Tag: Stephen Young

Young’s gem gives Middlesex first-ever GMC White Division crown, via season sweep of Woodbridge

In the first inning Thursday, Stephen Young struck out Woodbridge leadoff man AJ Bosch, but walked the next two batters. After a double steal, he found himself in a second-and-third, one-out jam.

So he did what he always does in that situation: strike out the next two batters and head back to the dugout.

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After the Middlesex senior unofficially threw 30 pitches in the first inning, he bore down and never tossed more than 17 in the next six. Ultimately, he fanned 12, struck out the side three times, allowed six baserunners all game, two hits, retired the last eight batters he faced, and added two insurance runs at the plate with a double in a three-run fifth inning that gave the Blue Jays some breathing room.

And with the 5-0 win, Group 1 Middlesex (17-3, 13-3) – playing up in the GMC White Division for the first time in school history – won the pennant outright thanks to a 5-0 victory over the Barrons (16-4, 12-4).

It was Woodbridge starter Eddy Nunez who was cruising early, going one-two-three in the first and second innings, not allowing a baserunner until the third, not allowing a hit until the fourth. But that hit was a two-out double by Chris Hopf, Jr., and Matt Venutolo drove in courtesy runner Colin Deem to make it 1-0, the only run it turned out the Blue Jays would need.

In the fifth, Middlesex dinked-and-dunked Woodbridge and Nunez – who took the loss – to death.

Aidan Kozak reached on a one-out infield hit, and Mike Salvatore did the same on a hit-and-run. His slow roller right down the middle between first and second actually drove Kozak to third. Woodbridge first baseman Ty Kobylakiewicz was holding the runner on, and when Kozak attempted to steal, second baseman Drew Lukachyk covered second leaving a gaping hole, making him run a log way to get the ball as it died on the edge of the outfield grass. That’s when Young’s single made it 3-0, and after a fly-out, the third infield hit of the inning – this one Bobby Ulmer, Jr. – made it 4-0.

Winning the White Division title means Middlesex will go on the board first from the White at the GMC seeding meeting, and there will be some intrigue to see how many Red Division teams get taken ahead of Middlesex.

Any team would love to avoid the four or five seed, which would mean avoiding likely top-seed St. Joseph-Metuchen until the finals.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will have live Twitter coverage of the seeding meeting, starting at 9 am. Follow on Twitter @CJSportsRadio.

Click below for postgame reaction from Middlesex’s win over Woodbridge:

Middlesex pitcher Stephen Young
Middlesex head coach Justin Nastasi

North Brunswick, No. 10 Middlesex split doubleheader, as Raiders and Blue Jays each rally late

Game One was a low-scoring affair, and the bats came alive in Game Two.

But each team – North Brunswick and 10th-ranked Middlesex – rallied late to win a game each and split a doubleheader after a rainy forecast postponed Friday night’s opener to the home-and-home series in North Brunswick.

In the first game, the Raiders – designated the road team due to the rain out – fell behind 2-0 after one inning, and trailed 3-0 heading into the fourth. But North Brunswick got on the board with two runs that inning, and tied the game at three in the fifth on an RBI single by starting pitcher Zach Konstantinovsky, essentially getting the junior Rutgers-commit off the hook for a loss.

Headed to extra innings tied at three, the teams played a scoreless eighth, but in the bottom of the ninth, North Brunswick broke through. Konstantinovsky led off with a single, and stole second. After Omar Carreras flied out to center, Frankie Garbolino singled and moved the lead runner to third.

Konstantinovsky came in to score when Pat McCann grounded a shot up the middle, which hit the mound, and died on the natural grass surface as the two Blue Jay middle infielders couldn’t get to it in time to make a play at the plate, giving the Raiders a 4-3 win.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins and starting pitcher Zack Konstantinovsky:

Rutgers-bound junior Zack Konstantinovsky didn’t get the win in Game One of a doubleheader against North Brunswick, but he scored the winning run in a 4-3 victory in 9 innings. He struck out 15, allowing just three runs, two earned. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

In Game Two of the doubleheader, North Brunswick struck first, as the Raiders scored four runs to open the game, though Middlesex chipped back with two in their half of the first inning.

North Brunswick went up 7-2, saw the lead shring to 7-6 by the end of three, then added two in the fourth to make it 9-6. The Blue Jays picked up two in the fifth to get to within a run again at 9-8 before they would explode for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth.

The Blue Jays sent eleven batters to the plate in the decisive inning on only three hits. There were two walks, a hit batsman, and one reach on an error.

Then, Stephen Young – who allowed North Brunswick’s game-winning run in the opener and was chased from his start in the first inning of Game Two – came in with runners at first and second and nobody out to get his team out of the jam. He struck out Kyle Anderson, walked Aaron Neder, and then got Yomar Carreras to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double-play.

