Brookline Little League Association
1979 Little League All-Star Champions

The 1979 Brookline Little League All-Star team was the best to come out of our community baseball program since the hey-day of the late 50s and early 60s. This talented group of young ballplayers, which included the incredible female star Donna Caterino and an ensemble cast of Brookline's best, was the first and only Brookline team to capture the prestigious 32-team Robinson Township Lions All-Star Tournament championship.

Brookline's stars warmed up for their trip to the annual Robinson show with a victory in the Carrick Tournament. Then it was on to Robinson Township, where Brookline teams had been competing since 1967. The best finish to date was the 1972 Little League All-Stars, who finished runner-up.

Well, the thirteenth try turned out to be the charm as Brookline took five straight to claim the title, one that manager Jack "Stanky" Lombardi ranked as the #1 achievement in his long and memorable career with the Brookline program.

Below is a Brookline Journal article documenting the accomplishments of Miss Caterino, Mr. Nolla, Bear Ging, King Dentel, Kong Rusnak and the rest of Brookline's best.

Little League All-Stars Capture Two Tournaments
To End Remarkable Post-Season

While most of the youngsters in the Brookline area were preparing to go back to school, one group of boys (and girls) were successfully winding down another Little League season. It was tournament time and the young ballplayers were entered in two of them, Carrick's and Robinson Township.

First, in the Carrick tourney, the Brookliners opened up with a 5-4 victory over a tough Mount Washington club. After two scoreless innings, Brookline got three in the third on doubles by T.J. O'Leary and Donna Caterino (the winning pitcher.) Dale Rusnak's solo shot in the fourth inning and Glenn Gielas' RBI single in the fifth locked it up for Brookline. Jim Garrubba contributed by playing errorless ball in the field.

In the second game of the tournament Brookline halted Mt. Lebanon with a 5-2 victory. Dom DePasquale shut the door to pick up the win. Brookline actually locked it up in the first inning with two runs. Terry "Bear" Ging's two-run blast highlighted the opening frame. Then Brookline put it away in the third inning on homers by Dale Rusnak and T.J. O'Leary. Dom DePasquale helped himself with an RBI single.

In game number three Brookline outlasted South Whitehall and advanced to the next round with a 7-6 victory. Donna Caterino got things started with a home run in the second. In the fourth, Brookline bats came to life. Dale "Kong" Rusnak hit his third homer in as many games and Tony Camarco hit a grand slam to go with his three singles. But Whitehall tied it giving Jimmy "Scrap Iron" Garrubba the opportunity to be the hero. He answered the call with the game winning RBI and another win.

Don DePasquale pitched a three-hitter as Brookline defeated North Baldwin 4-1 in round four to advance to the championship game against South Whitehall, a rematch of game three.

In the final game Brookline won the championship with a 7-3 victory. Jimmy Dentel knocked in four runs with a pair of homeruns as Brookline breezed by South Whitehall for their fifth win. Brookline dominated their opponents in route to the title with good pitching and timely hitting.

Brookline continued its winning streak with a 9-2 victory to open up the 32-team Robinson Lions Invitational Tournament. They defeated Elliot on the bats of Jim "King" Dentel and Dale "Kong" Rusnak, who contributed with homers. Steve Rydzak and Kevin Nolla helped the cause with two hits each, and pitcher Donna Caterino got the win with a two-hit masterpiece.

In the second game of this tourney (seventh overall) Brookline's little guys got timely hits and stole many bases lifting the team to a 4-3 victory over Mount Lebanon. Dom DePasquale won his third game in pitching yet another masterpiece. The little guys were Glenn Gielas, Kevin Nolla and Jim Garrubba with two hits and one RBI apiece.

Against West View Ross, Brookline coasted to a 9-2 victory. Donna Caterino blasted two homers and Jim Dentel added a single shot, while Dale Rusnak contributed three hits in the trouncing. Jim Garrubba and Joe Cirigliano also helped Jim Dentel pick up the win with two hits apiece.

Brookline's All-Star squad for 1979 won its tenth straight game and captured an unprecedented second championship with an 8-7 victory over West View Ross. With Brookline down 7-2 going into the home half of the final frame, T.J. O'Leary singled and Jim Dentel walked. Then Donna Caterino doubled to make it 7-3. Jimmy "Scrap Iron" Garrubba smacked a couble to make it 7-5. Then, with two on, two out, pinch-hitter Joey Cirigliano bombed a three-run homer to win the game. Cirigliano's homerun was typical of the Brookline bats that accounted for 16 homeruns in 10 games.

Jim Dentel was selected to play of the Robinson Township All-Tournament team along with Donna Caterino, who was also honored as Tournament MVP for 1979.

The effort of the team was only part of the success, for without the guidance of manager Jack "Stanky" Lombardi and coaches Tony Caterino and Jim Garrubba, the team wouldn't have been so inspired. Many thanks to these three men for a job well done. Brookline is proud of these men as well as the All-Star boys and girls.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - September 20, 1979 *

The 1979 Brookline Little League All-Stars

Picture of
 1979 Little League All-Star Team

Kneeling: Paul DeMaio, Kevin Nolla, Billy Caye, Tony Camarco, T.J. O'Leary, Terry Hebda, Steve Rydzak, Jimmy Garrubba.
Standing: Coach Jim Garrubba, Batgirl Cathy Caterino, Donna Caterino, Joey Cirigliano, Jim Dentel, Manager Jack "Stanky" Lombardi, Domenic DePasquale, Terry Ging, Glenn Gielas, Batboy Tommy Garrubba, Coach Tony Caterino.
Missing from picture: Dale Rusnak

Click on image for a larger picture.

* Photo provided by Rene O'Leary *

Note: In addition to slugging three homers and winning MVP honors at Robinson
Township, Donna Caterino also pitched a regular season no-hitter and led
her American Legion team in hitting, including three more home runs.

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