BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - It was the bottom of the ninth, and Gov. Livingston trailed Elizabeth 6-4 with one out. One thing's for certain, you never can rule out the Highlanders to grab that last chance homerun to capture the win -- especially when you have Drew Compton in the batter's box. 

Sam Bass, a right handed pitcher was in the bullpen warming up to go in the game -- he watched as Compton stepped up to bat. "When he made contact, I threw my glove in the air because I knew it was a homerun," said Bass. Compton blasted the fast ball over the right field fence for the walk-off 7-6 victory. "That game just showed how resilient we were and was the high point in the season for us," said Bass.

Although this 2019 season highlight doesn't really involve Bass, it ranks as his favorite GL team memory.  That come from behind thrilling victory was a season changer for the team to push Gov. Livingston back into a UCC-Watchung divsion first place tie with Cranford.

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This 2020 senior class has seen success throughout their years in the Gov. Livingston baseball program -- reaching back to back JV UCT championship games and two players (Ryan Devanney and Dylan Verschleiser) were part of the all-star 2018 UCT Championship team. No doubt, each senior on this 2020 roster had the drive and hunger to be part of something special with the goal of hanging another championship banner on the hill. 

Gov. Livingston head baseball coach Chris Roof said there was not doubt Bass was going to be one of his top arms this spring --- "but, again, we'll never know," said Roof. "Another player who me and the coaching staff thought was ready for a breakout season on the mound for us was Sam," he said. "Sam had a great summer/fall season throwing the baseball. Sam has a high baseball IQ, but more importantly is an outstanding student and special writer. The sky’s the limit for this young man. Sam will continue his baseball and academic career at Thomas Jefferson, where he received a D2 baseball scholarship. Sam will be sorely missed." 

For Bass, wearing the GL uniform meant the world to him. "Growing up as a little kid in Roof camp and seeing all the varsity players made it a goal of mine to make the team," said Bass. "When I finally got there I felt like my dreams came true and I finally accomplished my goals. I was able to be someone that the kids at camp look up to and I made it to a point a lot of kids in Berkeley heights and Mountainside dream of getting to but never do."

TAPinto: What is your favorite youth highlight?

Sam: My favorite youth highlight has to be one of two games. The first coming in the 8U championship game, I was on third base and Peyton Hopeck drove me in to win the game. At that moment as kids we had pure excitement and I will never forget how happy we were. The second would be in a tournament game in our 12u season I pitched 6 innings, then got taken out after keeping the other team scoreless, went to left field and after the other team made a comeback I threw out the tying run at home to win the game.

TAPinto: How are you doing during this period of COVID-19 isolation?

Sam: Isolation is going well, I do miss lacing up the cleats and taking the field with my brothers, but everything happens for a reason and I know we will come out stronger.

TAPinto: What will be the first thing you do once restrictions are lifted?

Sam: The first thing I will do is take Matt Murowski or Danny Quinn to a field and throw. Aside from that, I am looking forward to going to the gym and making new memories with my friends.

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Valairco Heating & Cooling is the proud sponsor of the Highlander Senior Spotlight Series. Kevin McHugh, Valairco Owner and President and Berkeley Heights resident, is an alumni of Gov. Livingston High School.

Valairco Heating & Cooling is celebrating 50 years in business. They are family owned and operated and know that keeping your HVAC systems running smoothly is important to the comfort of our customers, their families, and their guests. That is why their family is dedicated to taking care of yours, no matter what the issue may be. Using only top-quality parts to perform a higher-standard of service and all their services are backed by their 50 years of professional experience and 5-year comprehensive warranties. This means that when you call our team at Valairco, you benefit from their total commitment to your complete satisfaction.