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
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
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
* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - September
20, 1979 *
1979 Brookline Little League All-Stars
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
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
her American Legion team in hitting, including three more home runs.