out to third, another struck out swinging, and the third got thrown out after a dropped third strike.


The third inning was one of the most eventful innings I have ever seen. In the bottom of the third alone, Avalon scored 15 runs. It all started with Harry making it to base on an error, then advancing on a passed ball. John Mason hit a double, which scored Harry, making it 6-1. Mike Brunvoll then hit a single which scored John Mason (7-1), then advanced to third while Billy reached base on an error. Billy then went to second on a bad pick off attempt, and Dante Stumpo was walked. With the bases loaded, Omar got to base with yet another error, scoring Mike Brunvoll (8-1). Anthony Durbin was then ruled out after a dropped infield fly ball, making one out. Mike Smith kept the Black Knights rolling with a triple, scoring Billy, Dante, and Omar (11-1), followed by Josh Brunvoll hitting a double, scoring Mike Smith (12-1). Avalon mercilessly continued with John Mason's two shot homer (14-1), and Mike Brunvoll got to base on another Chen error. (For those who aren't counting, that is 12 runs on perhaps six errors, and that wasn't even the end.)


Chen then relieved their pitcher, but Avalon, unphased, continued with Billy Lennox's single to score Mike Brunvoll (15-1). Dante then got to first and advanced Billy after an error, and the bases were loaded after Alex Gunnerson was walked. Anthony Durbin then drew a walk, scoring Billy (16-1). The walks continued for both Mike Smith (17-1) and Josh Brunvoll (18-1), despite another pitching change. Harry Klein then hit a single which scored both Durbin (19-1) and Mike Smith (20-1), and the monster inning ended with a ground out.

A 19 point deficit was too much for Chen, as they were unable to manage another score past the first inning. In the fourth, there was a pop out to left, a strike out, and a ground out in yet another silent Chen inning. In Avalon's half of the fourth, John Klein struck out, and Aspen Feldman was thrown out on a dropped third strike. The inning ended quietly after Dante's line drive to right was caught for an out. In the fifth, Harry Klein struck out two batters before Chen hit a triple, but the inning, and the game, ended after a ground out.


There was nothing that Avalon could be criticized for, as Harry Klein threw 47 strikes and only 22 balls, facing 18 batters in five innings pitched, only surrendering one run and two hits, along with no walks. On the fielding side, there were only two stolen bases and only two errors, but the “character at-bats” that Coach Duffy said his team needed were back: “The line drive swings were back. If you recall, we talked about finding that line drive swing, it came back today.” After the Georgetown Day game, Coach Duffy said that “someone needs to step up and be the sparkplug for this team.” He said after this game, a game that clearly did not lack spark, that the sparkplug they needed was the six run comeback that they had in the Georgetown Day game. “We had our focus back today...(the Georgetown Day game) refocused everybody. We realized we are human, but at the same time, we come focused, we come prepared, we come as a team together, it's gonna work out for us in the end.”


When I asked Coach Duffy if he could pick an mvp in a game that was such a team effort, from the good swings, to the vision to draw walks, to the excellent fielding and pitching, he said “I'm gonna give it to the seniors (Josh Brunvoll, Harry Klein, Alex Gunnerson, John Mason, and Dante Stumpo), they came ready to play today... the kids came ready to play for them today too. If I did have to narrow it down to one guy, it would be Harry Klein. He only faced 18 batters in 5 innings... we need him. We need him quite a bit.”


Josh Brunvoll also tied the all time Avalon Home Run record with his home run in the second game, as well as breaking the single season home run record with that same hit. “From the second or third home run (I hit) I knew I could start doing that more often, so then I kinda shot for the records for the school. I have seven games left, and one hit to break it, so we'll see how that goes.”


All in all, an overall flawless game lifted the Black Knights to a #1 seed for their playoffs, which begin on Thursday. Avalon mercilessly took out all their frustration and anger of their previous losses on this team, who up until this game was #1 in the conference. Congratulations to the class of 2011 seniors, to Josh for his record, and best of luck to Avalon in the playoffs.



 Josh Brunvoll, Senior SS
 Patrick Duffy

 Mike Brunvoll, Sophomore LHP/OF
 Anthony Durbin, Sophomore C
 John Mason, Senior RHP/3B
 Mike Smith, Junior LHP/OF

 Harry Klein, Senior RHP/IF
 Billy Lennox, Freshman 2B
 Alex Gunnerson, Senior OF
 Dante Stumpo, Senior 1B


May 13, 2011
by Patrick Stoll
Staff Writer

Avalon started their preliminary playoffs for the state championship on Monday, with a game against Chen. Avalon emerged victorious against Chen once again, this time by a score of 12-2. On Thursday, Avalon played Washington Christian, under unique tie-breaker circumstances. If Avalon gave up less than three runs, they would clinch the one seed for the state playoffs, therefore having to play only one game on Saturday.


Starting with the game against Chen, Mike Brunvoll struck out two in the top of the first, but only after Chen started hot with a single, a walk, and a double to put themselves up 2-0. In the bottom of the first, Avalon picked up where they left off the last time they played Chen. After a strike out and a ground out by Durbin and Mike Smith, Josh Bruvoll was walked. Harry Klien then hit a double after Josh stole second (2-1 Chen). John Mason then tied the game with a single (2-2). Mike Brunvoll then hit a double, scoring John Mason (3-2 Avalon), and the inning ended on a Billy Lennox pop out.


 In the top of the second, Mike walked one batter before striking out another two. Chen's half of the inning ended in a ground out. Avalon's hhalf of the second was even faster, as Dante Stumpo grounded out, Aspen popped out, and Durbin struck out. In the third, Chen was caught on a dropped third strike, and Mike struck out another two batters, giving him six strike outs in three innings. In the bottom of the third, Mike Smith drew a walk, then stole second before Josh popped out. Harry Klien picked up another RBI with a single after another steal by Mike (4-2 Avalon). Mason was then walked after a delayed steal by Harry. Mike Brunvoll struck out, and Billy Lennox loaded the bases with a single. Dante Stumpo then grounded out to end the inning.


Mike Brunvoll gave up two consecutive singles in the top of the fourth, but then struck out two more batters. After an error, Mike struck out the final batter to get out of potential trouble with the bases loaded (That's nine strike outs in 4 innings). Aspen lead off for Avalon in the fourth, but was tagged out before reaching first. Durbin then hit a double, and Mike Smith added to the Avalon lead with a home run (6-2 Avalon). Josh drew a walk after seven pitches, then advanced to second on a balk.  Harry then hit a single, and Mason picked up an RBI with a pop out (7-2 Avalon). The inning ended with a ground out. Mike Brunvoll continued his dominating performance with another strike out to start the fifth. He then walked a batter, followed by a pop out. He struck the last Chen batter out in three pitches, giving him 11 strike outs.


Billy Lennox reached base for Avalon on an error to start their half of the fifth. Dante then hit a short grounder which was thrown to second for an out. Aspen then hit a double, and Durbin picked up 2 RBI with a single (9-2 A). Mike Smith then hit an RBI triple (10-2 A), followed by Josh hitting a sacrifice RBI grounder (11-2 A). Harry then hit a single, and the inning ended on a Mason pop out. The top of the sixth was brief for Chen, as a line drive was caught for an out, followed by a pop out and a dropped third strike tag out. In the bottom of the sixth, Mike Brunvoll hit a double, followed by a Billy Lennox single. Dante Stumpo finished the game at 12-2 with an rbi single. On the great effort by his team, Coach Duffy said “They came out ready to play today. I'm just proud they forgot about (a 17-2 loss to the Heights). I'm just really glad the guys kept their heads up.” Coach Duffy's MVP was Mike Brunvoll for his great pitching effort: 11 strikeouts in 6 innings with 3 walks and 2 earned runs on 4 hits. “He really did a great job today. He was in a couple of jams, it didn't bother him, he just pitched right through it.” Mike Smith was also valuable with 2-3, two steals, a home run, and 2 RBI.


The Chen game was also won, 10-0. John Mason pitched a shutout, with a relief appearance by Harry Klein. The top of the first went by very quickly for Avalon, with 3 consecutive outs. In the WCA half, there was a single, followed by two walks, then a strike out. Then came one of the most well executed plays I've seen. With the bases loaded and one out, a player hit a deep ball to center. Mike Smith dives and catches the ball for an out, then throws to Josh Brunvoll, who gets the ball to Anthony to throw the runner out at home to end the inning. That play was the play of the game, as that was the closest WCA came to scoring.


In the top of the second, Avalon started right, as Harry hit a triple, followed by a John Mason RBI double (1-0 A). Mike Brunvoll then advanced him to third with a bunt single, then stole second. When Billy Lennox was up to bat, Mason stole home on a wild pitch (2-0 A), followed by Billy hitting an rbi double (3-0 A). Dante then singled, then advanced to second on a bad throw to first, also scoring Billy (4-0 A). Aspen then struck out, and Durbin hit an RBI single (5-0 A). Durbin then stole second before Mike Smith drew a walk. Josh then hit an RBI single (6-0 A), and after a single by Harry that ended with Mike Smith getting thrown out at third, Mason hit a 2RBI triple (8-0 A). Mike Brunvoll then struck out to end the inning.


Mason swept through the bottom of the second with three strikeouts in 12 pitches. Billy started the top of the third with a ground out, followed by a Dante Stumpo single (after 8 pitches). Aspen then hit an RBI single after Dante stole second (9-0 A). Durbin then hit a grounder that got Aspen out at second, but he advanced to second on a passed ball. Mike Smith then grounded out, which ended the top of the third. In the bottom, three WCA ground outs ended any action that inning. In the top of the fourth, Josh hit a triple, and Harry hit an RBI ground out (10-0 A). Mike Brunvoll then struck out, ending their half of the fourth. In the WCA half of the fourth, the first batter grounded out, followed by a strike out, a walk, and another strikeout.


In the final inning of the game, John Klien struck out, Alex Gunnerson and Omar Collins drew  walks, and Durbin hit a hard line drive that was caught by the first baseman, which also ended the inning with a tag on first. In the bottom of the fifth, WCA's last chance, Harry Klien relieved John Mason. He struck out the first batter in three pitches, followed by a ground out, an error, and a strikeout ended the game, 10-0. Avalon showed up knowing what they needed to do, give up as few runs as possible, and win. They did both with great defense, execution, focus, hitting, and pitching. These two games clinched Avalon the #1 seed for the state playoffs, where they played the Heights, who had just beaten Bishop Walsh, on Saturday. They lost that game, after the Heights scored six in the final inning despite Avalon leading the whole game up until that point.


Kevin Fuqua Captures a Trio of Weekly Awards

May 23, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Senior Kevin Fuqua has been named the Atlantic 10 and Big 5 Pitcher of the Week in addition to the GoExplorers.com Student Athlete of the Week, announced earlier today.  Fuqua pitched his most dominant game of the season, a complete game, four-hit shutout victory over Saint Louis back on Thursday night.  

Fuqua only walked one batter and struck out six in the dominating performance that propelled La Salle into the Atlantic 10 postseason.  

The honor marks the second time this season that Fuqua has been named the Big 5 pitcher of the week and the first time he has earned the A-10 weekly nod.  

Fuqua is also a first-time winner of the GoExplorers.com weekly honor and the fourth baseball player to be awarded this season by La Salle for a weekly performance.  

The right-hander still has his most important start in front of him, and will take the ball for what could be the final time when the baseball team opens play in the 2011 Atlantic 10 Championship on Wednesday afternoon against Dayton at Campbell's Field.  

(From www.GoExplorers.com)

Josh Brunvoll to play in State Classic

May 24, 2011
Add yet another feather in the cap of current senior Josh Brunvoll, as earlier today he was selected to play for the South Region, in this Sunday's Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches Classic.  The game features the very best players in the state, and will be played at the University of Maryland's Shipley Field, at 10 AM.
The South Region represents Montgomery, Prince George's, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's counties.  Tryouts were held Sunday, May 22, at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown.  Josh was one of twenty-five players selected for the team that includes Sherwood's Will Bouey, a U of Maryland signee and considered as one of the top pitching prospects on the East coast, and Gaithersburg's Billy Cullen, brother of Tim Cullen, a member of Avalon's 2006 State Championship team.

Fuqua named Big 5 Pitcher of the Year

From GoExplorers.com

After a season that saw him pass many of the great pitchers in La Salle baseball history, Kevin Fuqua continued to rack up the postseason accolades and was named the Big 5 Pitcher of the Year.

During his four-year career at La Salle, Fuqua has pitched the most innings (331.0) tallied the most strikeouts (222) and has recorded the most starts (46) in program history. In 2011, the right-hander went 6-4 with a 2.92 ERA and logged a team-best 104.2 innings pitched, the most by any pitcher in one season at La Salle in school history.

Gazette names Josh Brunvoll to 1st Team, Smith to Honorable Mention

June 8, 2011
The Montgomery Gazette newspaper announced it's ALL-BASEBALL teams today and Avalon's Josh Brunvoll has been selected to the outlet's First Team.  Josh becomes the third Black Knight in the past 5 seasons chosen for the paper's top spot as the slugger batted .539 with 7 home runs, 44 RBI and 36 runs with 22 stolen bases in his senior year.
Silky smooth centerfielder Mike Smith takes home his third accolade of the season as he earned Honorable Mention status from The Gazette.  Mike finished a strong junior year batting .424 with 3 home runs.
Also selected from the OLBC were George Koutris (The Heights) for First Team, and hurler Jack Linehan (The Heights) for Second Team.

Fuqua becomes first Black Knight to sign pro contract

June 10, 2011
Former Avalon pitcher Kevin Fuqua ('07) has signed a contract with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, a Class AA independent Minor League team.
The right hander begins a professional career after finishing a storied collegiate career at La Salle University, where Kevin graduated as the school's All-Time leader in strikeouts, games started (pitching), and innings pitched. The Redhawks had a roster spot available after another pitcher signed with the Los Angeles Angels, and the team quickly offered Kevin an opportunity.
Congratulations to Kevin, and good luck with your professional baseball career!

Kevin Fuqua Named #5 Indy Baseball Prospect

October 18, 2011

Avalon graduate Kevin Fuqua ‘07 was ranked the fifth best Independent Minor League Baseball prospect by Baseball America last Tuesday.

Baseball America is the premier scouting report magazine for high school, college, and minor league baseball prospects in the country.

Fuqua, Avalon’s all-time leader in strikeouts and wins, finished his first season of professional baseball with a 1-2 record, 1.60 era, and 28 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched as a reliever for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.

