For Jaguars, new day brings new life

The Washington Post Sunday - - BASEBALL - MARY­LAND BASE­BALL 4A WEST RE­GION FI­NAL BY JOSHUA NEEDELMAN joshua.needelman@wash­post.com

NORTH­WEST 3, BLAIR 2

In the 23 hours that Josh Net­ter­ville was stranded on third base, the North­west se­nior couldn’t stop watch­ing the clock.

The top-seeded Jaguars’ Mary­land 4A West re­gion fi­nal against Blair had been de­layed at about 6 p.m. on Fri­day be­cause of rain with one out in the bot­tom of the sev­enth, leav­ing North­west and Blair on edge un­til 5 p.m. on Satur­day.

It didn’t take long for the anx­i­ety to give way to ju­bi­la­tion for North­west and heart­break for Blair. The Jaguars erased a tworun deficit and pulled out a mirac­u­lous 3-2 win, ad­vanc­ing to the state semi­fi­nals for the first time since 2012.

North­west will play Eleanor Roo­sevelt, win­ners of the Mary­land 4A South re­gion, with a berth in the state cham­pi­onship on the line Tues­day at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda.

“[We] were at a cliffhanger,” Net­ter­ville said. “The whole team was talk­ing in the group chat. We were say­ing what­ever hap­pens, we’re still a team.”

For the home­town Jaguars, the de­lay couldn’t have come at a worse time. The team blared pump-up mu­sic in ad­vance of the fi­nal in­ning and, with its sea­son on the line, ad­vanced run­ners to sec­ond and third with one out and No. 3 hit­ter Ryan Ken­ning­ton due up.

Ken­ning­ton didn’t even have time to dig in be­fore the um­pire called for the de­lay. Ju­nior Mac Adel­man, who had sin­gled and ad­vanced to sec­ond in the pre­vi­ous at-bat, re­peat­edly slammed his hands to the earth in frus­tra­tion be­fore the Jaguars cov­ered their field with a tarp.

It rep­re­sented North­west’s best scor­ing op­por­tu­nity to that point; the Jaguars sim­ply could not fig­ure out Blair starter Se­bas­tian Kraft. Fight­ing through 90de­gree heat and a North­west of­fense that touched up Blair for 22 runs in their reg­u­lar sea­son matchup, Kraft hurled six score­less in­nings.

Net­ter­ville, an All-Met in in­door track, said he went to sleep early Fri­day night. He just wanted to wake up and get back to third base. Once he fi­nally got there, he was quickly on the move.

Ken­ning­ton tripled, scor­ing both Net­ter­ville and Adel­man to tie the game. Ken­ning­ton then scored the go-ahead run on Dene Ed­mund­son’s sac fly.

“It was re­ally in­tense. The whole crowd went crazy,” Net­ter­ville said.

The Jaguars were on the field by 10 a.m. Satur­day morn­ing, re­mov­ing the tarp and drain­ing the field. By the end of the af­ter­noon the field was wet again, this time from wa­ter bot­tles used to cel­e­brate a win that took an ex­tra 23 hours to fin­ish.

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