Division's Christian Varela reacts after a strikeout to end the...

Division's Christian Varela reacts after a strikeout to end the top of the third inning in Game 2 of the Nassau Class AA baseball final against Bellmore JFK at Farmingdale State College on Sunday. Credit: James Escher

Before Division senior pitcher Christian Varela put his head on the pillow on the eve of Game 2 of the Nassau Class AA baseball championship series, he received a text message from coach Tom Tuttle.

Tuttle sent Varela a couple of photos of then-Blue Dragons pitcher James Varela, Christian’s older brother, after Division won the 2015 county title — one with James’ hands in the air and the other of the team throwing water in celebratory fashion. The message that followed read: “This is what Varela brothers do.”

Well, how about Sunday for an encore? Varela tossed a no-hitter — his first at any level — to give No. 6 Division a 2-0 win over No. 2 Bellmore JFK and its second straight county crown. The righty struck out five and walked four on 86 pitches at Farmingdale State.

“My brother texted me yesterday, ‘Hey, nine years ago today, I threw a complete-game shutout in the counties, Game 2, to win it,’  ” Varela said. “And it was for the two-peat, which is a coincidence. It’s funny.”

Said Tuttle: “I’ve never seen a no-hitter complete game in a county final, and I’ve been around high school baseball 26 years.”

Division (22-5) claimed its 17th county championship after winning the Class A title last year and its first consecutive titles since 2014-15. It will face Hauppauge at 6 p.m. Saturday at Farmingdale State in search of its first Long Island title since 2015.

Division has yet to lose a game this postseason, beating No. 11 Glen Cove in the first round and sweeping No. 3 Garden City and No. 5 Long Beach before Bellmore.

Varela realized he potentially could have a no-hitter in the fourth inning. He said he just relaxed between innings and that no one tried to speak to him.

He said he started to feel nerves after two first-inning walks but settled down thereafter. “It was just getting ahead a lot,” he said. “Especially mixing it up with my off-speed, getting ahead with that, and they were just making weak contact.”

Freshman pitcher Derek Yormack was steady for Bellmore JFK (20-5-2), striking out five and allowing six hits and one earned run in six innings.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, Division’s Tyler Diez singled on an 0-and-2 pitch and stole second. Caiden Siegel reached on an infield single and Diez scored on the errant throw to first.

Siegel, Division’s catcher, has caught no-hitters before, but never for the Dragons.

“I was letting Christian do his thing,” he said. “3-2, 0-2, whatever the situation is, I’m always confident in him.”

Division extended its lead in the fourth as Matt Bolton, who went 2-for-3, hit a leadoff single, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.

Varela, a St. Thomas Aquinas commit, retired 11 of his final 12 batters and ended the game with the ball in his hands — a 3-1 groundout for the final out.

“Everything moves to him,” said Tuttle, in his 16th season leading Division. “He’s got a great two-seamer, he throws a knuckle-drop, he throws a slider, he throws a great changeup .  .  . He has great command. A great pitcher, man.”


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months