Nobody in the Jersey Shore dugout said a word about it, but everyone knew what pitcher Tellef Notevarp was doing.
Earlier this season, the senior standout had thrown a perfect game at Selinsgrove and Monday night at Bowman Field he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. The no-hit bid ended with one out when Ray Graspy ripped a single into left field.
That never mattered. Jersey Shore could not have cared less. For the Bulldogs and their fans, Notevarp was as perfect as he was against Selinsgrove.
Notevarp threw a masterful one-hit shutout, the defense played an error-less game and Jersey Shore blanked District 2 champion North Pocono, 2-0 in the Class AAA first round state tournament game.
"I wasn't thinking about it all. I knew I had one, but I tried not to think about it," Notevarp said. "I felt like I had to go out there and throw the best I could because their kid (Billy Nelson) was a good pitcher too."
Jersey Shore (18-2-1) advanced to the state quarterfinals for only the second time in program history and Thursday will play either Lampeter Strasburg or Philadelphia Electric. That game was rained out and will be played today.
Notevarp owned the moment for the second time in five nights after throwing a shutout in a 5-0 district championship win at Bowman Field last Wednesday. He threw only 95 pitches, struck out seven and ended the game two pitches after Ray Graspy broke up the no-hitter. Joe Skaspar hit a hard grounder to shortstop Colton Potter who flipped to second baseman Ryan Huling. The senior then finished turning his second double play, throwing to Chris Glunk for the final out.
"It felt amazing to end it like that," Huling said. "It's been a memorable season."
Huling is doing a good job extending it and ignited the pivotal two-run fifth-inning rally by drawing a lead-off walk. Chris Glunk then dropped a beautiful bunt single while Galen Greider bunted them both over. Huling scored on a passed ball and Kaiden Brungard (2 for 3) capped the rally with an RBI single.
"My job is to get on and that's what my coaches tell me," Huling said. "I did my job and the rest followed. Everyone did their job."
That included in the field as the defense played its second straight error-less game. Notevarp continued challenging North Pocono's hitters because he was backed by a superb defense that included catcher Ryan Koch throwing out Justin Haddix trying to steal second in the first inning. That play seemed to set the tone for the team's entire performance.
And once Notevarp had a two-run lead, North Pocono was in big trouble. It was an awesome performance considering the Trojans (16-2) had won 10 straight and had scored six or more runs in all but one of their games this year while blanking 2008 state champion Berwick in the District 2 final.
"The big thing is you have to play defense behind him too and the kids did a great job playing behind him. He's our horse and we were going to live and die by Tellef," O'Brien said. "It was a total team effort. The kids have worked so hard and they deserve it."
Notevarp grew stronger as the game progressed and retired nine straight before Graspy hit his seventh-inning single. A huge crowd of Trojans fans made the long drive to Bowman Field, but Notevarp and the Bulldogs never really gave them anything to cheer about.
"I didn't know much. I hadn't heard anything about them. I just wanted to go out and execute," Notevarp said. "I just wanted to throw strikes and let them hit it because I know that my defense is behind me and will make the plays."
Jersey Shore has won 11 straight games and has allowed just five runs in its last five games while Notevarp has thrown consecutive playoff shutouts.
N. Pocono 000 000-0 1 1
Jersey Shore 000 020 x-2 3 0
Billy Nelson and James Brown. Tellef Notevarp and Ryan Koch. W-Notevarp, (9-0). L-Nelson.
Top Jersey Shore hitters: Kaiden Brungard 2-3, 2B, RBI; Colton Potter 1-3; Chris Glunk 1-2, R.
Records: Jersey Shore 18-2-1. North Pocono 16-2.