The Gwynn Park High School baseball team entered Monday’s game against host Friendly one win away from a 12th Prince George’s County 3A-2A-1A League title in the past 14 seasons. After a strong performance on mound by Trevon Keene and a pivotal five-run sixth inning, the Yellow Jackets left the game still needing one more win, falling 11-4 to the Patriots.
Keene, a senior right-handed hurler, went the distance on the mound, allowing four runs, one earned, on three hits with eight strikeouts while also going 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and a walk at the plate. Gwynn Park (13-3, 13-1 3A-2A-1A League) must defeat Crossland Tuesday to clinch the league title.
“The curveball was definitely working and I was just throwing groundballs and [his teammates] were getting outs,” said Keene, whose squad improved to 13-6-1 overall, 13-5 in league play and earned at least the No. 4 seed in the upcoming 3A South Region playoffs. “My teammates really helped me. This is really big. I haven’t beaten Gwynn Park since I got here. We wanted to win but errors always happen.”
A pair of untimely errors, a run-scoring groundout by Terry Martin and a run-scoring single by Randolph Smith in the top of the sixth inning allowed the Yellow Jackets to close within two runs at 6-4 but a couple of miscues by Gwynn Park, four walks and a two-run home run by Marquis Irving pushed Friendly’s advantage to seven runs, 11-4, in the bottom of the sixth.
Irving’s two-run shot sailed down the left field line and rolled beyond the hill between the foul line and the outfield fence, allowing him to outrace the relay to home plate for the homer. Friendly also benefited from a couple of infield hits that were exacerbated by Gwynn Park throwing errors that allowed baserunners to advance.
“I knew we needed a rally -- I just took a hack at it and it went far,” said Irving, whose squad last defeated Gwynn Park in 2008, according to Patriots coach Anthony Arrington. “I just used my speed to get around. I had to build up my team’s momentum. This win is great [and] at the same time, it’s given us momentum for the playoffs.”
Sherman Washington supplied Gwynn Park with a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a triple that was followed by a throwing error that allowed him to score. Friendly came back with three runs in the bottom of the second on a trio of errors and then two in the fourth on run-scoring singles by Keene and Isaiah Harris for a 5-1 lead that grew to 6-1 on a run-scoring groundout in the fifth.
The contest may have gotten away from Gwynn Park earlier had it not cut down four runners at the plate, including two in the fourth inning.
“We’ve been working for two years -- not so much to beat Gwynn Park but to beat a quality team like them before the playoffs,” Arrington said. “For us to finally put it together and make another team have to make the plays than the other way around, we finally did what we hadn’t done in two years. That’s what good teams are supposed to be.”
Friendly 11, Gwynn Park 4
Gwynn Park (13-3, 13-1) 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 4 3 8
Friendly (13-6-1, 13-5) 0 3 0 2 1 5 x 11 9 4
WP Trevon Keene. LP Randolph Smith. 3B: Gwynn Park Sherman Washington. HR: Friendly Marquis Irving. RBI: Gwynn Park Terry Martin, Randolph Smith; Friendly Marquis Irving 2, Trevon Keene 2, Terrence Moore, Isaiah Harris, KaLell Todd.