Northside Christian squeaks by CDS in 1-0 region final win

The Mustangs dugout storms the field to celebrate junior Blake Borges’ walk-off sac fly, which gave Northside Christian the 1-0 edge in a pitcher’s duel with Carrollwood Day in the region final.

By Chuck Frye, Senior Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – Over two playoff matchups, Northside Christian proved that it had the skills to limit Carrollwood Day’s scoring opportunities.

In last year’s Class 2A regional quarterfinals, senior starter Aidan Alvarez and junior brother Andreas no-hit the Patriots to advance. On Tuesday, Andreas Alvarez drew the starting assignment and didn’t miss a beat, spinning a stellar four-hitter through eight innings.

For more photos from this game, click here.

But CDS starter Logan Mazur was dialed in as well, determined to fight off the Mustangs’ bats and keep his squad in the hunt. Scattering five hits and battling through several scoring threats, Mazur succeeded and got the game into extra innings.

Northside Christian No. 9 hitter Blake Borges delivers the only run scored in the Class 2A regional final on an opposite field, ninth-inning sacrifice fly.

Something had to give, and, unfortunately for the record-setting Patriots, it was their bullpen. Opening the door just enough, No. 9 hitter Blake Borges hit a bases-loaded fly ball just deep enough to allow Luke Anderson to dash home, earning Northside an emotional 1-0, nine-inning victory and a berth in the Class 2A final four.

As the crowd and bench erupt, Northside Christian junior Luke Anderson crosses the plate with the regional final-winning run.

Now with a 20-9 record, Northside Christian will enter the state semifinals as the four seed and will face top-ranked Orange Park St. Johns Country Day at Fort Myers’ Hammond Stadium on May 20 at 10 am.

“I was looking for a fastball to drive, something middle-up,” Borges said in the midst of his team’s celebration. “We really wanted this game, it meant a lot to us, and the battle was won by the team that wanted it more.”

Northside Christian junior Blake Borges goes through the post-game handshake line after his game-winning sacrifice fly.

The door creaked open when Anderson worked a one-out, four-pitch walk followed by a roller through the right side of the CDS infield by senior Josh Reiter for a base hit. A wild pitch moved Anderson and the winning run 90 feet away, forcing Patriots head coach Tony Brewington to intentionally walk Chase Perkey. With the infield extremely tight and the outfield shallow, Borges went oppo and the game was over.

“It was nice to break through,” Borges said. “We take pride in how hard we work.”

Patriots first baseman J.T. Fuller tracks down a first-inning foul popup near the boundary fence.

The winning tally came after tremendous defense from Carrollwood Day (finishing with a school record of 25-6) squelched a pair of rallies.

Carrollwood Day catcher Ethan Heintz would not let Ashton Cox pass, grabbing centerfielder Christian Clarke’s throw and tagging out the Mustangs’ leadoff man trying to score in the sixth inning.

In the sixth, centerfielder Christian Clarke charged hard to field a William Gregory single and fired home to nab Austin Cox (base hit) trying to score from second. With two outs in the seventh and Anderson (single), Perkey (intentional walk) and Borges (walk) loading the sacks, Pats third baseman Nick Bonollo flagged down a Cox popup near his own dugout to crush the threat and send the game to extras.

Patriots third baseman Nick Bonollo pulls in a pop fly to end the second inning. Bonollo had a busy night against Northside Christian, throwing out four batters and catching a pair of fly balls.

CDS shortstop J.D. Howard throws to first baseman J.T. Fuller (18) for a fourth-inning putout.

CDS looked to get on the board early by getting leadoff man Julian Earle on base due to an error and to third on another miscue, but the junior would advance no further. Earle then singled and reached second base in the third with two outs but got no further.

CDS’s Julian Earle beats Northside catcher Josh Reiter’s throw and first baseman Chase Perkey’s tag on a third-inning pickoff attempt.

Alvarez (six strikeouts and two walks over eight innings) kept the CDS attack quiet until the sixth when Earle set up his third and final scoring opportunity. The junior walked and got to third with one out on another error only to be stranded 90 feet away from the lead.

“My catcher (Josh Reiter) was a big part of the game (Tuesday),” Alvarez said. “He definitely helped me keep my rhythm with my pitching. He knows me well, we’re on the same page, and he called a great game. Late in the game, he got me throwing hard for strikes, pitching to contact, and helped me stay in the game longer.”

Northside catcher Josh Reiter jumps on Christian Clarke’s short grounder, throwing out the junior to end the third inning.

On the other side, Mazur showed many different sides of his talents to keep the Mustangs off balance, throwing fire then changing to a curveball with extra movement while mixing in a deft change-up. The junior also worked eight innings for a heartbreaking no-decision, striking out four.

“This was a good game, a pitchers’ duel,” Brewington said. “(Logan) gave us everything he had and he did a great job. We had everybody available in our bullpen and we were going to ride whoever was going to pound the strike zone. We gave up one run in 22 innings (in the playoffs) which is pretty impressive.”

Mustangs starting pitcher Andreas Alvarez threw eight innings of two-hit ball.

Northside Christian reliever Merric Hunt worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn the regional final victory.

After a program-best win total and its deepest foray into the playoffs since 2017’s state final four run, Brewington is already looking for more from his returnees in 2025.

“Now we get ready for next year, get in the weight room to get stronger and faster, and get committed to baseball more. I need 100-percent commitment and it’s not about getting ready, about staying ready.”

Northside Christian pitcher Andreas Alvarez (4) returns to an energized dugout after shutting down a sixth-inning rally.

Northside Christian 1, Carrollwood Day 0 (9)

C 000|000|000 – |0|4|1
N 000|000|001 – |1|6|0
W – Hunt (2-2); L – Porta (0-1)
Records – C (25-6); N (20-9).