Rivalry games take on a completely different meaning when it comes to Avon and Brownsburg. Wednesday night’s Hendricks County Championship game exemplifies the heated battle that always comes when these two teams meet on the field, court, or in this case, diamond.
For a game this early in the young season, the excitement level was palpable and in the end it was Brownsburg that reclaimed the county crown from Avon with an 11-9 victory.
“I thought … we battled pretty well,” Brownsburg coach Eric Mattingly said. “We got down in the third, fourth and fifth inning and we stayed with it with our bats and what we know. Eventually things started falling our way.”
Brownsburg led 2-0 after the first as Isaac Sampen’s single RBI scored Jeremy Jones from third base. With the bases loaded, Avon pitcher Brandon Watkins walked in Sampen for the Bulldog’s second run.
Neither team scored in the second, but then Avon’s bats came alive in the top of the third. A Jerry Stephen’s single and a Brownsburg error got Khristian Reynolds on base and with two outs, Orioles’ catcher Dylan Jones belted a three-run homer, putting Avon up 3-2.
“Dylan is a great hitter and a great player,” Avon coach Troy Drosche said. “He is just a big part of our offense.”
Brownsburg answered on the bottom half of the third as Bobby Carr scored from third on a passed ball to tie the game.
Avon went up 4-3 in the fourth with an RBI double from Tasker Strobel.
The Bulldogs failed to answer in the bottom of the side and Avon went on the offensive during the top of the fifth, taking a commanding 7-3 advantage. Brownsburg pitcher Sam Sampen relieved Mycah Whetstone after one inning and a walk to begin the fifth, immediately giving up a single to Avon’s Caleb Coy and putting two Orioles on base. A single from Justin Dunham scored one run and a double from Cole Johnson brought home two more and Avon looked to be in control of the game.
Brownsburg, however, had other ideas as they responded in kind.
Down 7-3, the Bulldogs rallied back in the bottom of the fifth thanks to two three-run homers from Carr and John Moore.
Just like that, Brownsburg led 10-7 and left Avon thinking of missed opportunities.
“Brownsburg is a very solid team and one of the top teams in the area and when you have a chance to put them away, you have to score every time you can,” Drosche said.
Avon was not finished and after taking the blow Brownsburg delivered, pulled within one run at 10-9 in the top of the sixth as Dunham’s single brought in two runners.
Brownsburg’s Tyler Whetstone led off with a homerun in the bottom of the sixth, increasing the Bulldogs’ lead to 11-9.
Avon put two men on the bases in the seventh with two outs, but a pop out by Khristian Reynolds ended the back and forth affair, for now.
These two teams could see one another a total of three more times before the year is up and if this game is any indication, the outcomes could go either way.
“This is going to fuel the fire for this year,” Mattingly said. “They have some ammo on us now and we always have ammo on them because they are Avon. This is going to make for a good year and a fun time with those guys. That’s a good, quality baseball team and that should be a lot of fun.”
Brownsburg and Avon share the same sectional and play April 30 and May 1 in Hoosier Crossroads Conference action.