“His stuff is intriguing enough that he could be one of the better prospects in independent ball with a little more seasoning,” said J.J. Cooper of Baseball America.

Fuqua’s fastball is clocked between 91 and 93 miler per hour, and Cooper likes his hard slurve.

However, Cooper also said Fuqua needs to work on his command and mechanics.

Fuqua played at NCAA Division I La Salle University, and he graduated with three school records for innings pitched (331.0), strikeouts (222) and games started (46).

During his career at Avalon, Fuqua led the Black Knights to it's first Maryland State B Championship in 2006, and he earned All-Gazette honors in 2006 and 2007.  His jersey number (42) was retired by The Avalon School in 2007.

"Kevin's a winner," said Avalon coach Patrick Duffy.  "He'll make it [in professional baseball] because he has the determination and the drive to get better, which is hard to find in kids these days."

2012 Schedule Released

February 6, 2012




Avalon baseball released their 2012 schedule on Saturday which features strong competition, five tournaments, and a trip south.


The Black Knights open the season on March 9 in Wilson, NC, when they compete in the Greenfield Baseball Invitational against Lawrence Academy and The Greenfield School.  The two-game tournament, hosted by Greenfield, boasts eight teams with Avalon as the only squad coming from outside of North Carolina. 


“It’s always great to get outside of the DMV and see what kind of talent is in other parts of the country,” said coach Patrick Duffy. “The competition we'll see in Carolina is tough but we have a solid team that will battle and don’t be surprised if we come home with a couple of wins.”


Avalon also plays locally in The Champions Classic from March 15 thru 21.  The Black Knights open the first-year tournament against Gilman School (Baltimore), which is coached by former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets.  Riverdale Baptist and Virginia private school Trinity Christian round out the rest of Avalon’s bracket, while Good Counsel, The Heights, Spaulding, and St. John’s Catholic Prep compete in the opposite division.


The first home game  is set for April 2 against Wootton High School, one of Montgomery County’s top programs and a team Avalon has yet to defeat.  The Black Knights host nine home games, the most since 2005 when the school worked out of The Tilden Center in Rockville.  


Five of the nine home contests are against Old Line Baseball Conference opponents and Avalon also welcomes Georgetown Day and St. Vincent Pallotti. The Black Knights play The Heights on April 16, the day both schools return from spring break.


Road games include a night game at Riverdale Baptist, a tilt with St. Anselm’s in late March, and a spring break match with Gaithersburg High School, the first meeting between the two teams since 2008.  Two of Avalon’s OLBC road games are on weekends with Goretti on March 31, and CHEN on April 28.  They travel to The Heights on April 30 and play at Spencerville’s new campus on May 3.


On May 5, the Black Knights travel to Towson University’s John B. Schuerholtz Field to compete in the 2nd Annual Bill Bowman Tournament, organized by St. Alban’s School of Washington, D.C.  The Black Knights play Baltimore’s Loyola-Blakefield in the opener while St. Alban’s plays Pallotti.


The Old Line Baseball Conference playoffs run from May 8 to 12, and the Maryland State B tournament follows just days after and runs from May 15 to 24.


For more information on Avalon baseball please visit www.leaguelineup.com/avalonblackknights.











@ St. Frances



Baltimore, Md.


@ Potomac School


Potomac School

McLean, Va.


Greenfield Invitational





vs. Lawrence Academy


Fleming Stadium

Wilson, NC


vs. Greenfield School


Fleming Stadium

Wilson, NC







vs. St. Frances Academy


Druid Hill Park

Baltimore, Md.


Champions Classic





vs. Gilman School


Gilman School

Baltimore, Md.


Round Two





Championship Round










@ St. John’s Cath Prep


St.John’s Cath Prep

Frederick, Md.


@ St. Anselm’s Abbey


St. Anselm’s Abbey

Washington, DC


@ St. Maria Goretti


St. Ann Roman

Hagerstown, Md.


vs. Wootton High School


Home Game TBD



@ Washington Christian


Washington Christian

Olney, Md.


vs. Trinity Christian


Home Game TBD



vs. Spencerville Adventist


Apple Ridge Field

Mont. Village, Md.


vs. Field School


Home Game TBD



@ Gaithersburg HS


Gaithersburg High

Gaithersburg, Md.


@ The Heights


Al Batista Field

Potomac, Md.


@ Riverdale Baptist


Terry Terrill Field

Upper Marlboro, Md.


Avalon Round Robin





vs. St. Vincent Palotti


Washington Christian

Olney, Md.


vs. CHEN Chargers


Washington Christian

Olney, Md.







vs. Georgetown Day School


Home Game TBD



vs. St. Maria Goretti


Home Game TBD



@ CHEN Chargers


Joe Cannon Stadium

Hanover, Md.


vs. The Heights


Home Game TBD



@ Spencerville Adventist


Spencerville Adventist

Spencerville, Md.


Bill Bowman Tournament





vs. Loyola Blakefield


Towson University

Towson, Md.


Consolation Game


Towson University

Towson, Md.


Championship Game


Towson University

Towson, Md.


OLBC Playoffs





Play-In Round










OLBC Championship


Washington Christian

Olney, Md.


Maryland State B Playoffs





Preliminary Round Game





Preliminary Round Game





Prelim Seeded Round Game



Hagerstown, Md


Prelim Seeded Round Game



Hagerstown, Md


Maryland State B Final Four





State Semifinal Round





MD State B Championship










Wilson Times: Sanchez and Foland No-hit Greenfield

By Jimmy Lewis | The Wilson Times (NC) Staff Writer  

Rare is the baseball game where a team posts a pair of runs and still finds itself the victim of a no-hitter, but Greenfield School ended matters in such a predicament Saturday.

Niko Sanchez threw six innings of perfection and struck out eight, while Ian Foland entered to finish the contest in the seventh as the visiting Avalon (Md.) School obtained a 5-2 victory over the Knights in the Greenfield Baseball Invitational at Fleming Stadium.

Both teams, playing their initial 2012 games at the tournament, finished the weekend at 1-1. 

“It was a tough day offensively,” Greenfield head coach Daniel Johnson said. “We did have some good at-bats, we hit a couple balls hard. Robbie (Stokely) smoked two and they ran them down in the outfield. We had some good at-bats and some hard ground balls, but it just seemed like everything we hit was right at them.” 

Indeed, while the right-handed Sanchez was doing his part in keeping Greenfield hitters off balance with an effective mix of curveballs and changeups, sparkling defense helped the Old Line Baseball Conference Black Knights keep their spotless ledger intact. 

In the second inning, Greenfield sent a trio of fly balls at Avalon center fielder Mike Smith, only to see Smith display exceptional range in tracking them down. The first such effort was off the bat of Stokely. Sanchez kept the 1-A Coastal Plain Independents Conference Knights out of the hit column in the fifth, fielding a hard-hit ball off the bat of Ahmed Hassan and making the throw to first from his knees to the right of the mound for the out. 

“Our defense is the strongest element of the team,” Avalon head coach Patrick Duffy observed. “It doesn’t matter who’s pitching or how I have to rearrange the defense, we’re strong everywhere, especially up the middle of the diamond.” 

The Black Knights gradually constructed a lead off Greenfield right-handed starter Tas Pittman, using an RBI groundout by Billy Lennox for a 1-0 second-inning lead. Avalon loaded the bases with one out, and an unearned came across after a Greenfield misplay at third. 

A pair of walks led to a two-out RBI by Matt Hand in the third for a 2-0 lead, while Lennox’s run-scoring single up the middle in the fourth provided the third run. Smith plated John Klein with an unassisted grounder to first for a 4-0 fourth-inning edge. 

Mike Brunell, who joined Klein as the only Avalon hitters with multiple hits, dropped a fifth-inning RBI single into left to complete the Black Knights scoring. 

Although Sanchez had an opportunity to complete the perfect game entering the seventh, Duffy met him at the first-base line after the right-hander struck out the side in the sixth. Approaching his predetermined pitch limit, Sanchez would not return for the final inning. 

“We came in with a plan that he wasn’t going to pitch more than 75 pitches,” Duffy said of Sanchez. He was actually short of that going into the last inning, but like I said, he’s still learning how to pitch. He isn’t conditioned to be a starting pitcher quite yet. I felt like I was squeezing the sixth inning out of him.” 

Added Sanchez: “I was just mainly keeping it low. That’s all I was worried about. With these new bats, as long as you keep it low, no one’s going to put it over your head.” 

Greenfield posted its two runs after the departure of Sanchez, erasing the perfect game when Dwanya Sutton reached on a leadoff walk. He would come around to score on a wild pitch from reliever Ian Foland, while Pittman reached on a dropped third strike and ultimately scored on another Foland wild pitch. However, the combined no-hitter remained intact as the final three Greenfield hitters were retired to end the game. 

Pittman went five innings for Greenfield, striking out two and walking two on eight singles. Chase Whitehead entered in the sixth, striking out one and walking a pair. Three of Pittman’s five runs were earned as Greenfield was hampered by three errors. 

“Coach Johnson said to pound the strike zone and that’s what I tried to do,” Pittman said. “I threw strikes and the defense played behind me a little bit. We couldn’t hit the ball though. It’s just one of those things.” 

jlewis@wilsontimes.com | 265-7807 

Avalon Pulls Even In Champions Classic

March 19, 2012
by Staff Writer



Junior Niko Sanchez earned his second win of the season Saturday and senior Mike Smith belted his second home run as Avalon baseball pulled to an even record in the 2012 Champions Classic with a 10-7 victory over Trinity Christian.

Niko Sanchez pitches against Trinity Christian.

Sanchez, who threw six perfect innings a week ago against Greenfield School (NC), struck out four batters, allowed just one earned run on eight hits, and pitched 5 1/3 innings.  The transfer from Walter Johnson High School improved to 2-0 on the season.


“He struggled with his control at times, but for the most part pitched pretty well,” said coach Patrick Duffy.  “He mixed up his pitches in spots and I think that kept Trinity off balance.”


In the fourth inning, Smith belted a fastball over the right field fence for a two-run homer, scoring sophomore Billy Lennox.  The senior centerfielder paced the offense and finished the game with two hits and two runs batted.


The Black Knights compiled 12 hits for the game with Lennox, Smith, sophomore Tommy Sanchez and junior Mike Brunvoll finishing with multiple hits on the day.Mike Smith batting against Trinity Christian.


Down 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Avalon wasted no time in getting on the board.  Junior Ian Foland led off with a hard double down the left line that one hopped the fence.  Lennox followed with a single, scoring Foland, and Smith’s double advanced Lennox to third.  With two outs, Tommy Sanchez singled to left field scoring both Lennox and Smith, and the Black Knights took an early 3-1 lead.


In the sixth inning, Lennox came on in relief of Sanchez after three of the first four batters he faced in the inning reached base.   The young right-hander moved from his shortstop position to the mound, and allowed 4 hits in his short work but preserved the lead while striking out two batters.


With the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning, Lennox faced Trinity’s lead off batter, Lucas Welgoss.  The sophomore hit a line drive hard to the right side but was snared by Brunvoll along the first base line to end the game.


The win brings Avalon to an even 1-1 record in the Champions Classic tournament, and 3-2 overall on the season.


On Thursday, the Black Knights fell to Baltimore powerhouse Gilman School 9-2, in the tournament’s opening game.  The Greyhounds featured five NCAA D1 signees, including South Carolina bound Ryan Ripken, son of Major League Baseball legend Cal.   


Gilman threw 6’6”, 90 MPH flamer thrower and future Maryland Terrapin, Brandon Cassas.  He was stellar and though he only threw three innings, Avalon could only muster one hit against him, a line drive to centerfield by sophomore Aspen Feldman. 


Brunvoll however, making his second start on the mound, was the focus of much of the game.  The left-hander picked off three base runners and caught the ire of the Gilman coaching staff, who argued adamantly that Brunvoll was balking.

Mike Brunvoll pitches against Gilman School. 

“Mike has a great move, period,” said Duffy.  “His knees do not cross, and he sells the move with different looks.  The umpires did a great job and were on top of it … they made the right call.”


Brunvoll also held the Greyhounds top hitters, Ripken and sophomore Gavin Sheets, son of head coach and former Baltimore Oriole Larry Sheets, to zero hits on the day.


Avalon wraps up the Champions Classic as they travel to conference rival The Heights on Wednesday.


Brunvoll leads Avalon past Wootton 12-4

By Tim Schwartz | The Montgomery Sentinel 

BETHESDA – Behind the steady performance of their lefty-ace Mike Brunvoll, the Avalon Black Knights defeated the Thomas S. Wootton Patriots, 12-4, on Monday at Shirley Povich Field to improve to 4-2 on the season.

Avalon, who is coming off a 15-11-1 season in 2011 including a State B runner-up finish, has suffered losses to Wootton in each of the past four seasons before Monday’s victory. The loss dropped Wootton to 3-2 so far in 2012. 

“That’s his best performance all year so far,” said Avalon head baseball coach Patrick Duffy of the junior lefty who pitched a 3.39 ERA in 52 innings in 2011. “He’s our number one pitcher and he’s a kid with a lot of potential and he’s a kid who’s going to pitch at the highest of the next level.”

After Glenny Woolschlager’s double brought in Ben Hindman and Boaz Ru tripled to score Woolsclager for the Patriots to take an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Brunvoll settled down and only gave up two runs the rest of the way including six strikeouts and two walks.


After loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning, Wootton’s John Stoeber was able to get out of the jam with two strikeouts and an RBI sacrifice fly from Niko Sanchez.

Wootton earned another run in the top of third with some well-executed small-ball and an RBI sacrifice fly from Woolschlager but Avalon answered in the bottom of the inning when Billy Lennox scored Anthony Durbin who tripled deep to right to lead off the inning. After Mike Smith singled and stole second base, Niko Sanchez bombed a double to right field to drive in Smith and tie the game at 3-3.

After Wootton went down in order in the top of the fourth, Avalon put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth inning after Wootton put in Andrew Craig to replace Stoeber on the mound.

After consecutive singles by Tommy Sanchez and Aspen Feldman and a walk to Durbin which loaded the bases with only one out, Lennox reached base on an error to score two runs then Smith nailed a deep triple to score two more. After a walk to Ian Foland and Smith scoring on a past ball, Niko Sanchez notched another sacrifice RBI before the long inning ended and Avalon grabbed a 9-3 lead. 


Wootton took a run back in the top of the fifth after a sloppy error by Avalon but in the bottom of the sixth Avalon ended any hope of a late-inning Patriot comeback with three more runs, including another RBI from Niko Sanchez.

