Dramatic rally allows RCBC Americans to reign over 13U field

By DN WRITING STAFF | April 17, 2024

By Sean Reilly

The RCBC Ghost 13U Americans are a team without a mascot. If the Staten Island organization ever contemplates one, Luca Scarangello has a suggestion. 

“We’re bulldogs,” he said. “We fight. It doesn’t matter if we’re behind or in front.” 

RCBC had to conquer three different, definite and imposing forces on Sunday evening in the championship of the 13U King of the Diamond tournament at Diamond Nation.

The first was the opponent, the CT Grind, which took a 4-0 record into the game. 

The second was the 1:50 play clock, which was on the verge of expiring heading into the sixth inning with the Grind holding a two-run lead. 

The third was the weather. With heavy rain imminent, RCBC needed to rally in the top of the sixth by overcoming the opponent, the clock and Mother Nature. 

Somehow, the RCBC Americans accomplished all three, and the result was a thrilling 10-6 victory in Flemington. 

A six-run rally in the sixth resulted in a four-run lead. By the time the Grind came to bat, the clock had already expired, but the inning still needed to be completed, as the trailing home team gets its turn to bat before the game can end.

There was still the matter of the weather. If the rain came and the game couldn’t continue, the six runs would be wiped off the board, with the score reverting back to the last full inning.

To add to the drama, the first two Grind batters in the bottom of the sixth drew walks, the second on a full count. The next was retired on a pitcher-to-first to ground out which moved the runners to second and third. 

Reliever Nick Bianco then got a strikeout before inducing an infield pop up for the clinching out. In a matter of seconds, the skies opened in an interesting bit of timing for RCBC.

“It was exciting,” said Scarangello, who was named tournament MVP. “We had to do a lot, but we couldn’t change our approach.” 

The top of the sixth began with CT Grind holding a 6-4 lead. The Connecticut team had been trailing throughout the game until a five-run fifth put it in front. 

RCBC began the sixth with a full-count walk to Vincent Novello before Sonny Yulfo singled to center field. A passed ball moved them over to second and third.

Luca Scarangello of RCBC was named the 13U King of the Diamond MVP. 

Dominick Napolitano was up next, and with a 2-0 count, the Grind decided on an intentional walk to load the bases. When RCBC loaded the bases two innings earlier, the Grind got two ground ball force-outs at the plate. 

This time, Jack Rugg hit a two-run single to right field compounded by an error. The score was now 6-6 with Rugg on second and Napolitano on third. 

The next batter, Kaydn Salfarlie, hit a ball back to the pitcher, who threw home to the catcher for the first out of the inning. 

Salfarlie stole second with Rugg on third, but the next batter struck out. Vince Marchese walked to load the bases, sending up the top of the order. 

Jace Lawless responded with a two-run double to left field for an 8-6 lead, and after a walk to Richie Raineri reloaded the bases, Scarangello added a two-run single to extend the lead to 10-6.

RCBC still needed to survive the Grind and the incoming weather in the bottom of the inning, but it all somehow happened in RCBC’s favor with seconds to spare. 

“We had to do it fast, we couldn’t change,” Scarangello said. “The whole team did amazing. Jace hit that bomb and I was able to help out with insurance runs.” 

RCBC, which ended the 12-team tournament with a 5-0 record and 49-21 run differential, scored three times in the second inning and once in the fourth for a 4-0 lead. 

Napolitano, Salfarlie and Marchese had RBI singles in the second. Angelo Regina added a run-scoring hit in the fourth. 

Nolan Walters hit a two-out single for the Grind in the bottom of the fourth, and later scored on a balk.

The Grind loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth, before Chase Landgraf walked and Brayden Showah cleared the bases with a three-run triple for a 5-4 lead. Showah scored when Austin Patti followed with a sacrifice fly to right field.

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