With the twinbill split, North Brunswick is now 4-4; Middlesex is 5-2.

Click below to hear from left fielder Bobby Ulmer – who had two doubles, a triple – and three RBI on the day – and pitcher Stephen Young:

Instant Replay: Group 1 State Final – Middlesex 4, New Providence 3 (13 inn.)

The Middlesex Blue Jays won their seventh overall state championship – and sixth in the Group Final era – by beating New Providence 4-3 in 13 innings on a walk-off single by senior catcher Mark Geist.

Scorll down to hear the full game broadcast, as originally heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The victory was Middlesex’s third straight in walk-off fashion, fourth if you count their mercy-rule walkoff against Florence in the sectional semifinals.

Middlesex won the Central Jersey Group One title 2-1 over Point Pleasant Beach on June 11th on a bases loaded fielder’s choice, which turned out to be a throwing error on the Gulls’ second baseman. As thrilling as it was, the score was only tied at one, and the bases were loaded with nobody out, much less of a pressure situation than would come a few days later.

On the following Monday, trailing 5-3 after allowing a grand slam to South 1 champ Woodstown in the group semifinals, Middlesex was down to its final strike with junior Bobby Ulmer at the plate, and he hit an 0-2 pitch with two out over the left field wall for a grand slam of his own, to give Middlesex a stirring 7-5 win.

Which made it all the more intriguing when the Blue Jays took a slim, 1-0 lead into the seventh against New Providence in the state Group 1 final. Three outs away from a championship, the Pioneers nickeled and dimed Middlesex for three runs to take a 3-1 lead.

But as Middlesex had proven in the postseason, they may be down, but are never out.

They tied the game at three and sent it to extra innings.

Then more extra innings, then still more.

Ultimately, after Stephen Young came on in relief in the seventh and held New Providence scoreless for 6 and 2/3 innings, Middlesex got its shot.

Perhaps fittingly, it was Ulmer – the local legend born just a few days earlier – who got the rally started with a leadoff walk. A sac bunt moved him to second, and a groundout to the right side of the infield moved him to third.

That’s when senior catcher Mark Geist’s seeing eye single between third and short brought home Ulmer with two out, and set off a celebration that continued back in Middlesex with an escort from police and fire trucks when they arrived back home from Veterans’ Park in Hamilton.

Click below to hear the complete game broadcast, including the 45-minute pregame show featuring interviews with players and coaches, as well as Middlesex Athletic Director Mike O’Donnell. Listen as Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino bring you the call:

Another walkoff! Middlesex wins Group 1 title on Geist’s 13th inning hit

It wasn’t as dramatic as the grand slam Bobby Ulmer hit Monday to send Middlesex to the Group 1 title game – after all, it was a seeing-eye single – but its importance, ultimately, was even greater, owing to the bigger stage,

Mark Geist’s two-out single to left just past a diving Dean Licari at third base won Middlesex their third Group 1 title in the last four seasons, as they beat New Providence 4-3 in 13 innings, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Middlesex got a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Matt Venutolo, and it held til the seventh.

But in the top of the seventh, New Providence got to Jays’ starter Raiden Yost for 3 runs – one allowed by reliever Stephen Young – to take a 3-1 lead.

Still, as Middlesex has shown time and time again in the postseason, they’re never out of it.

Matt Venutolo led off with an infield hit, then Mark Geist – who would later be the hero – walked. A bunt by Ty Nicolay moved the runners up. Stephen Young’s walk loaded the bases, before a sac fly by Anthony Long got Middlesex within one, and Ryan Vollmer’s single tied the game.

That’s the way it would stay until the 13th, thanks to the brilliant pitching of Stephen Yong, who came in with two outs in the seventh, and finished the game to get the win.

In the 13th inning, Bobby Ulmer – the walk-off grand slam hero Monday in the semis against Woodstown – drew a leadoff walk.

A.J. West laid down a sac bunt that moved Ulmer to third, and a grounder to second by Venutolo pushed him to third. That’s when Geist pushed a pitch past the third baseman, bringing Middlesex the championship.

The Blue Jays finish 22-4, winning their seventh state title in program history, in ten tries.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Middlesex’s Group 1 title game win:

Mark Geist
Senior catcher Mark Geist, with the game-winning hit
Junior pitcher Stephen Young, who threw 6 1/3 innings of scoreless relief
Middlesex head coach Justin Nastasi

Middlesex gains Group 1 final on Ulmer’s dramatic, walk-off grand slam

A walk-off home run is the stuff kids dream of, maybe before they even play Little League.

But how about a walk-off grand slam with two outs, on an 0-2 pitch?

