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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Blue Devils ‘Fight Like Frankie’

Frankie LaSasso throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to last week’s baseball game between Hammonton and Ocean City. LaSasso was honored at the second “Fight Like Frankie” showcase. (THG/Betsey Karl.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—For the second-straight season, Hammonton and Ocean City’s baseball teams squared off at Hammonton Lake Park in the “Fight Like Frankie” showcase.

The game honors Frankie LaSasso, the son of Ocean City assistant coach and former Hammonton High School (HHS) standout Frank LaSasso IV and grandson of Frank LaSasso III, an assistant softball coach at Hammonton. In 2020, Frankie LaSasso was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia. After his diagnosis, he worked through a week-long hospital stay, nine months of weekly chemotherapy and recently completed his final round of medication that required treatment for five-straight days. For the next year, Frankie LaSasso will receive monthly treatments. Never one to complain, Frankie is back in school and playing baseball in the Hammonton Little League and plans to return to the Hammonton Hawks this fall.

“He’s a fighter. He never complains and he just takes it all in stride,” his father said.

Portions of the proceeds from this year’s showcase will go to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Prior to last week’s game, Frankie threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his brother, Gino.

On the field, Ocean City was able to score three times in the top of the fourth inning and held on to defeat Hammonton 5-3.

The Blue Devils were held to just three hits in the game, as Ocean City’s Dylan Oliver outdueled Hammonton’s Lukas Guerrier for the win. Oliver went the distance, walking five and striking out four.

Guerrier turned in his second-straight solid start, giving up five runs on six hits while issuing five walks and striking out five.

While the game didn’t go in Hammonton’s favor, the evening was a success with the focus on Frankie LaSasso and his ongoing recovery.

“The LaSassos are like family, so anything we can do to help them out, we will do. We were honored to be a part of the game and help out little Frankie,” Hammonton coach Gregg Silvesti said.

The LaSasso family was grateful for the outpouring of support.

“The event was a great success,” Frank LaSasso IV said.

“[There was] outstanding baseball from both teams, beautiful weather, big crowd and tons of support for Frankie, The Cancer Center at CHOP and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The entire set up was first class. I was absolutely amazed by the basket raffle and TV crew that we had for the game. Huge thank you to [HHS athletic director] Marni Parks for spearheading the event, Amy Heggan, Melissa Durham and Renee Clark for running the basket raffle, the Hammonton Little League, Russ Dustman, Mark Bianchini and president Dave Cappuccio, Mike Velardi for the sound and audio and both the Hammonton and Ocean City baseball and softball teams,” he said.

“This event shows the tight communities that we have in Hammonton and Ocean City. We’re so thankful both sides can continue to come together for a great cause. We are so appreciative of the support that our family has received over the past 18 months,” LaSasso IV said.

Earlier last week, Hammonton lost to Lenape 9-3. Taking on one of the top-ranked teams in southern New Jersey, the Blue Devils hammered out 10 hits but weren’t able to plate enough runs to overcome an early Lenape lead.

Matt McAleer had three hits in the loss, while Kole Bagnell added two.

The week ended with a 9-5 loss at Morristown.

Earlier this week, Hammonton played at Oakcrest, but that game ended too late for this edition. On May 25, Hammonton hosts Paul VI at 4 p.m.


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