Northwest’s Griffin Bubb slides into third base as Blair’s Sam Strongin dives for the ball. PHOTO BY CAROLYN KOMATSOULISIn the previously suspended MPSSAA Regional Finals Playoff game, some of the most exciting baseball of the year was had for an all too brief time on day two, as the Northwest Jaguars (17-4) came back to win 3-2 against the Blair Blazers (15-7) at Northwest High School on Saturday evening.
The brief resumption of the game, with only a few batters and less than twenty minutes of actual play, changed the trajectory of two programs for this season. For the Blazers, their season ends in a tough way. For the Jaguars, they move onto the state semifinals against the Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders at Shirley Povich Field on Tuesday afternoon. The winner plays in the state championship.
Northwest head coach Todd Varesco talked about the game interruption due to rain, saying, “Yesterday, we stopped when we felt we had momentum and to look back on it before we left here today we said ‘it wasn’t a bad thing the day got stopped. We got to reboot and come back tomorrow and we’re just going to play our game.’ And I’ll tell you all the guys were focused. Not one thought we were going to lose, and I got to tip my cap to them because coaching did nothing today. It was all those guys. Just rose to the occasion. Rose above the flood.”
Blair head coach Eric Zolkiewicz said of the delay on account of rain, “I have nothing to comment. We can’t change the weather. Both teams had to deal with the same circumstances. You just had to come out and play.”