Tag: Point Pleasant Beach

Instant Replay: Middlesex beats Point Beach 2-1 for CJ1 title, heads to state semis

The strong suit of the Middlesex Blue Jays in the NJSIAA playoffs has been pitching.

Not that the hitting hasn’t been good, but the pitching has been stellar.

Middlesex got both Friday afternoon, as the top-seeded Blue Jays beat 6th-seed Point Pleasant Beach for the third straight time in the Central Jersey Group 1 finals to win the section for the fourth straight season, and the fifth time in six seasons under head coach Justin Nastasi.

Middlesex got two on in the bottom of the seventh with the game tied at one, then Stephen Young was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Point appeared to get what it wanted: a chopper hit to second base by Anthony Long with the infield in. But a wide throw home on the force out attempt let Mark Geist come in to score, giving the Blue Jays a 2-1 walkoff win.

Not a lot of hits. Timely hits.

The win gives Middlesex a shot at a fourth straight trip to the statewide Group One finals. They won in 2017 and 2018, but lost in the Group One semifinals to Glassboro in 2019.

Click below to hear the complete game broadcast of Middlesex vs. Point Pleasant Beach in the Central Jersey Group 1 championship game:

Yost Pitches Middlesex to 4th Straight Central Jersey Group 1 Championship

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.

Starting pitcher Raiden Yost breaks down Middlesex’s 2-1 victory over Point Beach in the CJ1 championship game.
Head coach Justin Nastasi discusses the Blue Jays’ 2-1 win over Point Beach in the CJ1 championship game.

Complete Central Jersey Group 1 Championship Preview: Middlesex vs. Point Pleasant Beach

This afternoon at 1:00, top-seed Middlesex takes on 6th-seed Point Pleasant Beach for the Central Jersey Group 1 title.

DETAILS:

(1) Middlesex (19-4) vs.
(6) Point Pleasant Beach (15-7)
1:00 pm Wednesday at Mountainview Park in Middlesex, NJ

LISTEN:

The game will be broadcast live on Central Jersey Sports Radio.
Pregame begins at 12:30 pm.
Justin Sontupe and Chris Tsakonas will call all the play-by-play.
Click here to listen live.
Postgame reaction will be on cjsportsradio.com following the game.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Middlesex – Raiden Yost (3-2, 1.18 ERA) or Stephen Young (3-1, 2.47 ERA)
Point Pleasant Beach – Andrew Banick (3-1, 2.07 ERA)

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Middlesex
1st Round: def. (16) Piscataway Tech 16-1
Quarterfinals: def. (8) South Hunterdon 6-0
Semifinals: def. (12) Florence 11-0

Point Pleasant Beach
1st Round: def. (11) Keyport 13-0
Quarterfinals: def. (14) Riverside 25-1
Semifinals: def. (2) New Egypt 7-0

WHAT’S NEXT?

After the sectional finals comes the group tournament, with the Central and South winners playing each other, while the North 1 and North 2 winners square off.

The NJSIAA, though, has done something new this year, where predetermined sectional champions will host on a regional basis, regardless of record or seeding. So, this year, the Central and North 1 winners are hosts; next year it’ll be the South and North 2 winners, and so on.

That means the winner of the Middlesex-Point beach game semifinal will host the winner of the South 1 title. That game takes place at 4 pm Friday with 2nd seed Schalick will take on 4th-seeded Woodstown. Both teams are 19-4.

If Middlesex wins, they would host the Group 1 semifinals Monday at 4 pm, in a game Central Jersey Sports Radio would carry live.

AUDIO COVERAGE LINKS:

Jays want to put one on the thumb, seeking fifth overall, fourth straight CJ1 title under Nastasi Friday afternoon

Garnet Gulls have overcome many obstacles to reach CJ1 title game for a third straight year

Listen to all 11 runs scored by Middlesex in CJ1 semifinal win over Florence

Blue Jays fly into fourth straight CJ1 title game with 11-0 win over Florence

GAME BROADCAST: Middlesex 11, Florence 0 (5 inn.)

Middlesex a win away from fourth straight sectional final, fifth in six years

Vollmer wants to go out like he came in – with a Blue Jays’ championship

KEY STATS:

Add another game onto this streak. Except for the 8-1 loss to South Brunswick in the GMC Tournament quarterfinals a couple of weeks ago, the Blue Jays have scored no fewer than six runs in every game dating back to a 17-3 win May 18th against Dunellen. In that timespan, Middlesex has scored ten or more runs in six of their last ten games.

They’ve also won eleven of their last 12.

Ryan Vollmer continued his hot hitting in the NJSIAA tournament. With a three-run homer and a two-RBI single to end Wednesday’s semifinal by the mercy rule in walk-off fashion, he now has gone 7 for 11 (.636) with 8 RBIs, two triples, and two home runs.

In two games in the state tournament, Ryan Vollmer is tearing the cover off the ball. He’s 5-for-7 with three RBIs, a triple and a home run. With the Florence win, the Jays upped their average nine points to .458 as a team.