A junior transfer student from Walter Johnson, Niko Sanchez has been one of the Black Knight’s best hitters and pitchers so far this season and on Monday, Sanchez tallied RBIs in each of his four at-bats.

“He raises our level of play with his intensity. He keeps all the other guys accountable, he’s always the first one to say ‘hey, everybody get up lets make some noise’ and that sort of thing,” said Duffy. “The fact that he can hit is a very good bonus too. He’s actually probably got more quality starts than anybody else on our pitching staff right now.”

Niko’s older brother and 2009 Avalon graduate, Bennie Sanchez, led the county in strikeouts his senior season with 104 and has excelled pitching for Savannah College of Arts and Design in Georgia. 

Baseball Win's Three Straight With Win Over HEARTS



Junior pitcher Niko Sanchez pitched six solid innings and recorded 7 strikeouts on only four days rest as the Avalon Black Knights defeated the HEARTS Lions 8-3 on Thursday.


Sanchez (3-0) allowed just two runs, only one earned, and scattered eight hits as he faced 28 batters from the opposition.  He survived a rocky first inning which he allowed a hit as well as beaning another batter, but he came away with two strike outs and a ground out to short stop Billy Lennox to end the inning.


The right handed transfer from Walter Johnson High School cruised through the next four innings striking out four batters, yielding one unearned run, and the Lions could only muster three hits.


In his final inning of work, Sanchez worked himself out of another jam.  After giving up four consecutive hits to start the 6th inning, HEARTS scored a run and were threatening to do more damage with zero outs.


Issac Workman, the Lions’ number nine batter, hit a routine fly ball to senior Mike Smith in centerfield for the first out, but Josef Mang tagged up from third base to try and score the third run of the game for HEARTS.  Smith threw a bullet that hopped to the left of home plate to sophomore catcher Tommy Sanchez, Niko’s younger brother, but the younger Sanchez made a fantastic adjustment and was able to tag Mang out.   


Quickly after the dramatic play at home, the older Sanchez struck out Taylor Platas to end the inning.  Lennox came on in relief to close out the 7th inning facing five batters and striking out one.


Offensively, junior third basemen Anthony Durbin’s lead off double propelled a five run first inning, which saw 11 Black Knights step to the plate.  Durbin’s double was followed by back-to-back singles by Lennox and Smith, and Smith’s hit brought home Durbin.  Junior infielder Ian Foland followed with another double that scored Lennox. 


Niko Sanchez drew a walk to load the bases, and with one out Tommy Sanchez walked to bring home Mike Smith.  The next batters, sophomore designated hitter Aspen Feldman and junior outfielder Matt Hand, both walked as well, allowing two more free runs and a 5-0 start for Avalon.


The Black Knights compiled 10 walks for the game, compared to just seven hits but were able to score eight runs for the game.


In the fourth inning, Avalon scored twice, once again cashing in on pitching mistakes.  Lennox, Niko Sanchez, and Ian Foland walked while junior Mike Brunvoll was hit by a pitch.


The win was Avalon’s third of the week after defeating Wootton High School on Monday and clobbering Washington Christian 21-0 on Wednesday.


The Black Knights (7-5) play again Tuesday at 3:30 versus OLBC opponent Spencerville Academy. 

Avalon unloads on Spencerville 20-1

By Tim Schwartz | The Montgomery Sentinel

MONTGOMERY VILLAGE – The Avalon Black Knights scored 20 runs for the third time this season to dominate Spencerville Adventist Academy, 20-1, in five innings at Apple Ridge Park on Tuesday to earn their fourth straight victory.

Avalon’s junior ace Mike Brunvoll faced the minimum nine batters in three innings of work to go with six strikeouts, no walks, two groundouts and one hit while throwing only 33 pitches. Brunvoll picked-off the lone base runner allowed to end the first inning. Brunvoll was pulled for junior Ian Foland to start the fourth inning.

“I want him to be available for relief on Thursday against Gaithersburg,” said Avalon head coach Patrick Duffy of his ace. 

In the bottom of the first inning, Avalon unloaded on Spencerville to take an early but seemingly insurmountable 6-0 lead. The inning featured a total of 10 batters including four hits, six stolen bases, and two walks as well as sophomore Tommy Sanchez reaching second base on an error. 


However, after cruising in the first inning, the second inning saw the heart of the Black Knights’ order go three-and-out including a strikeout.

“It’s really weird, it’s like if the first two guys get hits, you know we’ll have a great inning,” said Duffy. “But if we don’t, we sort of fall into this lull and I cant describe why that happens to us but it just does. But we’ve been like that all year.” 

The Black Knights certainly found their groove again in the third inning. Avalon had 16 at-bats to rake in 11 more runs and take a huge 17-0 lead behind another mammoth day at the plate from junior Niko Sanchez. Sanchez tripled and doubled three times to drive in three runs while also scoring four runs in four at-bats. 

Avalon would add three more runs in the bottom of the fourth to give the Black Knights a 20-0 lead before Spencerville finally scored a run in the top of the fifth to avoid the shutout. 


Avalon will suit up against a tough Gaithersburg squad on Thursday but the game circled on their schedule from the start of the season is a Monday matchup at Shirley Povich Field against their conference rival The Heights. 

“It’s a friendly rivalry, but a rivalry nonetheless,” said Duffy. “Heights-Avalon, its just always a lot of fun.” 

The rivalry game could feature a matchup of two of the best pitchers in the county: Brunvoll for Avalon and Jack Linehan for The Heights, who was the 2011 Maryland Private School B Tournament MVP to go with an 8-1 record last season.

Avalon Closes Week With Loss To Gaithersburg

Sanchez's 9 Strikeouts not enough as big 3rd inning propels Gaithersburg to win over Black Knights 5-2
By Patrick Stoll | Staff Writer

The Avalon Black Knights lost a hard fought game Thursday to Gaithersburg High School, 5-2. Pitcher Niko Sanchez struck out eight batters, but three errors and three hit batters by the Avalon squad in the bottom of the third inning led to five unearned runs, a deficit that was insurmountable for the Black Knights.

Sanchez, a junior, threw 80 pitches and tossed a gem of a game as he blanked the Trojans in five of his six innings pitched. Gaithersburg however scored five runs, although none of them were earned, in the third inning.

In that inning, two errors by left fielder Matt Hand, broke the game open for the Trojans.

“We had two bad bounces, and a ball went over a guy's head,” said Avalon coach Patrick Duffy. “When that happens, you can't get down on yourself. We had two bad bounces and that ended up affecting the entire game.”

Despite Avalon’s miscues in the third inning, Sanchez was able to hold Gaithersburg to just one hit for the final three innings of the game.

“[Sanchez] was throwing his curveball and his changeup for strikes, and was really hitting spots with his fastball,” said Duffy. “He's really matured and come along as a pitcher. He was awesome today.”

Avalon was able to score two runs in the top of the second off a single by Mike Brunvoll and Matt Hand reached on an error. Aspen Feldman also reached base and Mark Searles’ double to the leftfield gap scored Hand from third.

Though the team was able to get good contact off of Gaitherburg sophomore Jake Thomas, the Black Knights could only manage three more hits after the second inning.  Many of their would-be hits were tracked and caught by Trojan outfielders, including a deep line drive down the right field line hit by senior Mike Smith.

Avalon was missing their leadoff hitter and top run prodocer, Anthony Durbin.  His absense caused Avalon to shuffle the lineup and play a couple of guys out of position.

Avalon hopes to rebound from the tough loss as they host arch rival The Heights, at Shirley Povich field on Monday night.

Smith Chooses NYACK For College Baseball



Avalon baseball player Mike Smith signed a national letter of intent on April 16 to play baseball for NYACK College.


“It’s a relief not having to worry about where I’m going to school anymore,” said Smith of the signing.


A senior and native of Lynchburg, Va., Smith chose NYACK over Messiah College (Pa.) and Bryan College (Tn.) as well as a host of other small Christian schools.


I felt the most at home at NYACK over all the other schools I visited. I really liked the baseball coach and the campus is absolutely beautiful,” Smith said.


NYACK is located 23 miles from New York City along a hillside overlooking the Hudson River. It’s most notably known as the first Bible college in North America and the school was founded in 1882.


The baseball program competes in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference at the NCAA Division II level, but they also participate in the National Christian College Athletic Association at the Division I level.


NYACK coach Matt Cornacchione loves how Smith handles the bat and expects him to crack the Warriors starting line up immediately.  While Smith currently plays outfield for Avalon, he may not necessarily play there in college, as first base might be an option.

"All indications are that Mike is going to have a shot at starting right away," said coach Duffy.  "I know his college coach wants him to work at first base before he gets on campus, but it really doesn't matter where Mike plays because we know he'll do an excellent job."
While the NYACK program has struggled in recent years, Cornacchione has brought a renewed interest to the game, and recruiting will play a huge part in their emergence as a DII power.  The school has responded to the new enthusiasm for baseball with better funding.
"From what I saw at practice they mean business," said Smith.  "The atmosphere is very serious ... which is why I chose NYACK."
Smith has enjoyed a tremendous career as a Black Knight and this year broke the school records in both hits and runs batted in.  The two-time All-OLBC nominee ranks third in career home runs with five, and batted over .400 in each of the past three seasons.
"I loved all my time at Avalon," Smith said.  "We've always played with so much heart." 


May 13, 2012
By Tim Schwartz | Vox Sports

BETHESDA – For the Avalon Black Knights, the cliché fits the script: the third time is a charm.

In their third game against The Heights this season, Avalon came through when it mattered most with a 6-2-road victory on Saturday over their archrival to capture the Old Line Baseball Conference crown.

“It feels pretty darn good,” said Avalon head coach Patrick Duffy. “We had a streak of seven consecutive wins against them and they had five consecutive wins against us coming in to today. It just means so much for it to be in the conference championship… That’s one of the best teams in Montgomery County if not the best team in Montgomery County.

“For us to put all the nonsense away that’s been going on early in the year, for us to come together and to be playing the way we have, this is a culmination of everything we’ve been doing the last several weeks. I just feel so good for our kids right now.”

Avalon jumped out to a 4-0 lead against The Heights’ ace senior Jack Linehan, who was pitching in his third game against Avalon this season, after the first inning and added to their lead with two more runs in the second. And with the way Avalon was fielding the ball on defense and Niko Sanchez pitching to his little brother Tommy, Avalon proved too much for The Heights to handle.

The Black Knights came out swinging early. Junior Ian Foland and sophomore Billy Lennox singled before senior Mike Smith hit a hard grounder that the shortstop couldn’t handle, which allowed Foland to score from second. Niko Sanchez then reached first base on an error by the third baseman, which allowed Lennox to score.

Junior Mike Brunvoll hit a long single off the scoreboard in right field to score Smith and junior Matt Hand continued the streak with another single to score Sanchez and jump out to a 4-0 lead before Sanchez even took the mound.

In their last meeting on April 30, Niko Sanchez pitched a flawless inning before being hit in the face with a throw from the catcher while sliding back to first base on a pick off throw. The throw resulted in Sanchez getting 11 stitches just under his lip and forced him to leave the game early. On Saturday, Sanchez would not be denied, despite a few loose teeth.

Duffy has said all season long that he feels his team has two aces in Brunvoll and Sanchez but in the first two games between the two rivals, Brunvoll took both losses. This time, Sanchez got his chance to prove his coach’s words to be true.

“He didn’t even have his best stuff today. He may have thrown a no-hitter today if his breaking ball was on, but his curveball wasn’t there and he got behind in a lot of counts,” said Duffy. “He’s got so much confidence from all his other starts.”

In the second inning Avalon added to their lead when Smith hit a deep two-run homerun to right field to score Foland. His homerun is the second in two games as Smith hit a double, a triple, and a homerun in Avalon’s upset victory over St. Maria Goretti in the OLBC semifinal game.

Sanchez cruised through the first inning despite allowing a walk and in the second Avalon had their first and only error of the game as centerfielder Mike Smith bobbled the ball which allowed sophomore Mike McCreary to reach second to lead off the inning.

The error would cost the Black Knights as McCreary scored later in the inning when junior Will Marvin grounded into a double play. The double play was the first of four for Avalon on the day.

“We’ve had some good middle infielders in the past but that’s the best I think I’ve seen our middle infield ever play,” said Duffy of shortstop Lennox and junior second baseman Anthony Durbin. “The athleticism between the two of them is incredible and it showed today.”

The Heights added another run in the bottom of the fourth when senior Sam Weber singled in senior Nick McCabe to cut the deficit to four runs. However, with a runner on third and only one out, sophomore Brady Hall grounded into another Avalon double play to end the threat.

“First off, congratulations to Avalon,” said The Heights head coach Brian Carroccio, “I think the difference in the game was their defense. The double plays, the shortstop and the second baseman, a couple nice plays in the outfield… I really think that was the difference in the game.”

Both teams will move on to play in the Maryland Private School B Tournament. The Heights play St. Francis on Monday while Avalon will play Sandy Spring on Tuesday. 

Avalon Dumps Bullis

May 20, 2012
By Tim Schwartz | Vox Sports

POTOMAC – Bullis scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning but it was not enough to overcome a gutsy Avalon squad as the Black Knights held on for the 6-5 road victory on Saturday to advance to the final four in the Maryland B Tournament.

Avalon scored one in the second and five in the third against Bullis’ ace senior Aron Wegner which turned out to be just the right amount of runs to hold off a late inning rally from the Bulldogs. Junior Mike Brunvoll found his rhythm again on the mound for the Black Knights after struggling in a few of his recent starts.

“I felt really good today,” said Brunvoll, “the past few starts my arm was feeling kind of sore but it’s better now.”

Through the first five innings, Brunvoll had six strikeouts, allowed only two hits, – both on bunts – one unearned run and didn’t walk any batters. However, in the sixth inning Brunvoll walked the lead off man and hit Wegner with a pitch to have two men on base with only one out.

A Jackson Stoner groundball got the second out at second base but a heads up play by senior Jack Simons on the base path allowed him to score on the play from second base to cut score the second run of the game for the Bulldogs. Brunvoll would walk the next batter but ended the threat with his eighth strikeout of the day.

Brunvoll faced more problems in the bottom of the seventh. He got the first two batters out but with two outs down four runs, Bullis put their rally caps on. A pinch-hit single from senior Jamie Smith followed by another single by Simons knocked Brunvoll out of the game.

