In the middle of the interview, there it came: the ice bath.
It’s a tradition in sports, but it seemed to have a little extra oomph on Sunday, Memorial Day weekend, after North Brunswick made history, winning its first-ever GMC Tournament championship, and knocking off a local baseball powerhouse in the process.
After allowing two runs in the bottom of the first to give away the 2-0 lead the Raiders got in the first, Zack Konstantinovsky pitched like the Zach Konstantinovsky every seemed to know and expect in this big game.
And the kid is just a junior.
Konstantinovsky – a Rutgers commit – allowed back-to-back doubles to lead off the game by St. Joseph’s Mark Gialluisi and Josiah Brown, who knocked in the first run. Robbie Carvelli drove in the second run on a grounder to short after Brown moved to third on a wild pitch.
But that was all the wild Zach would show the rest of the way. He allowed just one more hit – an infield hit that ricocheted off his glove in the third, and two more base runners beyond that – on a walk in the fourth and an E6 in the fifth. He struck out ten, retired the last eight batters to face him and struck out the side in the seventh to end it, knocking off the defending GMC Tournament Champions.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick starting pitcher Zack Konstantinovsky:
Not that he needed it, Konstantinovsky seemed to get a second wind when North Brunswick broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth with a pair of runs to take a 4-2 lead.
Omar Carreras led off with a walk, and Frankie Garbolino got hit by a pitch. After a sac bunt by Pat McCann moved the runners to second and third, Kyle Tarabokia drove a shot almost right down the first base line and into right field, ending up with a two-RBI double that turned out to be the difference in the game.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick right fielder Kyle Tarabokia:
For North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins, it only took five seasons at the helm to deliver a GMC Tournament title.
In his first year, the Raiders won just eight games, but improved to 18-10 in 2018 before taking a step back an going 9-17 in the last season before COVID019 wiped out 2020.
Last season, the Raiders went 17-10-1, making it to the GMC Tournament semifinals, where Konstantinovsky one-hit South Brunswick – that one hit being a home run by Justin Gallagher in the fifth – but lost 2-0, as the Radiers were eliminated.
And that made Sunday’s win extra sweet.
Blevins is now 72-63-1 all-time at North Brunswick.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins:
What’s next? The Raiders will enjoy this one, but as Belvins and others said after the game, they’re already thinking about rival South Brunswick, their opponent in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs this Wednesday. The Raiders are the 5-seed and will take on 11-seed South Brunswick (12-2) at 4:00.
They’ll have to do so without Konstantinovsky, who will be unavailable after going the distance in the GMC final, while South Brunwick will have program and single-season strikeout leader Joey Tuttoilmondo available; he’ll likely get the start Wednesday.
Even “Greater” Brunswicks: The GMC Tournament win by North Brunswick means the three outlying Brunswick schools – North, plus East and South – have all won league championships, with namesake New Brunswick the only one not to do so. The Bears have won five titles, the most of the three, while South Brunswick has won two and North Brunswick one. East Brunswick’s last title came in 2016, while South Brunswick won it in 2010, beating the Radiers in what was their last finals appearance before this year.