And the shutout of the Flashes means their team ERA has now shrunk to 0.41 in the postseason. Factoring in a 10-0 shutout of South River in a regular season Blue Division makeup game Monday, Middlesex pitching hasn’t allowed a run since the first inning of Game One of the state tournament. That’s a string of 23 and 2/3 innings of scoreless ball thrown by the Jays’ staff.

Something may have to give Friday, though, because the Garnet Gulls are doing much of the same.

Point Beach scored ten or more runs in 13 of their 15 wins this season, and twice have topped 20. They scored 25 in the CJ1 opening round in a 25-1 defeat of Riverside. And still it wasn’t close to their season high offensive output in a 31-1 win at Mater Dei on May 17th.

Overall this year, the Gulls are hitting .369, led by first baseman Alec Glenn, hitting .455 with 20 RBIs. Point Beach has gone yard six times, led by Andrew Banick’s three, to go along with 19 runs batted in.

That’s a big reason Banick will not just bat for himself in Friday’s game, as the starting pitcher, but will be the DH, too, meaning he’ll stay in the lineup if a reliever takes his place on the mound. He’s a valuable bat in the lineup, and Associate Head Coach Joe Mazza calls him the team’s MVP in 2021.

Banick, though, has been solid on the mound, too.

MIDDLESEX SUCCESS:

The Blue Jays are no stranger to this spot in the state playoffs, especially of late under head coach Justin Nastasi. His teams are 122-39 overall (.758) and 29-9 in the postseason since he took over in 2015, including a whopping 26-3 in the states.

Here is a look at their five previous seasons under Nastasi:

2015 (17-7):
2-1 in GMC Tournament (reached the quarterfinals)
Beat Shore 15-3 for the Central Jersey Group 1 title
Lost 3-1 at Emerson in the Group 1 title game

2016 (14-12):
Eliminated in GMC Tournament preliminary round
Lost in Central Jersey Group 1 semifinals

2017 (26-5):
GMC Tournament quarterfinal exit
Beat Metuchen 3-2 for Central Jersey Group 1 title
Beat Emerson 5-4 in the Group 1 title game

2018 (24-4, GMC Blue Division Co-Champs):
GMC Tournament first round exit
Beat Pt. Pleasant Beach 2-0 for the Central Jersey Group 1 title
Beat Park Ridge 3-0 in the Group 1 title game

2019 (22-7, GMC Blue Division Champs):
GMC Tournament first round exit
Beat Pt. Pleasant Beach 6-1 for the Central Jersey Group 1 title
Lost 3-0 at Glassboro in Group 1 semifinals

2020 – No season

2021 (17-7, GMC Blue Division Champs):
Reached GMC Tournament Quarterfinals
Currently in Central Jersey Group 1 championship game

SUCCESS, PART TWO:

Middlesex also has had great success recently against Point Pleasant Beach. Since the Blue Jays moved down from Central Jersey Group 2 to Group 1 after the 2012 season, they are 5-0 against the Gulls, outscoring them by a total of 39-5, with one shutout.

Here are the last five matchups:

5/31/19 – CJ1 Final: Middlesex def. Point Beach 6-1 (lost in Group 1 semis)
5/29/18 – CJ1 Final: Middlesex def. Point Beach 2-0 (Group 1 Champs)
5/24/17 – CJ1 Quarterfinals:  Middlesex def. Point Beach 11-2 (Group 1 Champs)
5/22/14 – CJ1 Quarterfinals:  Middlesex def. Point Beach 9-1 (lost in CJ1 semis to South River)
5/29/13 – CJ1 Semifinals:  Middlesex def. Point Beach 11-1 (Group 1 Champs)

Jays want to put one on the thumb, seeking fifth overall, fourth straight CJ1 title under Nastasi Friday afternoon

The Middlesex High School trophy case may soon be running out of room for all the hardware Justin Nastasi’s Blue Jays have been racking up since he took over as head coach in 2015.

Buying an extra case should be an expense the Board of Education welcomes.

In a baseball town, the Blue Jays have turned it up a notch to an unprecedented level of success, four sectional championships in five years – including two Group 1 titles – and potentially more on the way this year.

They have done it with an incredible one-two punch of timely hitting, and solid pitching, a combination that has been amplified here in the postseason:

To wit: Against their first three opponents this state playoff season, the Blue Jays have outscored their opponents 33-1.

Only Kenny Yonker has given up a run in the NJSIAAs, in one inning of work in a starter-by-committee opening round 16-1 win over Piscataway Tech.

Otherwise, the Jays have gotten two complete games from their starters.

Stephen Young blanked South Amboy on three hits in a 6-0 win in the quarterfinals, and on Wednesday, Aidan Kozak shutout Florence in a five-inning, 11-0 mercy rule win, allowing just two hits.

Oh, and did we mention Piscataway Tech only managed one hit in that opening game?

So, yeah: opponents have scored one run on six hits in three NJSIAA tournament games so far.

