Throughout the season, Avalon School baseball coach Patrick Duffy has turned to senior pitchers Billy Lennox and Tommy Sanchez as a one-two punch for the Black Knights, and their talents were instrumental in leading the club to the Old Line Conference championship.
On Friday evening at Kelley Park in Gaithersburg, Avalon made quick work of the NoVa Homeschool Lions to win the Old Line Conference title game 14-2. Sanchez allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits, four walks and eight strikeouts in five innings to get the victory. One night earlier, he recorded a save when Lennox went six innings to earn a 3-1 victory over St. Maria Goretti in the semifinals.
“I thought my fastball was really working tonight,” Sanchez said. “I was able to get ahead of the hitters with my fastball and then get them out with my curveball. All season long we have talked about winning two championships, this one and the Maryland Private Schools B Championship [set to begin Tuesday]. Our goal is only halfway done.”
Lennox proved to be the ideal leadoff batter for the Black Knights on Friday, going 3 for 4 with three runs scored and three more driven in. Pearce Howard also collected three RBI on Friday, but it was junior Khalaal Barrett-Ricks, a transfer from Quince Orchard High School, who led the way with four RBI, including a three-run home run in the fourth that secured the 10-run lead necessary for the mercy-rule verdict.
Avalon owned a 6-2 lead heading to the home half of the third. In seasons past, this might have offered more than a hint of trouble for the Black Knights, but the squad proved to be far more resilient this season. Friday evening they added five more runs in the third and then added three more in the fourth on Barrett-Ricks’ homer.
“At times, we tend to get a little complacent,” Duffy said. “But tonight they really came out swinging the bats well. Even after they got their two runs in the third, we came right back with another big inning. All season long, Tommy and Billy have really been outstanding.”
Avalon 14, NOVA 2
NOVA 0 0 2 0 0 — 2
Avalon 1 5 5 3 X — 14
WP — Tommy Sanchez. LP — Tyler Workman. 2B: A — Billy Lennox, Pearce Howard. HR: A — Khalaal Barrett-Ricks. RBI: N — Tommy Hart 1. A: Billy Lennox 3, Paul Jackson 1, Mark Searles 1, Pearce Howard 3, Khamaal Barrett-Ricks 4.