Zack Konstantinovsky was handed a 2-0 lead after the first half inning of the GMC Tournament Championship game Sunday, and almost as quickly gave it right back.
But he buckled down the rest of the way, found his groove, and was still firing his fastball into the 90s when he struck out the side in the seventh inning to give his team a 4-2 win, and the Raiders their first ever GMC title.
After a rocky first inning for both starting pitchers, Zack K and St. Joe’s Andrew Goldan each settled in.
That is, until Goldan allowed a one out, two-RBI double in the sixth to Kyle Tarabokia, which turned out to be the game-winning hit.
But Konstantinovsky kept cruising, perhaps emboldened by his team’s newfound to run lead, and determined not to squander it this time.
In fact, he retired the next six batters he faced to end the game, striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh.
It might be hard to call any North Brunswick win an upset when Konstantinovsky is pitching, but the reverberation from the win will send shock waves beyond the GMC.
After all, the Falcons had been elevated to No. 4 in the state this week, with the state tournament looming next week.
Konstantinovsky went the distance and only allowed three hits in the game, walked one, and struck out ten. He now has 111 strikeouts and just two walks on the season.
He improved to 6-1 on the season, as North Brunswick earned its 20th win of the campaign. The Raiders will open up state tournament play on Tuesday at home against South Brunswick in Central Jersey Group 4.
Goldan took the loss for St. Joseph, allowing four runs, all of them earned, and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He dropped to 5-2.
The Falcons will play the winner of Donovan Catholic and Union Catholic in the Non-Public South A quarterfinal round late next week.
It was North Brunswick’s first state title in three tries, having lost in its 2009 and 2010 appearances.
St Joe’s dropped to 7-2 in its record tying 9th GMCT finals appearance.