“The kicker was his pitch count got out of control,” said Avalon head coach Patrick Duffy, “he’s very conditioned, he’s very strong, but I can’t keep him out there in that situation.” Brunvoll threw about 115 pitches up to that point.

Junior Ian Foland came in to relieve Brunvoll on the mound but struggled to throw strikes. He walked his first batter to load the bases and Wegner singled to score two runs and cut the deficit to 6-4. Stoner followed suit with another single to score another run and put the tying run at third base with two outs. Avalon allowed Stoner to advance to second in a cloud of confusion, which put the winning run in scoring position.

“I don’t know what that was because (getting the out at second) would have ended the ball game and when (senior second baseman) Anthony (Durbin) said ‘let him go’ everyone backed off. I wish we would have gotten him though,” said Duffy about the play. “I think there was a little bit of stress there on Anthony… our bench, our two coaches and our parents, everyone was in shock, like, ‘what’s going on right now,’ but we got out of it.”

Duffy yanked Foland and put sophomore Billy Lennox on the bump to save the game and on a 3-2 count got the called-strike-three to end the threat and the game for Avalon.

“Ian has been pretty good for us in relief this year and maybe it was because he hadn’t pitched in about a week, that may have done it,” said Duffy. “Billy I think was a bit more loose. It’s a tough spot to put a sophomore in but Billy came in and got the job done.”

Avalon scored their lone run in the second inning when sophomore Tommy Sanchez hit a fly ball that the right fielder couldn’t hold on to which allowed Brunvoll, who singled with two outs, to score and give Avalon the one run lead.

Bullis answered in the bottom of the inning. Stoner reached second base on a throwing error by Durbin and senior Kane Herrick laid down a beautiful bunt to put Stoner on third. Herrick stole second and senior Alex Fishman bunted again and reached first safely, scoring Stoner to tie the game at 1-1. Brunvoll, however, buckled down and struck out three batters in a row to end the inning.

Avalon unloaded the truck in the third. Durbin singled to start the inning and Lennox grounded into a fielder’s choice before Avalon tallied four straight hits. Foland singled and senior Mike Smith singled to center, scoring Lennox from second.

Junior Niko Sanchez, after staying alive when the second baseman dropped a foul pop up, singled to load the bases before Brunvoll doubled down the leftfield line, scoring Foland and Smith and moving Sanchez to third. A frustrated Wegner balked which allowed Sanchez to score and in the same at-bat Tommy Sanchez singled to right, scoring Brunvoll to give Avalon a 6-1 lead.

With the victory Avalon clinched the top spot of the B bracket in the Maryland B Tournament while St. Maria Goretti earned the second spot in the B bracket. The Heights clinched the A bracket while St. Francis earned the second spot in the A bracket. Avalon will play Tuesday against St. Francis while The Heights will take on St. Goretti as well on Tuesday. The winners of those two games will play Thursday for the Maryland B Tournament crown. 

Season Ends With Loss In MD State B Semifinal

May 25, 2012
By Tim Schwartz | Vox Sports
OLNEY - It was that kind of day for Avalon as their season came to an end with a 4-0 shutout in the Maryland Private B Tournament against St. Frances of Baltimore at Washington Christian Academy on Thursday. Pitcher Darrold Adams had 11 strikeouts for the Panthers on the day to end Avalon’s seven game winning-streak and their chance to play in the tournament final.

“All the credit goes to St. Frances,” said Avalon head coach Patrick Duffy. “They came out a focused team, they came out a hungry team, and they took charge that first inning.”

That first inning was all it took for St. Frances in a game that was played over two days because of weather. Junior Ian Foland walked the first two batters to start the game followed by two outfield errors. Those first four batters went on to score for St. Frances and it was all the Panthers needed to end one of the most successful seasons for Avalon baseball to date.

“I think we exceeded expectations,” Duffy said reflecting on their 22-12 season. “Last year we were 15-11 with a team of a lot of seniors and it was a disappointing season for us… To go 22-12 with this team we definitely exceeded expectations.”

Luckily for Duffy and the Black Knights the team only graduates one senior from this year’s team: centerfielder Mike Smith, a Forest, Virginia native who will continue his baseball career at NYACK on scholarship in the fall. Duffy has been Smith’s baseball coach for the past seven years, five at Avalon and two before that when Duffy coached Smith on the Maryland Bombers.

“He’s a good wholesome guy,” said Duffy. “He comes to the park ready to play. He comes to the park focused. He busts his butt at practice… He’s got the personality, he’s got the character, he’s got the work ethic… that’s Mike Smith.”

Despite ending their season one game short of their ultimate goal of winning the Maryland Private B Tournament, Duffy is excited for what is to come out of next year’s team.

“We got a lot of guys coming back. I think one of the things we’ll have more of next year is maturity,” Duffy said. “The underclassmen go into their sophomore and junior year varsity ready.  Instead of wasting away on a JV roster, they’re going to be ready to take off from the get go next year. I think that’s the most exciting part.”

Avalon finished the season 7-3 in Old Line Baseball Conference play and won the conference title with their first victory over archrival The Heights in three chances. 

OLBC Announces All-League Awards

2012 All-OLBC Team
Player of the Year: #51 P/SS, Jack Linehan; Senior, The Heights
The Cavaliers ace pitcher won all three of his conference starts, posting a 4-2 overall record with one save and a 2.62 ERA. When not pitching, Linehan provided the Cavs with an anchor at SS, and as the Cavs leadoff hitter, posted a .487 OBP. Linehan will attend the University of Miami-Ohio next fall.

Coach of the Year: Brian Carroccio, The Heights
Coming off last year's Old Line Championship season, the ninth year coach led the Cavaliers to their first conference unbeaten regular season. Carroccio, having earned his first OLBC Coach of the Year Award, hopes to lead his Cavaliers to a repeat victory in the OLBC tourney and Maryland Private School B Championship.

Assistant Coach of the Year: Charles Devereux, Avalon
Coach Devereux has made an immediate impact on the Black Knights pitching staff. Despite losing two of their top three pitchers from 2011, Avalon pitchers have shaved almost an entire run off of their team ERA this season. Also, team walks have dropped form 74 a year ago to 55 in 2012, and under Deveruex's tutelage, Avalon's staff has hurled three no-hitters.

First Team:
#3 P/1B Adam Blenckstone, Sophomore, St. Maria Goretti
The crafty lefty emerged as one of Goretti's top pitchers and hitters, as his 26 hits, .426 average and 23 RBI led the team.

#2 P/3B Ian Foland, Junior, Avalon
The junior speedster had a breakout campaign posting a .447 batting average with 6 2B doubles 7 triples and 23 RBI. Foland also came on late in the year to bolster the depth of Avalon pitching staff.

#22 P/SS Brady Hall, Sophomore, The Heights
The hard throwing righty emerged as the Cavaliers #2 pitcher, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.18 ERA. Hall also posted an impressive .466 batting average and .537 OBP.

#99 C Joe Kelly; Senior, The Heights
The lefty catcher wrapped up an impressive four-year career with a strong senior campaign, posting a .535 batting average with 3 home runs and 29 RBI. Kelly also recently moved into second place on The Heights all-time career hit list with 128.

#24 1B George Koutris, Senior, The Heights
Despite undergoing back surgery midway through the season, last season's Co-Player of the Year produced another monstrous year at the plate. Hitting .562 with 3 home runs and 28 RBI, Koutris became the first player in OLBC history to earn first-team honors three times. He will play next season at Towson University.

#1 SS Billy Lennox, Sophomore, Avalon
The Black Knight's gritty shortstop emerged as their top offensive player posting a .511 batting average with 36 RBI, and a mere one striking out a me re one time.

#7 OF Jake Moats, Sophomore, St. Maria Goretti 
The speedy center fielder earned his second all conference selection, posting a .424 average with 11 stolen bases.

#17 P/SS Ian Moss; Senior, St. Maria Goretti 
Despite numerous injuries, the hard throwing righty still managed to post impressive numbers hitting .426 with 2 home runs, and earning his second first team OLBC selection.

#15 P/SS Nick Reyer, Junior, Washington Christian 
Coming off last season's first team selection, Reyer posted another impressive campaign, leading the Wildcats in wins, home runs and RBIs.

#55 P/2B Niko Sanchez, Junior, Avalon 
Sanchez proved to be a welcome addition to the Black Knights staff. He posted an impressive pitching performance in the team's 3-1 win over Maria Goretti, and finished the regular season with a 4-2 record and 1.86 ERA.

#16 OF Mike Smith, Senior, Avalon 
The speedy center fielder wrapped up an impressive career at Avalon, earning his second first team selection. Posting a third consecutive season batting over.400, Smith has committed to play baseball next year at NYACK College in New York.

Second Team:
#5 C Casey Barthlomew, Sophomore, St. Maria Goretti
The Gaels dependable backstop posted solid offensive numbers, hitting .375 with 18 RBI.

#25 P Mike Brunvoll, Junior, Avalon
Avalon's ace pitcher posted another solid campaign with 4 wins, and a 3.28 ERA.

#39 P/2B Michael Buono, Senior, The Heights
Buono, who will attend Princeton in the fall, posted another strong campaign, batting .383 with 19 RBI.

#23 C/3B Anthony Durbin, Junior, Avalon
Avalon's speedy leadoff hitter earned his third all-conference selection, posting a .346 average with 1 home run and 17 stolen bases.

# 12 1B Greg Hein, Junior, Washington Christian 
WCA's first baseman provided a slick glove and solid bat in the middle of the lineup.

#10 P Ryan Kinter, Junior, St. Maria Goretti 
Kinter emerged as the Gaels workhorse, throwing 46 innings and posting a 5-4 record.

#44 OF Will Marvin, Junior, The Heights
The speedy center fielder emerged as a top offensive threat for the Cavs posting a .420 batting average.

#38 OF Nick McCabe, Senior, The Heights
The slugging lefty hit .404 with 1 home run, 1 triple and six doubles.

#16 P/3B Matt McCreary, Sophomore, The Heights
McCreary posted a 4-0 record on the mound, while recording 3 home runs and 20 RBI at the plate.

#7 SS Jimmy Brockett, Senior, Spencerville
The Hornets smooth fielding shortstop earns his second all league selection.

#16 OF Kristian Olson, Senior, Chen
The Chargers centerfielder once again led the team in batting posting a .583 average .

# 13 P/ SS Alex Reinhard, Junior, Washington Christian
Solid pitcher and SS, led team in BA, OBP and walks.

#30 C Tommy Sanchez, Sophomore, Avalon
The steady backstop provided the Black Knights with a dependable glove, throwing out over 50% of would be base stealers.

#4 C/3B Sam Weber, Senior, The Heights
Weber proved to be a run-producing machine for the Cavs, batting .395 with 29 RBI.

All Academic Team:
Peter Fairbanks, The Heights 3.9 GPA
Aspen Feldman, Avalon 3.76 GPA
Ian Moss, Maria Goretti 3.74 GPA
Patrick Pacious, The Heights 3.9 GPA
Gunnar Stout, WCA 3.96 GPA

Mike Brunvoll Selected For National All-Star Game

Rising senior pitcher Mike Brunvoll was selected to play in the nationally televised U.S. Baseball Championships All-Star Game on Monday, July 23 in Richmond, VA.


The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.  



Who:                     Players selected as All-Stars from teams playing in the USBC

What:                    USBC All-Star Game (North vs. South)

Where:                 RF&P Park (Henrico County, VA)

Wear:                    Your team uniform

When:                  Arrive/Check-In by 5:20pm on Monday, July 23

                                In dugout and ready to go by 5:30pm

Sanchez and Smith receive Gazette All-Baseball honors

February 19, 2010
Baseball tries to dig out with first practice less then a week away
First official day of practice starts Wednesday, but last week's double blizzard has left a lot of area high school teams with some work to do.  The Black Knights were hoping to uncover their practice infield, but that project has proven to be a daunting task.  The team will try to spread the work out over a couple of days, and hopefully have enough of the field dug out so it can dry properly.
Check out the Photo Gallery!.
Avalon wraps up preseason with game at Georgetown Prep
Even with the melting snow and wet fields around the DC area Avalon was able to play three preseason games the past 5 days, and the team looks to be shaping up nicely.  Junior shortstop Josh Brunvoll led the team offensively by clubbing 3 doubles and driving in 6 runs over those 3 games.  Junior Harry Klein, despite getting roughed up a bit in his first outing vs. St. Frances, came back strong with two solid performances vs. Potomac School (earned the save) and Georgetown Prep.
Finding a consistent number two starter was a concern for head coach Patrick Duffy, and Junior John Mason may have pitched his way into that role.  John earned the W vs. Potomac School, and then threw 2 impressive innings vs. Georgetown Prep.  The pitching staff seems to be filling out nicely with Klein and Mason at the top of the rotation.  Senior catcher Nick Testo will be called upon here and there for a spot start on the mound, and possibly an inning or two in relief, but it appears Junior Josh Brunvoll and Sophomore Mike Smith will be key arms out of the bullpen.  Injuries kept freshmen Mike Brunvoll, and Anthony Durbin off the mound, but they are both expected to make full recoveries and contribute to the pitching staff.
Other preseason highlights include the return of senior outfielder Matt McPherson.  Matt decided to take his junior year off, but has returned to baseball this season.  He has played well in left field, and is starting to find his swing at the plate.  Durbin's double on Wednesday vs. Prep helped solidify himself as the team's leadoff hitter.  John Funk showed flashes of greatness at the plate, but has looked particularly impressive in the field.  John's brother, freshmen outfielder Steven, is swinging a hot bat, and has shown a very strong arm in right field.
Avalon opens their regular season this weekend against OLBC opponent Washington Christian.

Lennox and Sanchez Making Waves At Showcases

Avalon baseball player Billy Lennox batting on March 15, 2012, in a game vs. Gilman School in Baltimore, Md.

Juniors Billy Lennox and Tommy Sanchez received high praise for their performance at The Mount Saint Mary’s Showcase Tournament last weekend.

“I was impressed with their overall leadership,” said Will Frazier, founder and coach of Dig In Baseball who competed in the tournament.  “They both carried themselves extremely well and should hear from schools.”

Lennox and Sanchez compete for the Potomac Valley Outlaws, from Union Bridge, Md., and won all four tournament games.

Lennox, a 2012 Old Line Baseball Conference first team selection, batted over .500 for the weekend going 8 for 15, and he played every inning at shortstop.

Sanchez, who transferred from Walter Johnson High School last February, batted .350 and hit a home run. On defense, many thought he performed better than the other catchers at the tournament.

