RCBC Marucci Nationals runner Thomas Vega dives safely into third.
By Sean Reilly
The RCBC Marucci 15U Nationals made the trip from Staten Island to Diamond Nation on Friday night hoping to atone for a less-than-stellar showing in their opening summer tournament last week.
After dropping both games at another location in that other event, the Nationals wanted to play closer to their potential in their opening game at the 15U Father’s Day Classic in Flemington.
It was a case of mission accomplished, as RCBC beat Wladyka Continental, 11-0.
The Nationals looked sharp in all phases. The pitching was solid, the defense crisp and the hitting was sharp, with hard-hit balls finding gaps that resulted in a number of extra base hits.
“This our second tournament, and we didn’t play so well in our first,” RCBC pitcher Charlie Porto said.
Porto was at the forefront of the victory. He pitched four scoreless innings, allowing two hits with five strikeouts. He was also the No. 2 batter in the lineup, and was 2-for-2 with a triple, two walks and three RBI.
“We made the plays this time,” he said.
RCBC scored quickly in the top of the first. Mike Marchese led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a single to left field by Porto. Anthony Depetro then hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Porto worked out of trouble in an important bottom of the first. He struck out the first two batters, before two walks and a wild pitch placed runners on the corners. He then got the next batter to ground out to shortstop Matt Mauricos.
RCBC blew the game open by scoring seven times in the third for an 8-0 lead. The leadoff batter was Mauricos, who ripped a ball that rolled to the fence in straightaway center and resulted in a clean inside-the-park home run.
Thomas Vega then singled and Marchese reached on an error before Porto knocked in both by tripling to left center.
“That was a bit of struggle running to third base,” he joked. “I don’t usually run too much.”
Depetro supplied a single to right field to score Porto for a 5-0 lead. A hit by Anthony Catalano scored the next run, and Patrick Hassell added an RBI triple and continued home on a throwing error to make the score 8-0.
A key to keeping Wladyka off the scoreboard were two plays by catcher Depetro. He threw out a runner trying to steal second for the third out in the second inning, and then picked off a runner at second with two on and one out in the fourth.
RCBC Marucci scored its final three runs in the top of the fifth. Hassell legged out an infield single with one out, before the next four batters walked to score two runs. After a fly out, another walk scored the 11th run.
Thomas Vega relieved Porto in the bottom of the inning, and after Wladyka Continental loaded the bases with one out, he got a strikeout and ground out to end the game.
RCBC (2-0) defeated Power 5, 10-1, on Saturday night and will close out play in the showcase by playing Wladyka American on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Wladyka Continental (1-2) completed play with a Saturday doubleheader, defeating Power 5 BB, 10-0, before falling to the Bridgewater Panthers, 8-0.