Harrison hosts tourney

Harrison’s J.D. Barnett throws a pitch during an April 11 game at Harrison High School. On Friday, the Huskies kick-off the third annual Dave Basso Memorial Tournament. Photo/Bobby Begun

Harrison’s J.D. Barnett throws a pitch during an April 11 game at Harrison High School. On Friday, the Huskies kick-off the third annual Dave Basso Memorial Tournament. Photo/Bobby Begun

On Friday, April 25, the Harrison Huskies baseball program will kick off the third annual Dave Basso Memorial Tournament, a four-team invitational established in the memory of the late Harrison Central School District employee who died in 2012.

Harrison will play host to White Plains in the tournament opener on Friday afternoon, while Westlake and Valhalla will play their first round at the Vikings’ home field.

On April 26, at Harrison High School, the consolation game will take place at 11 a.m. and the championship game at 2 p.m.

Westlake and Valhalla have competed in the Dave Basso Tournament each year since its inception, while White Plains will make their tournament debut this week.

“We have the same teams come every year,” Huskies coach Marco DiRuocco said. “Unfortunately, Horace Greeley, who has played the tournament in the past couldn’t make it, so luckily we were able to get a program like White Plains.”

The annual tournament is not only a day of remembrance for Basso, who served as the foreman for buildings and grounds for the Harrison school district, but also benefits current students as well. Each year, all proceeds from the concession stand go towards the Dave Basso Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Each spring, one senior Harrison athlete wins the Basso award. Last year, the tournament was so successful there was enough money to give out two scholarships. Samantha Chiarella and Christian Santamaria were the Basso award recipients.

“We give the award to the kid who displays the hard work,” DiRuocco said. “Someone who shows determination, like Dave did, and is an all-around great kid.”

As the Huskies hope for yet another successful tournament, DiRuocco said he is pleased the town has been so supportive of the fundraising efforts.

“It’s a very special day for us,” he said. “Dave did so much for the district, so much for all the sports teams, so to have this tournament in his name, that’s really a great honor for our program.”

-Reporting by Mike Smith

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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.