By Will Harrigan
The Richmond County Baseball Club had a very successful weekend in the Summer Finale, sending clubs from four different levels to the playoff.
The organization’s 13U Ghost National squad, facing a trio of tough elimination games including the final, left Diamond Nation as champions for the fifth time this summer.
Impressive from start to finish in the title tilt, RCBC Ghost – composed of players from Staten Island – used its deep lineup to wrap up its summer campaign with a 7-4 victory over the Hudson Valley Renegades on Sunday afternoon at ‘The Nation.’ Shortstop Tyler Stern of RCBC was named MVP of the 13U tournament.
RCBC Ghost, which had to win its final pool play game just to qualify for the playoffs, finished its tournament a perfect 5-0 while outscoring its opposition 53-18. The Renegades finished the weekend with a 3-2 mark.
“We had a tough road just to get here. We were lucky enough to win five tournaments this summer, but none required three competitive elimination games. The competition this weekend was as good as we’ve had,” said RCBC Ghost coach Vinny Nicholo.
RCBC Ghost wasted no time taking the lead in the first inning.
Christopher Martin laced a one out single, moved him into scoring position on a subsequent walk, and a Renegades scored on an error on a grounder by Anthony Tepedino.
The depth of RCBC’s lineup was revealed in both the second and third innings, as Christian Manteria and Christian Winter, batting eighth and ninth, set the table for both rallies.
Manteria singled and Winter walked with one out in both innings. In the second inning, RCBC pitcher Gabe Lucca singled up the middle to score them both following a wild pitch that moved them into scoring position.
Two batters later, an error by a Renegades infielder allowed Lucca to score, boosting the lead to 4-0.
With that same sequence playing out in the third inning, Lucca then doubled into the right center field gap to score a run. Two batters later, Stern – who had 10 hits in five games – doubled in a pair to bust the game open at 7-0.
Tyler Stern of RCBC Ghost 13U was named 13U Summer Finale MVP.
“Tyler mashed the ball all weekend. Basically no one could get him out. He very much deserved to get MVP,” said Nicholo.
The big lead was more than enough for Lucca, who would surrender three earned runs in the later innings pitching with a big lead. He would strike out five Renegades batters while surrendering seven hits on the day.
“Gabe’s our guy in championship games,” said Nicholo. “He pitches all of the finals and knows what he needs to do out there. He was fine today.”
A trio of walks surrendered by Lucca got him into trouble in the third, and with two outs, Andy Middlebrook singled to center to score a pair of runs and draw the Renegades to within 7-2.
Two innings later, a fielding error by RCBC led to a run when Zack Quirk grounded into a force play to drive in a run.
With the game clock out, and two men out, Ben Sinsabaugh kept the Renegades alive by tripling in Anthony Batkay, who had singled, cutting the deficit to 7-4.
The Renegades would bring the tying run to the plate after a walk, but Lucca induced a groundout to second to wrap up the tournament.