Northwest’s starting pitcher, Michael Yuille, didn’t go into Friday’s 4A Championship Game against Howard High School blind, but he didn’t get a chance to see the Lions play in their semi-final game. Yuille had to go and watch his sister Amber Yuille pitch in the softball semi-finals.
“I am a proud brother,” he said after winning the state championship, “I am not a crying guy, but if she ends up on the same side as we did I might be crying tomorrow.” The Lady Jags were scheduled to play in the 4A State Softball Championship against their nemesis Sherwood High School at 3:30 on Saturday, May 27.
The Jags defeated Howard 8-0 to win the school’s second Maryland State baseball title. The last was in 2012.
Yuille said he had his teammates give him the rundown on the Lions during the long bus ride up to Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen. “The guys gave a synopsis through a group chat on the bus ride,” said, who pitched six innings, and allowed just two hits to a good hitting Howard team. Yuille and closer Griffin Bubb combined to shut out the Lions for the first time this season.
Northwest’s Blonde Bombers, the team, dyed their hair blonde as a show of team unity for the playoff run, didn’t use the long ball to beat Howard. On Friday, the Jags played small ball.
The Jags got one run after junior Dylan Jaeger scored in the second inning. However, Northwest extended the lead in the third inning three Jags, Mac Adelman, Ryan Kennington, and Matthew Mulhern (a pinch runner) would all score on three different wild pitches. The Jags led 4-0 at the end of three innings.
In the fourth inning, Howard would threaten. Yuille walked Howard’s, Brendan Foster. The next batter, sophomore Brian Jakubek got one of the two hits off Yuille, as he knocked a double to right-center. Yuille walked the next batter, and the Lions had bases loaded with one out, and junior Craig Wiley came to the plate.
Wiley took Yuille’s pitch down the line to right field, where it was caught by Kennington, who came up throwing. Brendan Foster tagged up from third in an attempt to get Howard on the scoreboard. Kennington saw Foster running and gunned the ball to the Jags catcher Alex Madoo waiting on the third base line. Madoo made the catch and tagged the jumping Foster before he could land on home plate. Madoo showed the ball to the home plate umpire who called Foster out, ending the inning and the Lions score threat. Jags still led 4-0.
In the Jags would get two more runs in the fifth inning, as Yuille would help his cause by hitting an RBI to left field which scored Kennington from second. Beyond pitching six shutout innings, Yuille would go 2-for-3 from the plate with two RBIs and catch a pop fly in the top of the seventh while playing first base.
Yuille would pitch the sixth inning ending. He would get Howard’s Ryan Kulick to hit a fly ball out to center, where Northwest senior Josh Netterville would make a sliding catch for the first out. Yuille would do the rest striking out two Howard batters to end the inning, and his career with Northwest. He would leave the mound and be mobbed by his teammates.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Jags would add to their lead. Yuille would lead off with a single, senior Nicholas Phelps would walk, and senior Zach Greber would hit a ball deep to left field which would be misplayed. The hit and the error in the outfield allowed Yuille (replaced by pinch runner Mulhern) and Phelps to score. The Jags led 8-0. Northwest sent senior pitcher Griffin Bubb to the mound to close the game. Howard managed to get a baserunner to third, but he would watch the Jags celebrate their victory from third base, as Bubb struck out Ryan Kearny to seal the championship.
“The intensity of this team was something I will remember,” said Head Coach Todd Varasco. “At the beginning of this season when we interview each kid as we are making cuts, we ask them what their goals are for this season. Every one of the kids on this team said their goal was to win the state championship. They felt that way the entire year. The 13 seniors on this team have been playing together since freshman year, and they wanted to win it. Not for me, but for each other. It came together this year, and it has been awesome.”
Top: The Northwest Jaguars celebrate winning the Maryland State 4A Championship at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, piling on closing pitcher Griffin Bubb at the mound.
Next: Winning pitcher Michael Yuille (28) threw six shutout innings and had two clutch hits for RBIs.
Next: Leadoff hitter Josh Netterville (22).
Next: Northwest catcher Alex Madoo (27) tags Howard’s Brendan Foster (38) at home plate as part of a double play. Madoo took a throw from right fielder Ryan Kennington to end the fourth inning and keep the Lions off the scoreboard.
Video: Michael Yuille strikes out Howard’s Brian Jakubek in the second inning.
Next: Ryan Kennington (3) rounds third base to score in the sixth inning on a hit by Michael Yuille.
Next: Coach Todd Varesco holds the Maryland State Championship trophy.
Next: The Blonde Bombers of Northwest are State Champs.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse.
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