For Jaguars, new day brings new life
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.