“He was clearly the best catcher I saw,” said one coach.  He didn’t throw anyone out because “frankly, nobody tried.”

At this point in the recruiting process, Lennox has received letters from Virginia Tech, High Point University, and Radford University along with a handful of Division II and III schools.

Sanchez received a letter from Georgia Tech and mostly has interest from a number of small schools.

The Mount Saint Mary’s Showcase offered high school baseball players a chance to get attention from college scouts.  The event is also a recruiting tool to attract the best baseball players to The Mount.

Avalon baseball player Tommy Sanchez stands tall on the pitchers mound before starting his wind up in a game against Gilman School on March 15, 2011, in Baltimore, Md.

Located in Emmitsburg, Md., the tournament consisted of eight teams from different parts of the east coast.

NCAA Division II coaches, as well as NCAA Division I schools, Mount Saint Mary’s and Millersville University attended the event.

The Mount’s campus impressed both players and they can see themselves playing there in a few years.

More so, the players found out the school is looking for a shortstop and a catcher from the class of 2014.

“The field was a lot better than The University of Maryland’s,” said Lennox.

Avalon baseball wins two straight

After a rough start in the Elrod Hendricks Tournament last weekend, the Black Knights bounced back with wins over St. Anselm’s and HEARTS Home School.   Thanks to quality pitching, timely hitting, and an improved defensive approach, Avalon outscored their opponents 15 to 7 in those wins.

On Tuesday, Avalon took care of St. Anselm’s 12-5.  Junior Josh Brunvoll slugged two triples and drove home 3 runs, while going 3 for 4.  Josh also finished the game on the mound, helping to close the door on what was a well-thrown game by senior Nick Testo.  Testo was solid as he struck out 5 batters, and he kept St. Anselm’s off balance with a great change-up.  Sophomore Mike Smith was also impressive at the plate going 4-for-5 with a double, 3 runs scored, and 3 RBI.

Saturday proved to be a much greater task then first thought.  HEARTS Home School’s Billy Arens was impressive as he held Avalon batters in check.  Junior Harry Klein met the challenge, and equaled Aren’s outing with an impressive outing of his own.  Klein was masterful threw 5 innings, striking out 4 batters, and only scattering 3 hits.   On offense, key hits from junior Dante Stumpo, and freshmen Steven Funk helped spark a 3-run 3rd inning.  Down in the count early, Stumpo fought back to even the count, and then singled to right center.  Funk’s hit to left field helped set up the top of the order with 2 base runners to work with, and after a couple of walks, and a throwing error, Avalon had the lead for good.

Avalon Earns Split in Greenfield Invitational

March 9, 2013

by Patrick Stoll | Chronicles Sports Writer


The Avalon Baseball team made their annual trip down to Greenfield, North Carolina this weekend, to take part in the Greenfield Invitational to begin their regular season slate after winning scrimmages against St. Francis School and Damascus. Avalon lost their first game, against Lawrence Academy, 4-3, while putting up no hits the entire game and giving up a 2-0 early lead. Avalon did come back on Saturday to take care of business against Greensfield, 8-1.


Avalon entered the game on Friday with a lot of confidence coming into the game against Lawrence Academy, after dominating in a scrimmage against St. Francis and having a good showing against Damascus. However, that ended up crashing down upon the Black Knights as they were no-hit and lost a 2-0 lead against a team which had won four of the last 5 North Carolina state championships.


Avalon jumped out to an early lead over the Warriors after Anthony Durbin reached base on a fielder's choice, and Ian Foland was walked right afterwards. Niko Sanchez then grounded out, but advanced both runners. Tommy Sanchez then reached base on a dropped third strike, which allowed Durbin to score. Foland then scored on a throwing error, which put Avalon up 2-0. The inning ended with a strikeout, just one of eight between three Lawrence pitchers in the game.


For the majority of the game, Senior Avalon pitcher Niko Sanchez put on a dominating performance, with seven strikeouts, only three walks, and an astounding one hit, which was a single in the first at bat of the game, in his 2013 debut. He held Lawrence from scoring until the fifth inning, when he walked two batters, one of whom scored after a throwing error and a wild pitch in quick succession. He then hit another batter before the final out of the inning, throwing 83 pitches in five innings.


Avalon had another opportunity to score and keep some distance in the sixth inning, when Tommy Sanchez reached first on an error and ended up advancing to third, but being left on base when the inning ended. Billy Lennox then came in for Niko pitching, and despite allowing someone on base on his second pitch, who was the only run scored that inning to tie the game at two, Billy was the spark that got the Black Knights out of a potentially disastrous inning.


After a short pop up, halfway in between the pitchers mound and home plate, Billy dove and caught the ball for the first out. He then threw the ball over to Shortstop Ian Foland, who made the tag at second for the second out, and threw to Conor Sloan to complete the rare triple play to end the inning at a 2-2 tie.


Avalon did take the lead in the seventh inning, as Alex Jacobs got a run started with a walk, and then was brought around by a wild pitch and passed ball. That half inning ended with Avalon up 3-2, after the top of the Avalon order failed to make more distance from the Warriors. That was the gamebreaker for Avalon, as Lawrence was able to get three base hits off Billy Lennox's first six pitches of the inning, then advanced their batters with a groundball to tie the game, when Pearce Howard took a groundball and threw to first for the out, instead of home. Billy then intentionally walked the next batter, struck out the next, and with two outs and a full count, walked in the winning run, ending the game at 4-3.


“I think this game was a good wake-up call for us,” said Head Coach Patrick Duffy. “We hung with a really good team today. Those guys have won four of the last five state championships. We stuck with them, and we made our mistakes along the way, but you can't dwell on that in baseball.”

Avalon did not dwell on the tough loss, coming back the next afternoon to handle Greenfield 8-1 behind the pitching of Ian Foland and 10 team hits throughout the game. Billy went 2/2 with a walk, Anthony went 3/ 4 with 3 RBI, and Ian went 1/ 2 with a walk, as well as pitching five strikeouts and only one walk. Tommy Sanchez also came in for the final inning in relief and had three strikeouts. The Greenfield game “was a great way to bounce back. I'm really proud of the guys for this. Everyone played well, and I'm especially proud of Ian and Tommy. They did great.”

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 byAnthony 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."


The Chronicles: Baseball Starts 1-1

by Patrick Stoll | The Chronicles

The Avalon Baseball team made their annual trip down to Greenfield, North Carolina this weekend, to take part in the Greenfield Invitational to begin their regular season slate after winning scrimmages against St. Francis School and Damascus. Avalon lost their first game, against Lawrence Academy, 4-3, while putting up no hits the entire game and giving up a 2-0 early lead. Avalon did come back on Saturday to take care of business against Greensfield, 8-1.

Avalon entered the game on Friday with a lot of confidence coming into the game against Lawrence Academy, after dominating in a scrimmage against St. Francis and having a good showing against Damascus. However, that ended up crashing down upon the Black Knights as they were no-hit and lost a 2-0 lead against a team which had won four of the last 5 North Carolina state championships.

Avalon jumped out to an early lead over the Warriors after Anthony Durbin reached base on a fielder's choice, and Ian Foland was walked right afterwards. Niko Sanchez then grounded out, but advanced both runners. Tommy Sanchez then reached base on a dropped third strike, which allowed Durbin to score. Foland then scored on a throwing error, which put Avalon up 2-0. The inning ended with a strikeout, just one of eight between three Lawrence pitchers in the game.

For the majority of the game, Senior Avalon pitcher Niko Sanchez put on a dominating performance, with seven strikeouts, only three walks, and an astounding one hit, which was a single in the first at bat of the game, in his 2013 debut. He held Lawrence from scoring until the fifth inning, when he walked two batters, one of whom scored after a throwing error and a wild pitch in quick succession. He then hit another batter before the final out of the inning, throwing 83 pitches in five innings.

Avalon had another opportunity to score and keep some distance in the sixth inning, when Tommy Sanchez reached first on an error and ended up advancing to third, but being left on base when the inning ended. Billy Lennox then came in for Niko pitching, and despite allowing someone on base on his second pitch, who was the only run scored that inning to tie the game at two, Billy was the spark that got the Black Knights out of a potentially disastrous inning.

After a short pop up, halfway in between the pitchers mound and home plate, Billy dove and caught the ball for the first out. He then threw the ball over to Shortstop Ian Foland, who made the tag at second for the second out, and threw to Conor Sloan to complete the rare triple play to end the inning at a 2-2 tie.

Avalon did take the lead in the seventh inning, as Alex Jacobs got a run started with a walk, and then was brought around by a wild pitch and passed ball. That half inning ended with Avalon up 3-2, after the top of the Avalon order failed to make more distance from the Warriors. That was the gamebreaker for Avalon, as Lawrence was able to get three base hits off Billy Lennox's first six pitches of the inning, then advanced their batters with a groundball to tie the game, when Pearce Howard took a groundball and threw to first for the out, instead of home. Billy then intentionally walked the next batter, struck out the next, and with two outs and a full count, walked in the winning run, ending the game at 4-3.

“I think this game was a good wake-up call for us,” said Head Coach Patrick Duffy. “We hung with a really good team today. Those guys have won four of the last five state championships. We stuck with them, and we made our mistakes along the way, but you can't dwell on that in baseball.”

Avalon did not dwell on the tough loss, coming back the next afternoon to handle Greenfield 8-1 behind the pitching of Ian Foland and 10 team hits throughout the game. Billy went 2/2 with a walk, Anthony went 3/ 4 with 3 RBI, and Ian went 1/ 2 with a walk, as well as pitching five strikeouts and only one walk. Tommy Sanchez also came in for the final inning in relief and had three strikeouts. The Greenfield game “was a great way to bounce back. I'm really proud of the guys for this. Everyone played well, and I'm especially proud of Ian and Tommy. They did great.”


DCSportsFan.com OLBC Mid Season Report

It’s been an up and down season for the Black Knights, who are starting three freshmen this season against a brutal schedule. The experience, however, has been invaluable and the youngsters have contributed admirably. Anthony Durbin (Fr.-IF) has been outstanding as the team’s leadoff hitter and he’s batting .400 on the season. Mike Brunvoll (Fr.-P) has recovered from an early shoulder injury to give Avalon two straight quality starts, and Steven Funk (Fr.-OF) has hit the ball hard and is batting .353.


The real story of this year’s team has been the pitching of junior stalwart Harry Klein. Despite a 2-4 record, he holds a 2.38 ERA, and has pitched extremely well against Avalon’s toughest opponents, which include McDonogh, Gilman School, The Heights, Wake County HS (NC), and Riverdale Baptist. Harry isn’t fazed by the competition, and along with Nick Testo (SR.-C), and Josh Brunvoll (JR.-SS) Avalon isn’t short on leaders. Testo is having a solid senior campaign batting .382 with 17 RBI, and behind the plate he’s been a rock the young pitching staff can count on. Josh Brunvoll has been smooth as shortstop, and at the plate he carries a batting average of .400, with 3 doubles, 3 triples, a home run, and 13 RBI. A pleasant surprise on offense has been Dante Stumpo (Jr.-1B). Dante is recovering from a terrible shoulder injury that shelved his ’09 season prematurely, and he’s bounced back this year with a .394 average, and 11 RBI.

For the entire article please go to DCSportsFan.COM








#12 SS Josh Brunvoll, Junior, Avalon


The smooth fielding shortstop emerged as the anchor in what proved to be an outstanding infield defense for the Black Knights.  Brunvoll also helped carry Avalon posting a .390 batting average on the season with 20 RBI, 4 doubles, 3 triples, 1 home run, and 11 stolen bases.


#23 C/IF Anthony Durbin, Freshman, Avalon


The speedy Durbin became the first freshmen named to the 1st team in conference history, after a hugely successful 2010 campaign.  As Avalon's leadoff batter, Durbin led the Black Knights in average (.468), on base percentage (.612), slugging percentage (.673), and stolen bases (16).  Also, the slick fielding Durbin played all the infield positions, providing the athletic Black Knights with great versatility. 


#17 P Harry Klein, Junior, Avalon


Klein emerged as the Black Knights' ace this season and gave Avalon the strong arm they seem to always have.  Klein, a 3 year starter posted totals of 4 wins, a 2.02 ERA, 6 complete games, and 2 shut outs.  His 52 innings pitched and 46 strikeouts are career highs.



#21 C Nick Testo, Senior, Avalon


Testo posted another outstanding campaign in 2010 to make his second 1st team selection.  The rock solid catcher, and Avalon's emotional leader,  held opposing base runners at bay all season.  Testo also posted his standard strong offensive numbers with a .389 average with 1 home run and 24 RBI.







#15 P/3B John Mason, Junior, Avalon: Mason emerged as the #2 starter for the Black Knights, posting two impressive wins versus The Heights.


#16 P/CF Mike Smith, Sophomore, Avalon: For two years Smith has had the outfield on lockdown, few batters have been able to hit the ball over his head.  This year Smith stepped up his offensive game and has been hitting around .380 all season.







#10 Head Coach Patrick Duffy: Many believed 2010 would be a down year for the Black Knights, who won a state title and graduated their top pitcher in 2009.  However, seventh year coach Patrick Duffy simply went back to work and turned in one his best performances as he led the Black Knights to 12 wins, and a 6-2 conference record.  Duffy, the only Coach in Avalon history, did a masterful job in preparing his young team to navigate the Old Line and a difficult out of conference schedule. Heights Coach Brian Carroccio, a longtime opponent of Duffy's teams noted, "Pat has done an amazing job at Avalon.  People forget the school is only 7 years old, and he has already led them to 2 state titles.  He is a very good teacher of fundamentals and because of that his teams can beat you so many different ways."    Duffy, who cleared the 100 career win plateau last season, posted his sixth winning season in 7 years at Avalon in 2010 and was voted Old Line Coach of the year by his peers for the first time.

OLBC Play-In Game OLBC Semifinals OLBC Finals OLBC Champion
#1 Riverdale Baptist 10
#4 Wash Christian 9 Thursday May 6 #1 Riverdale Baptist 5
Wednesday May 5 #4 Wash Christian 5  
#5 CHEN 7  
Saturday May 8 #1 Riverdale Baptist
#2 Avalon School 11  
Thursday May 6 #2 Avalon School 4
#3 The Heights 1
#2 St. M Goretti 5 Game B Sat May 15 #3 AVALON SCHOOL 9
Game A Sat May 15 #3 AVALON SCHOOL 12  
#3 AVALON SCHOOL 10 Game E Sun May 23
#2 St. M Goretti 17 Game F Mon May 24
Game C Sat May 15 #4 BISHOP WALSH 6  
#4 BISHOP WALSH 20 Game D Thur May 20 #1 THE HEIGHTS 3

Avalon baseball wins back-to-back State Titles!

