Bassett helps RCBC Ghost National gain split at 15U Summer Bash

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 13, 2023

Ben Levy scores go-ahead run on a wild pitch for RCBC Ghost National. 

By Sean Reilly 

Teams from the Richmond County Baseball Club, no matter the age group, never visit Diamond Nation expecting to lose.

Getting swept during a day of pool play games for RCBC Ghost teams is practically an unfathomable thought.

The RCBC Ghost 15U Nationals came to ‘The Nation’ on Saturday to play a morning doubleheader at the 15U Summer Bash Tournament.

The 8 a.m. opener resulted in a 3-0 loss to another high quality program, the NY Grays.

That defeat made RCBC a determined group for its next game, a 10 a.m. matchup against Full Count Baseball Prospects, which was coming off a 9-1 win over .9ers Baseball Club in its first game.

Jason Bassett, the starting first baseman for RCBC Ghost National 15U, was ready.

Jason Bassett, who went 3-for-3 with three RBI, delivers run-scoring single for RCBC Ghost National.

He went 3-for-3, with an RBI single, two-run double and another double as the Staten Island team maintained its chances of landing in the Sunday playoffs within an 8-7 decision in Flemington.

“We weren’t going to lose,” said Bassett. “In the first game, we didn’t have the energy and weren’t there mentally. We came out to play in the second game.”

It did get dicey in the nightcap. RCBC took an 8-4 lead into the top of the sixth and final inning, since the 1:50 time clock expired while Full Count Baseball’s leadoff man was at the plate.

Full Count Baseball scored three times in the inning to get within a run, and had runners on first and second with two out. With the count full on the batter, RCBC reliever Mike Uccio snapped a pickoff throw to first baseman Nick Zarski, who applied a tag for the game-ending out. It was the only pickoff try that he attempted in the inning.

“I was not able to throw a strike at the moment, and I had to get an out right away,” Uccio said. “We saw that the guy on first base was taking a big lead and not paying attention to us, and we took advantage of that and got him out with the pick play.”

Full Count Baseball scored first, when Jackson Trego (2-for-2) hit an RBI single to center field with two out in the top of the second.

RCBC Ghost National countered with four runs in the bottom of the frame. Uccio led off with a walk, and moved to second on a balk. Ben Levy followed with a bunt single to place runners on first and third, and Levy took second on a passed ball with Bassett at the plate.

Bassett, a rising junior at St. Joseph By The Sea High School, hit an RBI single to center that scored Uccio.

After the next two batters struck out, Levy scored the  go-ahead run on a wild pitch with Jack Kelly at bat. Kelly walked on a full count, and advanced to second on a bunt single from Michael Grippo (2-for-3) that scored Bassett. Kelly stole third and scored on a wild pitch for a 4-1 lead.

The RCBC third inning began with an infield hit to third base by Zarski, followed by a single past third base and into left field from Uccio. Levy flew out to deep right field, with Zarski moving to third.

Bassett was up next, and Uccio stole second with Zarski holding at third. The infield was playing in, but it didn’t matter since Bassett split the gap in right-center for a two-run double and 6-1 lead.

“I just wanted to get them in,” he said. “I got a good pitch to hit and I drove it.”

The RCBC lead expanded to 8-1 in the fourth.

Grippo launched that rally by reaching on a single to shortstop. Richard Hopes followed with a full-count walk. A two-out walk to Zarski loaded the bases for Uccio, and he was safe on an error that scored two runs. 

Full Count Baseball started its comeback in the fifth, when a three-run rally got the Central Jersey team within 8-4.

Trego singled with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and crossed to third on a balk. He scored when Greg Viloria grounded out to third. Walks to James Kehoe and Eli Zavatsky put two aboard for Eddy Cardozo, and he responded with a two-run hit to right field.

Uccio, who entered with runners on first and second with two out, got RCBC out of the inning by inducing a force-out grounder to third.

The sixth inning started promising for Uccio when he struck out the leadoff batter looking. Isaiah Robinson was up next for Full Count Baseball, and he beat out a high chopper to shortstop for a single. Apoorva Nigam was up next and walked, before the second out came on a fly out to center field.

Trego walked on a full count to load the bases, and Kehoe (2-for-2) then rocked a three-run double to left center and suddenly it was a one-run game. A full-count walk put the go-ahead run on base, but with a full count to Zavatsky, Uccio put his struggles aside, whipping his pickoff throw to Zarski, who applied the tag that ended the game.

“That was a tough inning,” Uccio said. “We caught him napping and got him. Whatever it takes to get the win.”

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