Tag: Zack Konstantinovsky

Central Jersey Sports Radio Baseball Player of the Year: North Brunswick’s Zack Konstantinovsky

There are so many great student-athletes in Middlesex and Somerset Counties, in any sport.

But when it came time to pick one, single baseball player overall for the 2022 season, the choice was a no-brainer.

The player must be dominant; that’s a simple criteria. But to do it on the mound, while also being a hitter no one wanted to face at the plate, that just made the choice one that required very little thought: North Brunswick’s Zack Konstantinovsky.

And, unfortunately for the rest of the GMC, he’s only a junior. That means another season of blowing through hitters, working at his fast pace. And of being pitched around at the plate, depending who else is in the lineup.

On the mound, Konstantinovsky – who will play at Rutgers starting in the 2024 baseball season – threw 67 innings this year, going 7-0, striking out 119, while walking only two batters – one in the regular season, one in the postseason. He allowed only 39 hits, and nine runs – seven of them earned – with a 0.612 WHIP.

At the plate, all he did in the cleanup spot was hit .381, knocking in 27 runs and hitting four homers to go along with seven doubles.

And when it really counted, in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament Final, he outdueled St. Joseph-Metuchen standout Andrew Goldan for a 4-2 win, and the Raiders’ first-ever GMCT title.

Not too shabby.

North Brunswick with its 2022 GMC Tournament Championship trophy. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko talk with Zack Konstantinovsky, the CJSR 2022 Baseball Player of the Year:

GMCT Postgame: North Brunswick’s Kyle Tarabokia, Zack Konstantinovsky and Mark Blevins on the Raiders’ first-ever GMC title

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.

North Brunswick’s Zack Konstantinovsky (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick starting pitcher Zack Konstantinovsky:

Click above to learn more about how to be an umpire and join the NSJFU.

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.

North Brunswick’s Kyle Tarabokia (Photo: Mike Pavlilchko)

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.

North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

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.

Future Rutgers stars Goldan and Konstantinovsky: the unflappable vs. the unhittable

Andrew Goldan is hard to rattle. As a sophomore, in his first varsity season at St. Joseph of Metuchen, he calmly, coolly, and collectedly, went the distance in the 2021 GMC Tournament championship game for the win.

In this year’s semifinals, with Donovan Zsak laboring through three innings, still getting a little twinge in that Tommy John-repaired elbow, Goldan – a full-time starter – jumped in as a reliever and kept Woodbridge off the board for the final four innings en route to a 9-1 win and a berth in this weekend’s finals.

Zack Konstantinovsky is hard to hit. The North Brunswick junior had an impressive sophomore campaign, striking out 70 and walking only ten. That’s a tough act to follow.

But follow it, he did. This year? Heading into Saturday’s GMCT finals, he’s racked up 101 strikeouts. And he’s walked only a single solitary batter.

Just one.

How impressive have both of them been? Well, both are going to play major Division I college baseball in the near future. And neither will be playing too far from the high school fields they currently call home.

Click above to learn more about how to be an umpire and join the NSJFU.

Goldan’s family just has to head a little further down Route 27, and Konstantinovsky’s just up Routes One and 18 to Piscataway, where both will soon call Bainton Field home, as they play for the Steve Owens’ Scarlet Knights.

Goldan will join them next year; Zack in a couple of years. They’ll be joined by JT Kroner of Colonia, another solid GMC arm.

And when they get there, they’ll find Chris Brito, a Perth Amboy alum who is RU’s full-time first baseman this season as a redshirt junior.

The two will square off this Sunday as the starting pitchers in the GMC Tournament Championship Game, which will be played at noon at Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech. It was rescheduled from Saturday, due to thunderstorms in the forecast.

You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with pregame beginning at 11:30 am. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action; click here to listen.

Click below to hear Zack Konstantinovsky and Andrew Goldan talk about their decisions to go to Rutgers, their connection with the GMC, and Saturday’s matchup:

North Brunswick outlasts East Brunswick in 12, punches ticket to GMCT Finals for first time in over a decade

Inning after inning, after inning after inning, after inning after inning, zeroes kept going up on the scoreboard at Ray Cipperly Field in East Brunswick.