Avalon downs The Heights for their 3rd title in 6 years.  Harry Klein threw all 7 innings, and the defense was outstanding all day with zero errors.   Avalon trailed 3-0 in the bottom of the 3rd when Nick Testo doubled to left-centerfield.  Josh Brunvoll followed with a 2-run inside-the-park homerun to bring Avalon within a run, and Avalon would wind up scoring 9 unanswered runs to win 9-3.


                                     ab  r  h  rbi  bb  k  avg

A. Durbin, c             4    2  1   1     1   1    .429           

M. Smith, cf              3    0  0   1     2   1    .439

N. Testo, ss               1    2  1   0     2   0    .380

H. Klein, p                 4    0  0   1     0   1    .377

J. Brunvoll, 2b         3    1  2   4     1   0    .400

J. Mason, 3b             4    0  1   1     0   2    .296

D. Stumpo, 1b         3    0  1   0     1   0    .329

M. Brunvoll, lf        4    0  1   0     0   0    .200

    b-C. Stumpo, pr  0    1  0   0     0   0    .154

M. McPherson, rf   1    2  1   0     2   0    .345

    a-J. Funk, rf           1    1  1   1     0   0    .228

Totals                            28 9  9   9    9   5


a – J. Funk substituted for M. McPherson in 5th inning

b – C. Stumpo pinch ran for M.Brunvoll in 6th inning.  M. Brunvoll re-enters in 7th.



Doubles: N. Testo (4, 3rd inning off of S. Loria, 0 on, 0 out)

Triples: J. Funk (1, 6th inning off of McCabe, 1 on, 1 out)

Home Runs: J. Brunvoll (3rd inning off of S. Loria, 1 on, 1 out)



SB: A. Durbin 2 (20), Mason (5)


                                    Ip  h  r  er  bb  k  pi  era

H. Klein (W, 6-6)            7    7  3  3    3    1        1.85

State ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM announced!
Tournament MVP

Harry Klein (Jr.) - P/IF, The Avalon School
14 ip, 2-0, 2.00 era, 8 k (pitching), 9 for 16 (.563 avg), 7 rbi (batting)

Avalon School (5-0, State Champions)

Anthony Durbin (Fr) - 6 for 18 (.333), 6 rbi, 4 sb
John Mason (Jr) - 9 for 16 (.563), 1 HR, 7 rbi
Matt McPherson (Sr) - 7 for 13 (.538), 7 r
Michael Smith (So) - 10 for 16 (.625), 2 2b, 7 rbi, 9 r
Nick Testo (Sr) - 7 for 14 (.500), 1 HR, 4 rbi. 7 r
CONGRATULATIONS to Jr. Harry Klein for being named to the Montgomery Gazette ALL-BASEBALL 2nd Team.  Harry is keeping up a great tradition of strong pitching at Avalon, and he becomes the 3rd Avalon pitcher named to the team in the past 4 years
Harry had a superb season as he finished with 6 wins and a 1.85 ERA.  His 9 complete games tied a single season team record, the other pitcher being none other than Kevin Fuqua '07. Harry dominated conference play this year as he earned ALL-OLBC 1st Team honors, and thanks to Harry's arm Avalon nearly upset Riverdale Baptist in the OLBC Championship.   For the second straight year Harry pitched and received the W in the State Championship game.  In this year's tournament Harry won 2 games, and batted well over .500, and was later named MVP of the State B Tournament.
This summer Harry will play for Clarksburg Baseball.  The team will play in several tournaments highlighted by a 6 day road trip to Colorado. 

Black Knights Fall To Cavs in Extra Innings

by Patrick Stoll | The Chronicles

The Avalon Black Knights fell to The Heights Cavaliers in their first match-up on Wednesday in a heartbreaker, losing 4-3 in eight innings, despite multiple opportunities to win the game. Avalon had five errors in the field, including one that forfeited the winning run, and left 15 runners on base, in a game that Avalon coach Patrick Duffy said “We had our chances in just about every inning of this game. We didn't get the job done when we needed to.”

Avalon was able to load the bases twice in the first two innings, but did not get a single run. In the first inning, Anthony Durbin was caught attempting to steal home while Tommy Sanchez was caught in a run down, Durbin was thrown out at home, which was the final out to end the 24 pitch inning, leaving Ian Foland and Tommy Sanchez on base. In the second inning, the bases were once again loaded with two outs, when Billy Lennox hit a grounder to the second baseman, leaving Niko Sanchez, Pearce Howard, and Dan Searles all on base.

The Heights was able to score first, in the third inning. Matt McCreary batted in Grant Hartzell to take the lead. After going 1-2-3 in the third inning, Avalon finally scored in the fourth inning, when Niko Sanchez was batted in by a Conor Sloan double to tie the game at one each. Avalon then loaded the bases once again in the fifth inning, only to come up empty again, leaving Foland and both Sanchez's on base. Despite Grant Hartzell reaching base on a Pearce Howard error, and stealing second, The Heights did not score in the fifth. Avalon in the sixth was unable to put a run on the board despite putting Conor Sloan on third with a Dan Searles sacrifice and a Billy Lennox single.

The bottom of the sixth is when the Cavaliers struck. Will Marvin got to first after being hit by a pitch, and advanced to third after a Bruchalski line drive. He then scored on a Mark Searles error while Bruchalski advanced to third. Charles Tsintolas then reached base on a Niko Sanchez error and Bruchalski scored to add to the lead, before Bair Srivastav lined out to end the inning 3-1.

Avalon came back in the seventh inning to tie the game, starting with a clutch triple by Ian Foland. Tommy Sanchez then reached base on an error, scoring Foland. Tommy then advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Niko was walked. Tommy then advanced to third on another wild pitch, and scored on a Pearce Howard sacrifice. The inning ended in a tie after Conor and Mark Searles struck out. Billy Lennox then disposed of the Heights in the bottom of the seventh to take it to extra innings.

Avalon had a big chance in the eighth, when pinch runner Jamie Shifflett advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch. The bases were loaded after Durbin stole second and Tommy Sanchez was intentionally walked, with two outs. Niko Sanchez then hit what both coaches described as “A complete missile” to third, but was caught by third baseman Matt McCreary to save the game.

“When a guys makes a play like that at third base, catching that missile of a hit, you can't help but tip your cap to him,” said Coach Duffy. The game was won in the bottom of the eighth when Matt McCreary was walked, and Bruchalski hit a line drive to left field. The ball went between the legs of Conor Sloan and went into further left, allowing McCreary to score the winning run.

Heights Coach Brian Corrocio said his team felt prepared for their first game against Avalon since their loss in the “We knew we were going to pitch four guys today, and we have a very different team than last year. Last year we were more a team that looked to pound you. This year we are more tactical and more of a fielding team. We wanted to make sure Avalon didn't get comfortable, so as soon as they adjusted to something we were doing we changed.” Coach Duffy responded by saying “I think the heights are more dangerous with this type of team. They have guys who can do a whole bunch of things, hit in situations, move guys over, and they are scrappy and can fight.”

Avalon came back on Thursday with a 5-4 win in 10 innings over Chapelgate Christian. After struggling to find hits early, Avalon scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to bring the game into extra innings. Avalon finally brought the game to a close when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth and Ian Foland hit a monster fly ball to score Aspen Feldman.


Gazette: Avalon indures interesting week

by James Peters | Gazette.com

The Avalon Black Knights baseball team overcame foul weather and a late deficit to capture two of three games last week to improve to 5-3.

Avalon opened the week with an 8-2 win against St. John’s Catholic Prep while battling sleet, snow and rain. It then rallied to force extra innings with two runs in the seventh inning last Wednesday before falling to rival The Heights, 4-3, in eight innings in an Old Line Baseball Conference game.

The Black Knights finished the three-game stretch with a 5-4, 10-inning win against Chapelgate Christian Academy, scoring three runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to keep the game going.

Avalon, which won the OLBC title a year ago, will be paced by Niko Sanchez (5-2, 1.88 ERA in 2012), Billy Lennox (.482, 39 RBI, 10 doubles in 2012), Ian Foland (.418, 25 RBI, seven triples in 2012) and Anthony Durbin (.327, 13 RBI, 15 SB in 2012) this spring. Coach Pat Duffy has won more than 140 games in his 10-plus seasons at the school.

Avalon Baseball Shocks #6 Gilman With Thrilling Comeback

April 22, 2013

By Patrick Stoll | The Chronicles


The Avalon School built off their momentum from their win against Covenant Life on Saturday with the biggest win of the season so far, a comeback win against Gilman High School, a team ranked sixth in the state. Avalon came back from a 6-2 deficit in the fourth inning to score seven runs in the fifth, and hang on in the final two innings to win 9-8. Billy Lennox once again led the team with three hits, and Ian Foland knocked in a team- high three runs.

Avalon struck early in the first, when Billy Lennox hit a single, then stole second. Anthony Durbin scored the first run after an error and a fielders' choice. The inning ended with Tommy Sanchez on third and Niko Sanchez on first when Pearce Howard popped out. Gilman was able to strike back quickly, however, as Blair walked, then stole second, and Grace reached base after a dropped third strike. Sheets then hit a single, tying the game and advancing Grace to third. Tilley then hit another single, which gave Gilman the lead. Pitcher Niko Sanchez was able to finish the inning without any more trouble, causing two groundouts and a strike out.

The second inning was uneventful for both teams, as batters for both squads popped out, and the only one to touch base was Aspen Feldman on a walk. The third inning was almost a successful one for Avalon, but they could not capitalize on having Tommy and Niko Sanchez on base with two outs, as Pearce Howard grounded out to the first baseman.

Gilman, on the other hand, was able to capitalize on their third inning. After Grace reached base due to a walk, Sheets smacked the second ball he saw for a home run, scoring two and making the score 4-1. Tilley then reached base on a single and stole his way to third, and Slodzinski scored him with a single. Smeton then scored Slodzinski, who made his way to third, with a ground out to second, making the score 6-1. Avalon was able to prevent further damage, with another man on third, when Mark Searles tracked down a Wey fly ball to end the inning.

Avalon was able to add one run to their score in the fourth, but once again missed the chance to do more. Mark Searles hit a single, and then got to second on an error. He got to third after Dan Searles grounded out, and scored on Aspen Feldman's sacrifice fly. Billy Lennox and Anthony Durbin both reached base, and Ian Foland walked to load the bases, but Tommy Sanchez's attempt to lessen the deficit was shut down with a great catch by Tilley at shortstop, and Avalon trailed 6-2.

Niko Sanchez was able to dispose of the Gilman side without too much trouble in the fourth, making Blair and Grace ground out and pop out in the first two pitches. He then forced Tilley to ground out, preventing Sheets from advancing further than second and increasing the lead from 6-2.

Avalon finally made the most of their chances in the fifth, exploding for seven runs. Niko walked, and Pearce bunted and got to base safely. They then advanced to second and third, and Mark scored Niko. Dan then scored Pearce, making the game 6-4. Aspen then walked, and Gilman replaced pitcher Schelberg with Blair. Billy Lennox then loaded the bases, and Anthony Durbin walked to make the game 6-5. Ian then brought Aspen, Billy, and Anthony home with a triple, taking the first lead of the game at 8-6. Tommy Sanchez then scored Ian before another pitching substitution was made, and new Pitcher John Locke made Niko fly out to end the inning 9-6.

Niko then shut down the Gilman side, using nine pitches to dispose of the three batters. Avalon was unable to add to their lead in the sixth, as Mark was caught stealing and Dan and Aspen struck out. Gilman then tried to make their way back into the game, as King advanced to third before being scored by Grace. Niko then intentionally walked Sheets, and Tilley flew out on the next pitch.

In Avalon's final chance to add insurance runs, Billy Lennox hit a double and advanced to third, with Tommy Sanchez on first, with two outs, but to no avail, and Avalon had to defend a 9-7 lead. And that they did, despite Slodzinski scoring, and Wey being on third with King on first, Blair struck out to end the comeback upset. Avalon will take on archrival Heights next week, in a rematch of a conference 4-3 extra innings loss.

Avalon Defeats St. Albans, Finishes 2nd In Bowman Tournament

by Patrick Stoll | The Chronicles

Senior pitcher Niko Sanchez threw a complete game with five strikeouts and freshman Dan Searles drew a bases loaded walk to guide the Avalon Black Knights to a first round 1-0 win over host St. Alban’s in the first round of the 3rd Annual Bill Bowman Tournament.

“I felt really good today,” said Sanchez. “I felt like I had my stuff, and I recognized over the game that they were chasing pitches low, so that helped me today.”

Sanchez (5-1) threw 97 pitches and struck out five batters in his complete game performance, only surrendering a few singles on his way to winning his fifth game of the year. He lowered his ERA to 2.00, and now has 46 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched.

Junior shortstop Billy Lennox led the way on defense, making multiple game-changing plays. His fake throw to first base in the second inning on a Will Carome ground ball caught runner Mike McCurdy between third base and home. The Black Knights completed the run down to escape from the inning.

Later in the fifth inning, St. Albans had a runner on third when Lennox made an excellent diving play to take a hit away from Nico Boyajian to end the inning.

In the top of the fourth inning, senior Ian Foland reached base on an error, and catcher Tommy Sanchez followed with a laser to left field for a hit. With two outs, sophomore Mark Searles walked to load the bases.

Dan Searles came to the plate and quickly fell behind in the count 0-2. He took ball one, and then fouled a pitch back before watching three more pitches outside of the strike zone. The walk scored Foland, for the game’s only run.

 ”It was a great win for our team… We really wanted this,” said Sanchez.

In the championship game vs. Loyola Blakefield however, Avalon struggled at the plate and could only muster a total of three hits in a 6-0 loss.

Loyola pitcher Eric McDonough forced the Black Knights to hit liners to infielders again and again, and the ball rarely got past the infield. Foland took the loss for Avalon with three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Loyola Don’s accumulated 9 hits for the game.

Avalon next plays Wednesday in a league game against The Heights at 6:30 p.m. at Kelley Park. The Black Knights will honor their seniors in a ceremony before the game.

Avalon Outlasts The Heights

By Patrick Stoll | The Chronicles

Avalon senior pitcher Niko Sanchez (6-1) struck out seven batters Wednesday and yielded just three hits on the way to a 3-1 Black Knights victory over archrival The Heights Cavaliers on Senior Night.

