Giant Killers: JFK pulls off a huge playoff upset for the second straight year with win over Brick Memorial

The JFK Mustangs (Source: @JFKMustangsBB on Twitter)

In 2021, Monroe earned the top seed in the GMC Tournament, and was promptly knocked out in the opening round by 16th-seed JFK, which hadn’t won more than three games in a row all season. Call it what you want, but head coach Tim Ballard at the time had a feeling about his team.

Fast forward 375 days later, and the Kennedy – which had only won back-to-back games once in all of 2022 – did it again, this time in the state tournament.

In a battle of the Mustangs, the 15th-seed from Iselin (9-18) beat 2nd-seed Brick Memorial on the road, 8-4, in the Central Jersey Group 4 first round, setting up a quarterfinal matchup Saturday – at a time to be announced – at 10th-seed Middletown North (16-10), which pulled a minor upset of its own Wednesday, winning 3-2 at 7th-seed Robbinsville.

READ MORE: JFK pulls off monumental upset, knocking off top-seed Monroe in GMC Tourney’s opening round

This time, it was Donovan Claiborne who came up big, a kid who has emerged as JFK’s ace, and he certainly pitched big in a big spot, allowing just four runs on six hits in 5 and 2/3 innings, while also going 2-for-4 with a double and four runs batted in at the plate.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with head coach Tim Ballard about the victory:

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