For three hours and seven minutes, 6th seed North Brunswick and 7th seed East Brunswick battled and battled. Four pitchers dealt, and dealt, and dealt some more.

No one could push anything across in Game One of the GMC Tournament semifinal doubleheader.

Of course, there were very few chances, either.

The Bears and Raiders battled for 11-and-a-half innings. Then, in the bottom of the 12th, the unthinkable happened.

Someone crossed home plate safely.

Rutgers-bound senior Zack Konstantinovsky – who threw six innings of three-hit shutout ball working on a 64-pitch count after throwing in Monday’s first round – strode to the plate. He was the DH for himself, so he could remain in the game on offense after he was relieved by Kyle Anderson; more on that later.

Pinch runner Chris Rosario was on third – after reaching on an error, and being sacrificed over on a bunt by Frandy Martinez – and EJ Accetura – a meaningless run – was on second.

Konstntinovsky drilled the first pitch from Aaron Warner over right fielder Vincent LaRocca’s head, and that was the ballgame, sending North Brunswick (17-8) to the finals for the first time since it went to the title game back to back in 2009 and 2010, losing both.

Kyle Anderson got the win for North Brunswick, while Warner took the loss for East Brunswick (13-11).

Click below to listen to Justin Sontupe’s call of Zack Konstantinovsky’s walk-off single to send North Brunswick to the GMC Tournament Finals, as heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio:

Click above to learn more about how to be an umpire and join the NSJFU.

Next Saturday at 2 pm, the Raiders will face top-seed St. Joseph of Metuchen, which beat 5th-seed Woodbridge 10-1 in Saturday’s second semifinal.

And it will likely be a matchup of two of the top pitchers in the GMC, with Konstantinovsky expected to take the mound for North Brunswick against St. Joe’s Rutgers-bound senior Andrew Goldan.

Click below for postgame reaction from North Brunswick’s win over East Brunswick in the GMC Tournament semifinals:

North Brunswick senior Zack Konstantinovsky
North Brunswick head coach Mark Blevins

Notes and Nuggets:

Few chances: Normally in a game, having baserunners on in six different innings would be a good thing and mean some scoring chances. East Brunswick did that Saturday, but in a 12 inning game. The Raiders had men on base in eight of the 12, and four of the first seven.

Efficient Zack: Konstantinovsky knew he could only throw 64 pitches, and he made the most of them. He struck out six – giving him 100 Ks on the season against just one walk, and no hit batsmen – and allowed only three hits. One of those was an infield hit, the other was a perfectly-laid down bunt by the Bears’ Christian Bermudez. In fact, East Brunswick didn’t hit a ball in play into the outfield until Bermudez’ double in the sixth. Zack K then retired Dylan Lugo on a sac bunt, Ryan Basham on a ground out to second, and struck out Jack Nelson to end the inning – on his 64th pitch.

Super Sophomore: Kyle Anderson was masterful in relief of Konstantinovsky. After allowing the first two hitters he faced to reach base, he stranded them at second and third, getting two strikeouts and a fly out to right. After that, he allowed just three baserunners the rest of the way.

More relief, please: Not to be lost in Anderson’s effort, with Mike Marchese on a 71 pitch count, but not quite as efficient, East Brunswick coach Chris Kenney had to go to his bullpen in the fifth. Joseph Ditzel was solid, too, like Anderson, scattering just two hits over seven innings of work, pitching the fifth through the 11th.

Long, but not the longest: Though 12 innings felt like a lot – with the game time temperature about 80 degrees going up to 93 with a heat index of 97 by the time the final out was recorded – it wasn’t the longest game in GMC Tournament history. They would have had to play five more innings to reach that. On May 5, 2011, Perth Amboy outlasted Sayreville 2-1 in a quarterfinal game played under the lights at East Brunswick High School. Ironically, that same night, the Phillies beat the Reds at home, 5-4, in 19 innings.