North Brunswick makes history, upsets Saint Joseph Metuchen to win first ever Greater Middlesex Conference championship


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History was made on the diamond of Raymond J. Cipperly Field in East Brunswick on May 29. The North Brunswick Township High School baseball team was crowned champions of the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) for the first time in program history, upsetting the top-seeded Saint Joseph High School Falcons of Metuchen, 4-2, in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament final.

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“I’m just so happy for these kids,” said North Brunswick Coach Mark Blevins after winning the GMC championship. “This is an unbelievable feat that they accomplished. They put their heart and soul into every game and in practice. They really learned how to have each other’s backs and rely on each other when needed.”

A day that will be remembered in the history of the North Brunswick baseball program saw a great all-around performance from senior right fielder Kyle Tarabokia.

The senior earned MVP honors for his clutch go-ahead hit for the Raiders in the top of the sixth inning.

With the game tied 2-2 and runners on second and third with one out, Tarabokia laced a go-ahead, two-run double down the right field line to give North Brunswick back the lead and on its way to making history.

“I just wanted to put bat on ball and get a run in,” Tarabokia said of his go-ahead, two-run double. “As soon as I saw the ball go past first base, I was going for two.”

Tarabokia made two big catches in the outfield to go along with his huge game-winning hit. The senior dove all out to make a diving catch to rob Saint Joseph’s Robbie Carvelli of a hit and a run batted in (RBI) to end the fourth inning and keep the game tied. He also made a catch in foul territory for the final out of the sixth inning.

All of those plays and winning a conference championship make up a day that Tarabokia said they will always remember and had him feeling like he was on “cloud nine” after the game.

“To come out and win like this is all you can ask for,” Tarabokia said. “This was a great game.”

Overall, Blevins was very proud of the defensive effort by his Raiders, who only had one error in the field during the GMC final.

“We’re playing great defense,” said Blevins. “We came out of a championship game with only one error. We were making plays all over the place.”

Fellow senior Omar Carreras also had a great day at the plate for North Brunswick. The senior catcher was 2-2 with a walk and a solo home run that came during North Brunswick’s two-run first inning.

Saint Joseph battled back to tie the game in the bottom half of the first inning, scratching out two hits and two runs off North Brunswick starter Zachary Konstantinovsky.

The junior ace of the Raiders bounced back from his slow start on the mound with a solid complete-game performance to help bring a championship home to North Brunswick.

Konstantinovsky retired 21 of the final 24 batters he faced, racking up 10 strikeouts to improve his record on the mound this spring to 6-1.

“I just bared down (on the mound) and didn’t think about it being a championship game or what happened (in the first inning),” Konstantinovsky said. “I just looked at it as another game and was able to come out on the winning side of it.”

Konstantinovsky also had an RBI sacrifice fly in the GMC final. The Rutgers University commit now has a total of 111 strikeouts this season and an earned run average (ERA) of 0.88.

Upsetting the top-seeded Falcons capped off a resilient GMC tournament for North Brunswick, who came all the way from the No. 6 seed to win its first conference championship.

The Raiders rallied back from three runs down in the seventh inning against No. 3 seed Middlesex during the GMC quarterfinals and were able to hang on for a 14-13 victory.

In the semifinals, North Brunswick outlasted No. 7 seeded East Brunswick in extra innings to make it to its third GMC final, winning on Konstantinovsky’s walk-off RBI single in the 12th inning to win 1-0.

“We’ve been through it all,” Blevins said. “We’ve been through the extra inning games. We’ve been through all the crazy games and the 1-0 games. All that tough pressure led us to winning (the GMC championship).”

North Brunswick continued its winning ways during the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV Tournament on June 1. The fifth-seeded Raiders rallied back from down a run in the bottom of the seventh inning against their rival South Brunswick for a 5-4 victory to advance to the quarterfinals of the sectional tournament.

Carreras sent the Raiders to the quarterfinals with his walk-off RBI single. Konstantinovsky helped set up Carreras’ game-winning hit by tying the game with an RBI on an infield single.

North Brunswick (21-9) will face Northern Burlington Regional High School in the quarterfinals of the sectional tournament on June 4.

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