“[Sanchez] was on top of everything today,” said Avalon coach Patrick Duffy. “He did everything we needed him to. When we needed it inside, he threw inside. He was fantastic today.”

The Black Knights fell behind in the first inning 1-0, after two errors kept the inning alive. Heights first baseman Griffin Kime followed with a single to score the game’s first run.

Avalon quickly answered however, as junior Tommy Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to score shortstop Billy Lennox in the bottom of the first. Lennox reached on a single and advanced to third on an errant throw while attempting to steal second base.

The Heights only threatened once after the first inning, when Kime led off the fourth with a walk, and advanced to second on Nathan Gadiano’s sacrifice bunt.

Sanchez however, squashed the rally by striking out the next batters on just eight pitches. It was the last time in the game a Cavaliers runner reached second base.

In the bottom of the third, Avalon struck again when senior Ian Foland reached third base on another sacrifice fly by Tommy Sanchez. With two outs, Cavaliers pitcher Matt McCreary intentionally walked Niko Sanchez to face freshman outfielder Pearce Howard. Howard delivered on the first pitch he saw and hit a hard double down the third base line to score Foland.

“[Howard] had a great hitting performance today,” said Duffy. “He got us two great hits in crucial situations, especially that double in the third.”

Later in the sixth inning, Howard started off with a single, and eventually scored with two outs on sophomore Conor Sloan’s ground ball when Heights shortstop Brady Hall’s throw pulled Kime off first base.

Finally in the top of the seventh, Niko Sanchez forced Cavaliers slugger Joe Bruchalski to ground out to Foland, ending the game. Sanchez used just 13 pitches to earn his sixth win on the year, and third in his last three starts (all of which are complete game wins, against Gilman, St. Alban’s, and The Heights).

Avalon will next host Sandy Spring Friends School on Friday, 4 p.m. at Apple Ridge Park.

Black Knights Advance to State Title Game

POTOMAC- The Avalon Black Knights continued their run in the Maryland State B Tournament Saturday, advancing to Wednesday's championship game with a 5-3 semi-final win against Maria Goretti. Avalon compiled 11 hits over the course of the game, including two hits by both Mark Searles and Conor Sloan, and Niko Sanchez won his seventh game of the year with a complete game, only giving up one earned run and keeping the game scoreless until the fifth inning. Avalon secured a berth in their fourth straight State B Championship game, and their sixth in the last seventh years. Avalon will play Goretti again in the championship, as they look for their third title in the last four years and their fourth State B title.

Avalon was the first to put points on the board, after Mark Searles scored Aspen Feldman on a single. Although Avalon loaded the bases right afterwards when Conor Sloan was walked with one out, Avalon was unable to add to their lead. Niko Sanchez was able to retire the side in the third inning, striking out Nick Blake and Yusif Bayoh, and forcing Jake Moats to fly out. In the bottom of the third, Avalon had runners Ian Foland and Niko Sanchez on the corners with two outs, but were unable to add any insurance to their lead once again when Tommy Sanchez popped out.

Sanchez then continued his dominant pitching performance in the fourth, only using six pitches to end the Goretti half of the fourth. Avalon responded by loading the bases in six pitches with Mark Searles, Sloan, and Dan Searles. Pearce Howard then hit a sacrifice fly to score Sloan, after Mark Searles was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice. Ian Foland then struck out to end the inning with Avalon up 2-0.

In Sanchez's dominant performance, the fifth inning was his only inning of trouble. He walked Josh Moats, then Ryan Kinter reached base on an error, sending Moats to third. Blake then scored Moats, while Kinter was forced out. On the very next pitch, Bayoh hit a single to move Blake to second. Jake Moats then moved Blake to third, and Bayoh was forced out. An Adam Blenckenstone double then scored them both, putting Goretti up for the first time, 3-2. Sanchez got out of the inning after making Kevin Proctor line out to Howard.

Avalon didn't stay down for long, however, as after Anthony Durbin and Sanchez grounded out, Avalon started a rally that would win them the game. Tommy Sanchez hit a single, then stole second, and Searles was walked. Sanchez then moved to third on a passed ball, and Searles followed him by stealing second. Sloan then scored Sanchez with a line drive single, and Searles scored his cousin with a fly ball. Lennox then scored Sloan, making the game 5-3, before the inning ended with a Howard ground out. Sanchez then took care of the Goretti side in the sixth, only allowing one hit before striking out Kinter and causing a Blake fly out. Avalon had a quick bottom of the sixth themselves, and Sanchez ended the game in the top of the seventh despite giving up a double to Jake Moats.

Sanchez used a total of 95 pitches, allowing six hits, but only earning one run. He struck out four and walked just one in his eighth win of the year. Mark Searles and Conor Sloan both went 2/2, each with an RBI, and Dan Searles went 2/3 with an RBI as well. Avalon will play Goretti at home on Wednesday, with ace Niko Sanchez on the mound for the final game of the season.

Black Knights Win 4th State Championship

GAITHERSBURG- The Avalon Black Knights won their fourth Maryland State B title Wednesday night, their third in the last five years, with a 1-0 win over Maria Goretti. Senior Niko Sanchez, in his final game for Avalon, pitched a complete game shutout for his ninth win of the season, only using 69 pitches in a classic pitchers' duel. Conor Sloan and Billy Lennox combined for a game-saving double play to end the top of the fifth scoreless, and Pearce Howard had the winning RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, going 2/3 in the final game of his freshman year.

            “Niko couldn't have pitched better. He did an amazing job,” said OLBC Coach of the Year Patrick Duffy. “He hit a couple batters, but just when you thought he may be losing it, he comes back and ends the inning, and the runner doesn't move from first. For him to be able to bear down on three days' rest, and do what he did, was amazing. He's done an amazing job all year.”

            The game was one of the quickest games in Avalon history, lasting only an hour and a half, as pitchers Niko Sanchez and Ryan Kinter were consistently getting out of trouble and retiring batters. The two combined for 11 strikeouts and a total of 9 hits. Although Sanchez hit leadoff hitter Jake Moats on the first pitch of the game, and let Casey Bartholomew hit a single and get on base as well, Sanchez was able to end the first scoreless. Kinter only allowed one hit in the first from Howard, and quickly ended the inning as well.

            The second went in similar fashion, as Niko used 12 pitches and gave up one hit in the scoreless inning. Kinter used nine pitches to retire the Avalon side, and Niko came back with a five pitch third inning, one of which was hitting Jake Moats with a pitch. Kinter responded by using six pitches to retire the Avalon side, only giving up a double to Lennox. The pitchers' duel continued in the fourth, when Sanchez forced Jackson Roth to fly out, struck out Josh Moats, and forced Kinter to ground out. Kinter then took care of Ian Foland, Anthony Durbin, and Sanchez using a total of seven pitches.

            The fifth ended scoreless thanks to a 3-4 double play from Conor Sloan to Billy Lennox, after Yusif Bayoh bunted to reach first, and Jake Moats was hit by another pitch. With runners on first and second with just one out, Adam Blenckstone hit a ground ball to Sloan, who touched first and whipped the ball to Foland to end the inning, which ended up saving the game. Avalon was unable to make anything happen with the bats in the bottom of the fifth, with groundouts from Tommy Sanchez and Mark Searles and a Sloan strike out.

            Sanchez then escaped danger in the sixth yet again, as Casey Bartholomew hit a single, and was advanced to second on a Kevin Proctor bunt. He then advanced to third after a Roth ground out, but that was where he ended the inning, as Josh Moats struck out for the third out.

            Avalon finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth, with hits coming in the right place at the right time. Dan Searles started the rally with a single, and Billy Lennox advanced him and reached first with a slap bunt, something that Coach Duffy said, “this was the first time we properly executed the slap bunt. We practiced it every day, but the one time we needed it, it worked.” Pearce Howard then capped his breakout freshman year with the RBI that would win the game, scoring Aspen Feldman (courtesy runner for Searles).

            “Pearce had one start as a pitcher this year, and that was in this tournament against a good team from Bishop Walsh,” said Coach Duffy. “He's getting more confident every day, its actually too bad the season's over. You look at him now from the beginning of the season in North Carolina and he is an absolutely, completely different person.”

            That one run was all that Avalon got, as after Foland advanced Lennox to third and Howard to second, Durbin hit a long fly ball that was caught for the second out. Lennox was then caught at home to end the inning 1-0. Sanchez then struck out Kinter, and Tommy Sanchez tagged Blake on a dropped third strike, and then threw Bayoh out for the final out.

            “It really never gets old, to win the championship,” said Coach Duffy. “It’s an amazing feeling, and I'm so proud of the kids, for everything they did today.”


2013 Avalon All-OLBC Winners | Niko Sanchez MVP

Congrats to this year's Old Line Baseball Conference Award Winners!

Niko Sanchez: Co-MVP & All-OLBC 1st Team

Billy Lennox: All-OLBC 1st Team

Ian Foland: All-OLBC 1st Team

Tommy Sanchez: All-OLBC 2nd Team

Anthony Durbin: All-OLBC 2nd Team

Pearce Howard: All-OLBC 2nd Team

Patrick Duffy: OLBC Coach of the Year
Charles Devereux: OLBC Asst. Coach of the Year

Brunvoll Chooses NCAA D2 Nyack to Continue Baseball Career

Avalon School graduate Josh Brunvoll '11 signed a National Letter of Intent last week to play baseball at Nyack College.

Brunvoll, an infielder, played for Avalon from 2008 to 2011 and holds the school's single season, and all-time home run records.

He chose Nyack, an NCAA Division II school in New York, over Messiah College and will join former Avalon baseball player Mike Smith. Smith recently finished his freshman year and was a starting outfielder.

"Nyack stood out because it was a christian school," said Brunvoll. He also looks forward to the competitive baseball program, along with the great job opportunities and internships within the New York suburban area.

Brunvoll spent the past two years at Montgomery College, in Germantown, playing his freshman year and redshirting this past season. As a freshman, he started 40 games and finished with a .320 batting average as Montgomery earned a trip to the Junior College World Series in Tyler, Tx.

During his redshirt year, he came back to Avalon as an assistant coach. He worked with hitters and coached first base as the Black Knights went on to win their fourth state championship.

As an Avalon Senior, Brunvoll was named both Old Line Baseball Conference Co-MVP, and First Team All-Baseball by Gazette Newspapers. He batted .539 with seven round trippers, and 44 runs batted. 

He was a member of two Avalon state championship teams in 2009 and 2010. In the '09 contest his leaping catch at second base off a line drive was the final out, and his three-run homer in 2010 was pivitol in securing the victory.

Nyack is looking to position itself to return to the CACC tournament in 2014, after an 8-12 CACC campaign in 2013 left them one victory shy of postseason play.

At Nyack, Brunvoll plans to major in Computer Sciences and is expected to challenge for a starting position in the infield.

Summer Assignments / Updates

Current Players

Potomac Valley Outlaws (Showcase): Tommy Sanchez, Billy Lennox

Lennox was 9 for 18 in his last tournament and was outstanding at shortstop. 

Dig In Baseball (Showcase): Conor Sloan

Gaithersburg 104 Jr. Legion: Mark Searles, Dan Searles, Jamie Shifflett

Wheaton American Legion: Alex Jacobs


Dig In Baseball (MCBL): Josh Brunvoll '11, Mike Smith '12, Anthony Durbin '13

Brunvoll is currently batting .286 with 3 doubles, a triple, 4 stolen bases, and has a .419 on base percentage.

Smith is batting .298 in 57 at bats, with a .403 on base percentage, 10 runs scored, and 6 RBI. He is a mainstay in the the Dig In outfield.

Durbin is batting .333 with a .500 on base percentage in 6 games.

Maryland Red Dogs (MCBL): Nick Testo '10

Testo appeared sparingly for the Red Dogs, starting 4 games at catcher, and coach Ruben commented on his great leadership with the younger players on the team. Testo will spend the remainder of the summer fulfilling his commitment to the Susquehanna University ROTC program.

Potomac Valley Outlaws (Showcase): Niko Sanchez '13

Sanchez has pitched lights out for PV all summer and caught the attention of several colleges. On Monday, July 1, he will sign with Marymount University, and be a member of their inaugural baseball season. 

2009 Season Highlights
Sanchez named to All Montgomery County Team, Testo gets Second Team
June 2, 2009
For the first time in Avalon baseball's young history, two Black Knight players were named to The Gazette's All Montgomery County teams in the same year.  Previously Avalon had only one player selected in each of the past 3 years.  Kevin Fuqua was selected second team in 2006 and first team in 2007, and Matt Bolden was selected second team in 2008. 
Bennie Sanchez, completing a fantastic senior season, was selected to the First Team.  The Gazette's note on Bennie was printed as follows:
Bennie Sanchez, Avalon, Sr., P/1B
Monster season: Six wins, 1.25 ERA, 103 strikeouts, .472 average, 16 extra-base hits, 26 RBI.
Junior Nick Testo, coming off an incredible state playoff performance in which he batted .643, was selected to the Second Team.

May 20, 2009
Behind the season's most outstanding defensive showing, timely 2 out rallies, and with the Avalon faithful attending in force, the Black Knights were able to capture their second Maryland State B Championship. On this gorgeous Wednesday afternoon at Shirley Povich Field, not even St. Maria Goretti's fire balling ace could stand in the way of destiny.

J.J. O'Neill, a D1 prospect bound for UMBC in the fall, brought a 90 MPH fastball and a beautiful 12-6 curveball that could make any good hitter's knees buckle. The Black Knights, falling back on the experience of having played against so many quality pitchers this season, were not intimidated.  Though O'Neill's strike out total was an impressive 8, his walk total was just as high as Avalon batters spent many at bats fighting off pitch, after pitch, after pitch and driving O'Neill's pitch count to a staggering 135.

Goretti took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  Soph Harry Klein was pitching with the bases loaded and only 1 out when a pop up fell to the ground.  A run scored, but Avalon was still able to record an out on the play, and Klein was able to strike out the next batter to end the inning.  Avalon wasted no time at all, and tied the game in the bottom of the first.  Soph Josh Brunvoll and Senior Ivan Wood led the inning off with walks, and Junior Nick Testo was able to single home Brunvoll.

In the third inning, Avalon put together it's first of two, 2-out rallies.  After back to back strike outs to start the inning, Wood got on base by drawing another walk.  Senior Bennie Sanchez's single to right center advanced Wood to third base, and Testo followed with an rbi double.  Goretti however jumped right back in the game, and tied the score at 2 with a sac fly rbi in the top of the 4th inning.