Couple that with some power hitting? It could spell trouble for Point Beach, 0-5 against Middlesex since the Blue Jays moved down from Group 2 after the 2012 season. They’ve been outscored 39-5 in that span, shutout once, and haven’t scored more than two runs in any of the matchups.

Wednesday against Florence, Middlesex knocked out nine hits. Two were home runs, there was one triple, there were three doubles, and four singles.

Doesn’t look like the Jays have any plans to let up, either.

Click below to heard Middlesex head coach Justin Nastasi talk about the Blue Jays’ postseason and the title game against Point Beach:

Garnet Gulls have overcome many obstacles to reach CJ1 title game for a third straight year

The Garnet Gulls have had all kinds of challenges this year, and last.

Coming off a strong 2019 campaign with a young nucleus, Point Pleasant Beach was looking forward to an even better 2020, and a third crack at Middlesex, which had beaten them back-to-back in the Central Jersey Group One Championship Game.

Then COVID-19 hit, and away went the 2020 season.

Just as they were about to get 2021 going, amid some semblance of normalcy, a COVID outbreak shut the team down for two weeks.

Not to mention the absence of senior catcher David Nova-Terra, who was in the hospital at the beginning of the season with a rare collapsed lung. He’s now back, and apparently as good as ever.

Friday at 1 pm, sixth-seeded Point Pleasant Beach (15-7) will travel to Mountainview Park to take on top-seed Middlesex (19-4) for the third straight season in the Central Jersey Group One title game. Coverage begins at 12:30 on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Justin Sontupe and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action.

Click here to listen to the live game broadcast – as always – free of charge.

Middlesex is gunning for its fourth straight title in the section, and fifth in six seasons under head coach Justin Nastasi.

Click below to hear Point Pleasant Beach Associate Head Coach Joe Mazza talk about the Garnet Gulls season, and the title game matchup with the Blue Jays:

Blue Jays fly into fourth straight CJ1 title game with 11-0 win over Florence

Scroll down to hear postgame reaction from pitcher Aidan Kozak and head coach Justin Nastasi.

On what looked like it would be a great day for baseball, the skies opened up like a waterfall at Mountainview Park in Middlesex.

Just in time, Raiden Yost’s blast to deep centerfield went over the head of Nick Corsi, driving in Mark Geist and Stephen Young, and the Blue Jays walked off with an 11-0 mercy rule win as a wall of rain swept in from the Watchung Mountains beyond left field to douse the celebratory proceedings.

It was quite the day at the plate for Middlesex, which scored three runs in the second, five more in the fourth, and capped it off with three in the bottom of the fifth.

Not to be outdone by a gem from sophomore starting pitcher Aiden Kozak. Raiden Yost was supposed to start this game when it was scheduled for yesterday. But on a “gut feeling” head coach Justin Nastasi told Central Jersey Sports Radio before the game, he gave the ball to Kozak.

And all he did was throw five innings of two-hit shutout ball, striking out ten Florence hitters, while walking one, and hitting another batter. It was as good an effort as you could dream of, and it keeps Yost and Stephen Young free of any pitch limitations Friday when Middlesex hosts 6th-seed Point Pleasant Beach Friday at 1 pm for the Central Jersey Group One title.

You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Justin Sontupe and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action. Pregame is tentatively set for 12:40 pm. Click here to listen.

In the second, A.J. West got on with a two-out single, and Matt Venutolo moved him to second on a ball in the hole to short that Artie Piotrowski couldn’t decide where he wanted to throw. His toss to second for the force was too late. Geist Walked, then so did Ty Nicolay to drive in the first run, while Young knocked in two more with a double to give Middlesex a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth, the Jays would get five more runs, but not before about a 15-minute delay, as the home plate umpire complained he wasn’t feeling well in the heat. He left the game, and one of the other umps moved behind the plate.

When they came back, Venutolo led off with a triple, then Geist cranked a homer off a fan’s tent just beyond the left field wall to make it 5-0. Following a bunt by Ty Nicolay that resulted in the first out, Young hit a double, Anthony Long walked, and Ryan Vollmer blasted a three-run homer to right field to make it 8-0.

That was all for losing pitcher Nick Corsi, who swapped places with centerfielder Dillon Sanfillipo. After a single to Raiden Yost, he got out of the inning.

But then in the fifth, Venutolo led off with a double, and Geist’s signle drive him in, making it 9-0. Nicolay flew out to left, and Young walked. After long flew out to center, Vollmer launched one over Corsi’s head. He looked like he might make a play, but didn’t, and the final two runs came in.

Now, Middlesex will play in the Central Jersey Group 1 title game for the fourth straight season.

After a sectional semifinal loss to South River in 2016, Middlesex beat Metuchen for the title in 2017, then Point Beach in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. So, this will be the third straight meeting with the Garnet Gulls with the championship on the line.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko’s postgame reaction with Middlesex sophomore pitcher Aidan Kozak and head coach Justin Nastasi: