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Avalon takes second place in St. Alban's Invitational

avalonbaseballWASHINGTON D.C- Niko Sanchez threw a complete game with five strikeouts, Pearce Howard hit two singles, and Dan Searles drew a clutch walk with the bases loaded to guide the Avalon Black Knights to a first round 1-0 win over host St. Alban's in the first round of the annual Bill Bowman Invitational tournament, completing a historic week for Avalon, where they beat Gilman, WCA, and St. Alban's.

“I felt really good today,” said winning pitcher Niko 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. It was a great win for our team. We really wanted this.”

Sanchez threw 97 pitches and struck out five batters in his complete game performance, only walking one batter on a hit by pitch and only surrendering a few singles, winning his fifth game of the year. Billy Lennox also had a great game, making multiple game- changing plays in the field at shortstop that won the game for the Black Knights. His performance included a throw to home that beat runner Mike McCurdy, and an excellent fake throw on a ground out in the bottom of the fifth to end the inning with a runner on third.

Perhaps one of the plays of the game was Dan Searles drawing a walk with the bases loaded that scored the winning run with two outs in the fourth inning. Ian Foland first reached base on an error, and Tommy Sanchez joined him with a hit. Niko Sanchez then advanced the two a base with a ground out, and Pearce Howard popped out, but did not score Foland. Mark Searles then walked, drawing his walk from being down 0-2 and taking four consecutive balls. Dan Searles then fell behind in the count 0-2, but battled back to draw the walk, scoring Foland and giving the Black Knights the lead, and eventually the win.

Despite winning the game, Avalon had another game where they struggled to hit the ball. The team hit a combined .120, with a total of three hits, one by Tommy Sanchez, and the other two from Howard. Fielding and pitching won this game for Avalon, but they were not so fortunate the next game. In the Championship game against Loyola- Blakefield, Avalon hit a combined .087, with one hit by Anthony Durbin and one by Tommy Sanchez. Loyola pitcher Eric McDonough forced the Black Knights to hit liners to infielders again and again, and the ball very rarely got past the infield, and Avalon lost 6-0. Ian Foland earned three runs in 2 1/3 innings, and Billy Lennox gave up one more, before Conor Sloan gave up the final two runs, as Loyola accumulated 9 hits to Avalon's 2.

By Patrick Stoll

MoCoVox News

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