O'Neill, with new found momentum in a tied game, struck out the first two Avalon batters in the bottom of the 4th.  Junior John Funk kept the inning going with a single to right field, and then used his great speed to steal second base.  8th grader Anthony Durbin walked, and Brunvoll followed with an outstanding at bat in which he fought a number of pitches to draw another walk.  Wood was the next batter, and he came up big with a two out double scoring both Durbin and Brunvoll.  Avalon found itself with a 4-2 lead going into the 5th.

Klein gave up a double to start the 5th, and it appeared Goretti would get right back into the game.  He was bailed out however, when a Goretti base runner left second base early after a running catch by Funk.  The double play ended the inning, and a possible Goretti rally.

Sanchez, pitching on three day's rest, would take the mound in the 6th inning.  He made short work of Goretti's bottom four batters by mostly throwing splitters, and other off speed pitches.  His quick inning energized the Black Knights, and despite already having a two run lead, they would not let up in the bottom of the 6th.  Once again, Brunvoll and Wood drew walks, and Nick Testo was able to double home Brunvoll.  Klein's hard ground ball was knocked down by Goretti's second basemen, but the out still resulted in Wood scoring from third base.  Avalon took a 6-2 lead into the 7th inning.

Goretti's lead off batter Nic Martin laced a sure extra base hit deep to center field.  Freshmen Mike Smith, running full speed, dove and made a tremendous catch for the first out of the inning.  Smith's diving catch, and along with Durbin's diving catch in the 3rd, was indicative of how the outfield had played all game.  Always positioned properly, and never giving up on anything hit seemingly out of reach.  Sanchez, now only two outs away from a state championship, would then strike out the second batter of the inning.  O'Neill, up to bat to try and keep his team alive, hit a line drive that was snared by Brunvoll for the game ending play!

Tournament Notes:  Avalon swept through the State Tournament going 4-0... The victory was Coach Duffy's 100th career win... Harry Klein picked up his 7th win of the year, and finishes with a 7-3 record, and was 2-0 with a 0.58 ERA in the State Tournament... The save was Bennie Sanchez's first of the season, and he finishes with 104 k's for the season... Nick Testo batted .643 in the State Tournament, Sanchez batted .500, and John Funk batted .462... Ivan Wood had 7 rbi in the State Tournament, with 6 of those coming against Goretti in the final 2 tournament games... Sanchez, Klein, Testo, and Wood were all named to the 2009 Maryland State B All Tournament Team.

Montgomery County Gazette

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.

Senior Bennie Sanchez Named OLBC Co-MVP!
May 19, 2009
The Old Line Baseball Conference announced it's post season awards for the 2009 season, and several Black Knights were honored.  Most notably, Senior Bennie Sanchez named FIRST TEAM ALL CONFERENCE, as well as the conference's Co-MVP, along with Matt Selmer of Riverdale Baptist.
Other members honored:
Nick Testo (JR) 1st Team All OLBC
Harry Klein (SO) 1st Team All OLBC
Ivan Wood (SR) 2nd Team All OLBC
John Mason (SO) 2nd Team All OLBC
Josh Brunvoll (SO) OLBC Honorable Mention
Mike Smith (FR) OLBC Honorable Mention

6 run rally in 6th propels Avalon to Maryland State B Championship Game!
After cruising through their first two state tournament games, Avalon found itself in trouble against a hard hitting St. Maria Goretti team.  The Gaels jumped on Senior Bennie Sanchez early with 2 runs in the first inning.  A couple of Avalon defensive miscues in the 3rd helped Goretti put 2 more runs on the board, and they led 4-1.
Avalon, keeping their composure and showing great poise, chipped away and added a run in the 5th, but then exploded in the 6th.  Three Sophomores got the rally started when Harry Klein and Mike Smith led the inning off with singles, and John Mason followed with a sac fly rbi that scored 8th grade pinch runner Steven Funk.  Older brother, Junior John Funk, then added a double down the right field line and Avalon found itself tied at 4.  Another 8th grader, left fielder Anthony Durbin, walked, and Senior Ivan Wood doubled home both Funk and Durbin to give Avalon a 2 run lead.  Singles by Sanchez and Junior Nick Testo kept the inning alive as Avalon would add two more runs, and lead 8-4 going into the bottom of the 6th inning.
Sanchez, though not his sharpest performance of the year, stayed strong and finished with the complete game win, striking out 2 of the last 3 Goretti batters, and finishing with 8 total ks.  The win puts Avalon in a great position, having not lost yet in the double elimination tournament, as they advance to State Championship Game!
 St. Maria Goretti State Semifinal Highlights 
Ivan Wood (Sr-ss) 2-4, r, 2b, sb, 4 rbi
Bennie Sanchez (Sr-p) Bat: 1-3, sf, 2bri
                            Pitch: cg, 5h, 0bb, 8k, 3er
Harry Klein (So-1b) 2-4, r
John Funk (Jr-rf) 2-4, 2r, rbi
Anthony Durbin (8th-lf) 1-1, 2bb, 2r, 2b


Avalon takes first 2 state playoff games!
Avalon baseball continues it's successful post season run with 2 wins to kick off the 2009 Maryland State B Tournament.  On Tuesday, they opened the tournament with a 7-4 win over Washington Christian.  Nick Testo, though roughed up a bit early, kept his composure and gave the Black Knights 4 1/3 solid innings.  Soph John Mason closed the final 2 2/3 innings by allowing only 2 hits, and he picked up his first save of the season.
Avalon also used the opening game to celebrate the accomplishments of two seniors, Bennie Sanchez and Ivan Wood.  Sanchez led the offense with a 2 for 4 performance which included a double, a run scored, and an rbi.  Wood would also single in the game, and helped turn a key double play in the 7th inning.  Avalon is now 3-0 on Senior Days, dating back to 2007.
Thursday brought a rematch with Avalon's arch rival, The Heights.  Earlier in the year Avalon dropped an extra inning game to the Caveliers, and that thought was on the mind of all Avalon players and coaches.  The Heights weren't holding back either, as they had their ace pitcher on the mound, Tim Hadley, who shut down Avalon to get the win in that earlier game.   Soph Harry Klein had the ball for Avalon, and once again Harry raised his game for the occasion.  Klein was masterful, going all 7 innings to pick up his 6th W on the year, as he scattered 6 hits, and allowed zero runs.  By utilizing a good cut fastball, he kept The Heights's bats at bay, and Avalon's defense didn't disappoint either with 2 double plays.
The game was a pitcher's duel going into the fifth inning, with a 1-0 score.  Sanchez led the inning off with a triple, and was followed by a Testo double.  Testo would then score on a Klein single, giving Avalon a 3-0 lead after 5.  The bats weren't done, and  Avalon would then explode with 7 runs more runs combined in the 6th and 7th innings, giving the Black Knights a 10-0 win.
 WCA Game Highlights
 Heights Game Highlights
 Bennie Sanchez (Sr-1b) 2-4, r, 2b, rbi
 Nick Testo (Jr-p/3b) Bat: 3-3, r, rbi, hp
                                     Pitch: 4.1ip, W (2-0)
John Mason (So-3b/p) Bat: 1-3, 2r, rbi
                                         Pitch: 2.2ip, SV (1)
John Funk (Jr-rf) 1-3, r, 2b
Anthony Durbin (8th-lf) 1-2, 3 rbi
Josh Brunvoll (So-2b) 2-4, r, bb
Ivan Wood (Sr-ss) 2-5, 3r, sb, rbi
Bennie Sanchez (Sr-1b) 4-5, r, 2b, 3b, 3rbi
Nick Testo (Jr-c) 2-4, r, 2b, bb, 2rbi
Harry Klein (So-p) Bat: 2-4, 2rbi
                                 Pitch: CG, 6 h, 5 k, W (6-3)
Anthony Durbin (8th-lf) 2-4, 2r, 2b, rbi


Avalon comes up short in OLBC Final
Despite a stellar outing from Senior starting pitcher  Bennie Sanchez, the Black Knights fell 3-0 to Riverdale Baptist.  Avalon, playing in it's second consecutive OLBC Championship Game, played solid defense the entire game, but could not take advantage of offensive opportunities.  Sanchez threw 6 innings, and allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, while striking out 9 Crusaders. 
The loss will have to be short lived, because the Knights open the 2009 MD State B Tournament with WCA on Tuesday.

Klein tosses Avalon into Old Line Final
Avalon's 5-1 victory, over #2 seed Washington Christian, was supported by Soph Harry Klein, as he continued his '09 success with another brilliant performance on the mound.  Klein (5-3, 2.43 ERA, 31 k's in 40 ip), threw 5 innings, and scatter only 4 hits.  He was able to keep WCA batters off balance, and with the help of great defensive play, throws Avalon into it's 2nd OLBC Championship appearance.
Offensively, the Black Knights were led by Junior Nick Testo.  Testo went 3 for 3, and his 1st inning sac fly rbi got Avalon on the board first.  Junior John Funk would drive home another run, in the 2nd inning, with a line drive single that scored Soph John Mason from 2nd base.  The Black Knights weren't done however, and would open things up a bit in the 4th inning.  Mason, Funk, and Soph Josh Brunvoll all reached base, and set up Senior Ivan Wood's sac fly rbi to center field.  Then, on an attempted double steal, Funk would score on an errant throw.  Soph Mike Smith added another sac fly rbi in the 5th inning, and Avalon was on it's way to victory.
Bennie Sanchez (Sr- 1b/3b/p) Bat: 2-3, 2b, bb/ Pitch: 1ip, 2k
Nick Testo (Jr.- c) 3-3, r, rbi
John Mason (So.- 3b/p) Bat: 2-4, 2r/ Pitch: 1ip, 0r
Harry Klein (So.-p/1b) 5ip, 1r, 2k
John Funk (Jr.- rf) 1-3, r, rbi, sb

Sanchez No-Hits WCA in Avalon rout, 16-0
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.

Avalon baseball bounces back with big win over Riverdale Baptist!
 After suffering heart breaking losses to The Heights (11-10), and Wootton HS (1-0), the Black Knights were able to hold off the 2008 OLBC Champs, 6-4.  The win marks the first, ever, OLBC loss for Riverdale Baptist, and it was also Riverdale's first loss in their last 10 games, for this season. 
Senior Bennie Sanchez put together another great pitching performance with 5+ innings on the mound, and striking out a whopping 12 batters.  Avalon scored the bulk of their runs off of two, two out, clutch hits.  Short stop Ivan Wood (Sr), batting with the bases loaded, cleared the bases with a double in the 3rd inning.  Later, in the 6th inning, catcher Nick Testo (Jr) doubled in two runs.
Strong relief pitching, and great defense, were also big contributors to the win.  Sophomore John Mason, pitching with the bases loaded, and no outs,  was able strikeout back to back batters, and then forced a fly ball to center field, and  CF Mike Smith (Fr) saved a base hit with a great running catch.  Riverdale came roaring back in the 7th inning, and this time Harry Klein (So) found himself on the mound, pitching with the bases loaded.  Harry kept his poise and struck out a pinch hitter for the 2nd out, and then forced a ground out to second basemen Josh Brunvoll (So) for the Avalon win!
The victory brings Avalon to a 2-1 record in the OLBC, and 7-3 overall for the season.
 Riverdale Baptist Highlights
Bennie Sanchez (Sr-p/3b) W (2-2), 5ip, 0er, 12k, 3h
Harry Klein (So-p/1b) Sv (1), 0.2ip, k, 0r
Ivan Wood (Sr-ss) 1-4, 2b, 3rbi
Nick Testo (Jr-c) 1-3, 2b, 2rbi
Josh Brunvoll (So-2b) 1-3, 2b, r
John Mason (So-p/3b) 1-3, r, 3sb, 1.1ip, 2er, 2k



Hit parade versus Cov Life doesn't carry over to Knoxville game.
Avalon's strong pitching continued with Harry Klein's 4 inning, 5 strikeout performance against Cov Life, and Bennie Sanchez followed with a 9 strike out, 6 inning game against Knoxville Catholic. In the Cov Life game, Avalon bats were out in force as they racked up 16 runs, on 21 hits.  Clutch hitting, and aggressive base running were keys to the victory.  Unfortunately, those bats were quieted by Knoxville Catholic, as the Black Knights were only able to muster 2 runs, in a 6-2 loss.

Cov Life Highlights
Knoxville Catholic Highlights
Harry Klein (So-p) W (3-0), 4ip, 1 h, 1r, 5k
Josh Brunvoll (So-2b) 4-4, 2r, 2rbi, 3b
John Funk (Jr-rf) 3-4, 2r, rbi
Anthony Durbin (8th-lf) 3-4, 3r, 2rbi
Bennie Sanchez (Sr-p) L (1-1), 6ip, 2er, 9k
John Mason (So-3b) 2-3, sb
Harry Klein (So-1b) rbi
Mike Smith (So-cf) 1-3

Avalon Stays Hot w/ 16-4 Win!
March 14, 2009 The Black Knights have been hot lately, and they followed their 11-1 victory over Sidwell Friends, with a 16-4 offensive showcase against the 2008 VCSA State Champions, Leesburg Christian.

Soph Harry Klein picked up his 2nd victory of the year, throwing 4 strong innings vs LC.  The pitching performance was backed by steady defense in the field, and home runs by Senior Bennie Sanchez, his second of the season, and Soph Josh Brunvoll.

Sidwell Friends Highlights
Leesburg Christian Highlights
Sanchez (w, 1-0), 5ip, 1r, 0er, 6k
Klein 2-5, 3rbi
Smith 4-4, 3rbi
Klein (w, 2-0) 4ip, 2er, k, 2-3, 2r, 2rbi
Brunvoll 2-4, 2r, HR, rbi
Sanchez 3-4, 2 2b, HR(2), 3r, 3rbi


Sanchez's 2 run homer propells Black Knights to 6-1 win over Freedom HS
March 8, 2009 Playing just one day after their 12-7 opening win over St. Francis, the Black Knights were back at work against Freedom HS, on Saturday.  What was supposed to be a preseason round robin tournament, turned out to be a single game vs. the Virginia public school.  Senior Bennie Sanchez's 5th inning home run helped spark a 5 run inning, and a 6-1 Avalon win!  The game was highlighted by excellent defense, including a run saving, diving catch by Dante Stumpo (SO), in right field, and solid innings on the mound by Sanchez, Harry Klein (SO) (the game's winning pitcher), and John Mason (SO).