That’s exactly what junior DH Bobby Ulmer did Monday afternoon at Mountainview Park, sending his team and their fans into utter delirium.

It didn’t win Middlesex a championship, but it did give them a 7-5 victory and send the Blue Jays to the Group 1 final for the fourth time in five seasons, where they’ll try to win the school’s third Group 1 title under sixth-year head coach Justin Nastasi, and the program’s sixth overall.

Listen to Middlesex junior Bobby Ulmer’s walk-off grand slam.
Middlesex DH Bobby Ulmer

CLICK HERE for Bobby Ulmer’s live postgame interview with Mike Pavlichko on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The Blue Jays (21-4) will play in the Group 1 title game Saturday afternoon at 1:00 at Veterans Park in Hamilton, facing North 2 champion New Providence. The Pioneers (17-7) beat North 1 title winner Hasbrouck Heights 12-1 in a five-inning mercy rule-shortened game in the other semifinal Monday.

Middlesex got the scoring going in the top of the first, when they took a two nothing lead on an RBI double by Ulmer – who finished the game with a pair of doubles and six runs batted in. He drove in pitcher Stephen Young – who led off the game with a single – and Ryan Vollmer, who worked a one-out walk.

Woodstown cut it to 2-1 when Middlesex conceded the run with a groundout by Ben Woodruff following a one-out triple by Chase Swain, who would do even bigger things in the fifth inning.

It was there Woodstown began to hit Young, who looked to be cruising, retiring five batters in a row to close the fourth.

But before that, Middlesex would extend the lead to 3-1 on an RBI single in the fourth by Matt Venutolo.

In the next half-inning, Caden DeSiato worked out a walk for Woodstown, and Brent Williams moved him to second with a single. Chase Reiger beat out a bunt onto the grass down the third base line that Young fielded, but he had no throw by the time he got to it and everyone was safe.

Thenm on a 2-2 pitch, Swain cranked a grand slam to left field to give Woodstown a 5-3 lead.

Young settled back in and got three flyouts on the next six pitches to end the inning.

Meanwhile, Reiger was settling in, and came out for the seventh just three outs away from sending his team to the Group 1 final.

But just like against Point Pleasant Beach in the Central Jersey Group 1 title game, Middlesex loaded the bases and won the game.

In that game, however, the Jays loaded the bases with no outs. This time, it was a little more dramatic.

Ty Nicolay, the nine-hitter, led the inning off with a single. Stephen Young followed with the same.

Woodstown head coach Mark DiCastro had seen enough, and pulled Reiger for Lucas Prendergast, who had started the game at second base. The junior started well, striking out the hero in the game against the Gulls, Anthony Long.

On a 1-0 pitch, Ryan Vollmer hit a ground ball to first that could have been the ballgame. First baseman Tyler Wolf fielded a few feet from the bag, threw to second, but the toss was wide and pulled second Baseman Brant Williams – who moved over from third to replace Prendergast, now on the mound, off the bag. Everyone was safe.

Even had Wolf just gotten the one out, the game would have been over when Raiden Yost flied out to left. Instead, there were two out and the bases still loaded.

That brought up Bobby Ulmer, who quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole.

On the next pitch, he found the lawn behind the left field fence, and it was all over. A walk-off grand slam, capping a wild comeback, and giving Middlesex its second straight state playoff walkoff win.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Middlesex’s 7-5 Group 1 semifinal win against Woodstown:

Middlesex pitcher Stephen Young
Middlesex head coach Justin Nastasi

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

It was another offensive explosion for the Middlesex Blue Jays, the top-seed which has won two of its three state playoff games in 2021 by the 10-run mercy rule.

They beat Florence yesterday at Mountainview Park in the sectional semifinals of the state playoffs 11-0 on a walkoff two-RBI single by Ryan Vollmer. Vollmer also had a three-run homer in the Blue Jays’ breakout fifth inning.

Mark Geist hit a two-run homer, while Vollmer delivered the knockout blow, a two-RBI single in the bottom of the fifth that put Middlesex over the Mercy rule threshhold.

Stephen Young added a first-pitch two-RBI double in the bottom of the second.

Middlesex has now outscored its state playoff opponents 33-1 in three games.

The win puts Middlesex (19-4) in the Central Jersey Group One Championship Game Friday at 1 pm at Mountainview Park against 6th-seed Point Pleasant Beach (15-7). It’s their third straight title game against the Garnet Gulls, with the Jays having won both previous meetings.

In fact, Middlesex has won its last five against Point Beach, going back to the Jays’ drop down from Group 2 following the 2012 season. And they have outscored them 39-5, including a shutout in the 2018 title game.

Click below to hear highlights of all 11 Middlesex runs scored in their CJ1 semifinal victory over Florence: