The Middlesex baseball program had run aground when Mike O’Donnell came on board, having moved just up the road from Franklin, where was started his first year out of school as an assistant, and found himself the head coach at the end of the season.
Born and raised in Middlesex, when he had the opportunity to take over as the head coach there, he jumped.
And one of his first calls was to Justin Nastasi.
All he did was bring the school its second-ever Group 1 title in 2007, and its first-ever GMC title in 2012.
So, when another opportunity beckoned after the 2014 season – to move on up to the Athletic Director’s office at Middlesex – that became a no-brianer, too.
And so did the decision as to who he should hire to be his replacement: Justin Nastasi.
And though the Blue Jays won their first of five Central Jersey Group 1 titles under Nastasi that year, it wasn’t the easiest transition right off the bat, but it eventually worked out.
In his sixth season, Nastasi’s Blue Jays have not only those five Central Jersey Group 1 titles, but two statewide championships, and they’ve been tot the overall title game three times.
Saturday will be their fourth trip.
Saturday at 1 pm, Middlesex (24-4) takes on North Jersey Section 2 Group 1 champion New Providence (17-7) at Veterans’ Park in Hamilton, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.
Air time is at 12:10 for the pregame show, featuring a host of interviews, with Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino calling all the action. Click here to listen live.
Click below to hear Middlesex Athletic Director Mike O’Donnell talk about the recent development of the Blue Jays’ program, and the current string of success: