Teammates await Jace Lawless of RCBC Ghost Americans after his leadoff home run in the third.
By Sean Reilly
The Richmond County Baseball Club Ghost 12U
Americans are frequent visitors to Diamond Nation, and the boys from Staten Island are usually quite successful.
Saturday’s pool play opener at the Williams Harley Davidson 12U Tournament was no different, although the script was definitely not normal.
RCBC allowed six runs in the top of the first inning before scratching back for a 10-8 triumph over the Locked in Expos in Flemington.
Christian Fazzone delivered the big blow for RCBC, a two-run double with one out in the bottom of the fifth to snap an 8-8 tie. Luca Scarangello then pitched his second perfect inning of relief in the top of the sixth to close out the win.
The Americans have had an excellent spring, including a 5-0 weekend at “The Nation” to win the King of the Diamond Tournament two weeks ago. RCBC won those games with a 55-13 run differential.
RCBC followed Saturday’s win over the Expos with a more conventional victory – a 7-2 decision over ASBA West Chester 12U which puts it in position to finish first in its pool, pending a Sunday morning outcome against Hustle Baseball Academy, which split its two games on Saturday.
RCBC’s pivotal bottom of the the fifth against the Expos started with a walk to Richie Rainero, who stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Vincent Novello also walked, and stole second.
The next batter struck out, sending Fazzone to the plate in a very important spot.
“There was one out with second and third, I was just trying to get the ball to the right side, whether it was a ground ball, pop up or line drive,” he said.
He did that and more, by sending a pitch to the gap in right center to give his team its first lead of the game.
“It was a fastball that was inside and I just took a nice inside-out swing on it,” he said.
It also culminated an uphill climb for RCBC, which trailed 6-0 after the top of the first and 8-1 before coming to bat in the second.
The Expos opened the game with a single by Jack Bealer, who advanced on a wild pitch and moved to third on a fly out. He scored on a single by Leo Massenzio, who would score when Leo DeTraglia was safe on an error. Mason Reilly and Avery Doe drew bases-loaded walks and Andrew Perlmutter hit a two-run single to right field.
Novello hit a RBI single with two out in the bottom of the inning for RCBC, but the Expos added two more runs in the second – the first after Colton Hulse reached and scored on separate errors, and the other on a sacrifice fly by Nico Marchetti to deliver Bealer, who had singled on a full count.
Even though the RCBC Americans were in uncharted territory by falling behind by seven runs, their confidence didn’t fade.
“I knew we could come back,” Fazzone said. “There was a lot of game left, and I knew that we could do something. With the heart that we have, I thought that we could do it.”
The first run in the comeback came in the bottom of the second, when Santino Youfo hit a RBI single to left field with two out.
The heavy hitting came in the third, when RCBC sent up the top of the lineup and scored six times to draw even.
The uprising started with Jace Lawless hitting a home run over the fence in left field. The next batter flew out, and Tyler Bassett reached on an error.
Rainero (1 for 1, two walks) doubled to right center, sending Bassett to third. A balk then scored Bassett, and a walk to Novello (1 for 1, two walks) put runners on the corners for Nicholas Bianco, who came through with a RBI double that got RCBC within 8-5. The next batter popped out on the infield, leaving runners on second and third for Iacono (1 for 1, two walks), who walked to load the bases.
Jack Rugg then hit a three-run double to center that tied the score.
The Expos left runners on first and third in the fourth, and Scarangello entered in relief for RCBC in the fifth. Facing the top of the order, he induced a ground out to shortstop before striking out the next two batters.
Fazzone’s two-run double broke the tie in the bottom of the inning, and Scarangello got a strike out, ground out to second base and fly out to left field to end the game.
“It was nice to come back,” Fazzone said. “Jack Rugg came through with that big hit to tie it, and it was a good win for the boys.”
The Locked in Expos followed immediately after with an 11-8 victory over Hustle Baseball Academy. The Morris County team will finish pool play against ASBA West Chester 12U Blue on Sunday.