Scroll down to hear postgame reaction from pitcher Raiden Yost and head coach Justin Nastasi.
Raiden Yost tossed seven strong innings, allowing just one run on five hits, to earn the complete game victory as Middlesex won its fourth straight Central Jersey Group 1 title, defeating Point Pleasant Beach, 2-1, Friday afternoon at Mountainview Park in Middlesex.
Yost allowed a two-out run in the top of the first inning, but blanked the Garnet Gulls from that point forward. He struck out five, and set down 10-straight batters at one point in the middle innings.
Trailing 1-0, the Blue Jays scrapped together a run in the bottom of the third on a Ryan Vollmer sacrifice fly. It could have been more, but terrific outfield defense by Point Beach helped starting pitcher Andrew Banick strand the bases loaded.
From that point, Yost continued to fire zeroes. Only one baserunner — catcher David Terra-Nova — reached second base against the Blue Jays’ lefty throughout the final six innings. Post-game, Yost credited his defense and said it was easy to pound the strike zone with his “brothers” behind him.
The Blue Jays rallied for the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Catcher Mark Geist, who finished 3-for-3, launched a double to right-center field to begin the inning. Ty Nicolay beat out a sacrifice bunt to put runners at the corners, and then an intentional walk to leadoff hitter Stephen Young loaded the bases.
That set the stage for third baseman Anthony Long, who pulled a soft line drive to second base. Point Beach’s Matt VanBrunt smothered the ball on a short hop, but his throw to the plate was wide and may not have been in time to get Geist anyway. The Blue Jays’ dugout emptied and the team piled on each other in the outfield grass just beyond second base. For the fourth consecutive season, head coach Justin Nastasi’s bunch became Central Jersey Group 1 champions.
This was the sixth time since 2013 that Middlesex met Point Beach along the line in the Central Jersey Group 1 tournament. The Blue Jays are 6-0 in those meetings, but this was by far the closest.
Middlesex will next be in action Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm at Mountainview Park in Middlesex when they take on the winner of the South Jersey Group 1 championship game. Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will broadcast the game right here on Central Jersey Sports Radio. Coverage begins at 3:30.
Click below to hear Justin Sontupe speak with Middlesex starting pitcher Raiden Yost and head coach Justin Nastasi.