Brookline Little League Association
Opening Weekend - April 24/25, 1999

Little League Parade Kicks Off Festive Weekend

District Justice Charlie McLaughlin, League President
 Tony Colangelo and Councilman Michael Diven prepare for the start of
 the Parade

APRIL 24 - The 1999 BLLA season kicked off with an opening weekend marked by fine weather, decorative banners and good ballgames. The festivities began Saturday morning with the annual parade down Brookline Boulevard and, afterwards, the first games were played in what's sure to be another exciting year of baseball and softball. Hundreds of uniformed kids marched, and a like number of parents and friends turned out to witness the spectacle. What a grand day it was.

Although the air was a bit chilly, the sun was shining bright as the boy and girls gathered at the firehouse at 10:30am for the kickoff parade. Led by four mounted policemen and a firetruck, the teams followed one-by-one towards Sam Bryen Fields. The kids were cheered on by the large crowd that lined their path. Joining the children were characters like McGruff the Crimedog and the Eat-n-Park cookie, "Smiley."

<Click here for photos from the 1999 Little League Parade>

Once the throng had reached their destination, the team banners were placed along the outfield fences to be judged while the kids were treated to hotdogs and drinks. Conditioned Air, Wanna Be Tan girls and Sabina's were the three winners. For the judges, C.O.P. Officer Rich O'Neill and his counterpart McGruff, it was a tough decision. The kids put a lot of work into this years banners, and there were many excellent entries.

Results of the team banner competition:

 O'Neill and the Crimedog take careful notes while judging the banner

1st Place - Conditioned Air
Conditioned Air ... Coach
 Jim Sheridan

2nd Place - Wanna Be Tan
Wanna Be Tan Girl's Pinto

3rd Place - Sabina's
Sabina's ... Coach Janine

After the judging was complete, it was time for the umpires to shout "Play Ball!" Councilman Michael Diven threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and those fans who stayed to watch the games were treated to some fine performances.

The old Brookline Journal Baseball Logo

Let The Games Begin!

APRIL 24 - Starting with the girl's Little League, manager Ed Kinzel's defending champion Slick's showed that they haven't lost a step while cruising to a 9-1 win over Moe Buskirk's Bellisario's Pizza in the opening softball game. The second girl's Little League contest featured Ange Masullo's Civil and Environmental Counsultants (C.E.C.) against Sabina's (previously Weiss Auto). Masullo's Maidens, led by Ashley Supe (4-4), Christine Fabrizio (2 doubles) and Dana Masullo (2 doubles), banged their way to a 15-2 win.

On the boy's side, defending Little League champion Steve Poremski Plumbing, under manager Tim Reitmeyer, silenced Greg Phillip's Knights of Columbus 5-0. Poremski's pitchers held the Knights to just one hit, a triple by Mike Dienert. In the second boy's game, Minor League Conditioned Air, led by manager Jim Sheridan and coach Rich Munizza, rode the solid pitching of Zach Sheridan to a 9-7 comeback win over Curt DeLuca's Getaway Cafe. It was a dual win day for the Cool ConAir crew, who also walked away with a free pizza party (compliments of their winning team banner.)

Capping off Saturday's lineup, in the boy's Senior League, defending champion DeBor, under first-year manager George "The Mailman" Miller and coached by Denny "The Hitman" Bejster, squared off with Gary Mihelcic's potent Morgan's squad in less than ideal field conditions. Led by the steady play of pitcher Scott Gaugler, with fine defensive efforts by first baseman Dan Bejster and outfielder Justin Curry, DeBor's green hornets buzzed their way to a tight 6-5 victory. After a shaky first inning by starter Theron Ladd, Morgan's relievers Domenic "Dukie" Gorga and Anthony Doria shut down the DeBor attack, allowing only three scattered hits. But their efforts could not undo the damage done by the seven free passes and four runs donated in the first frame. Morgan's pounded out 11 hits, led by brothers Nick and Anthony Mihelcic with three hits apiece, and Tommy Francesconi with a double and single. The Scarlet Warriors, however, left eight runners stranded and were picked off base three times by the multi-talented Gaugler. DeBor's three hits were a double and single by Gaugler and a single by Curry, who made a fine running catch in centerfield with runners on second and third to end the game.

APRIL 25 - The excitement picked up on Sunday afternoon right where it left off the day before. The weather was excellent and the level of competition left nothing to be desired. Four more games would round out the weekend party, and everyone was in for a treat.

On the boy's side, Minor League defending champion Sullivan's Auto clung to their winning ways with a one-run squeaker over Jeff Leghart's much improved West Coast Video. For Sullivan's second-year coach Cliff Supe, the 5-4 victory was his 18th consecutive win to go with no defeats as the team's skipper. The boys in red ran off a perfect 17-0 season in 1998. Along with the Little League's Steve Poremski Plumbing, the two squads became the first Brookline baseball teams in 33 years to claim such a distinction.

The second boy's game saw Little League Medicine Shoppe squeak by Conrad Mayo's Bob Hayes Photography in a see-saw contest. Down early in the game by a score of 5-2, manager Paul Sullivan's Medicine Men summoned the spirits and rallied for an 8-6 win.

In the boy's Senior League contest, Ange Masullo's Brookline Regional Catholic (B.R.C.) came back in the 4th inning to overcome a stubborn Toole Auto Body, managed by Ron "The Toole Man" Boyle, 12-4. Through three innings, Toole pitcher Jason Casciato clung to a 3-0 edge, but the B.R.C. bats would not remain silent for long. Pitcher Bruno DeSimone (4 innings, 8 strikeouts) got the win in relief of starter Jon Vernacchio. DeSimone and Vernacchio also rapped two hits apiece for BRC, while Josh Hallmark went 2-2 with 3 walks for a perfect day at the plate. Toole's bats were held to two hits for the game.

The final contest of the day featured girl's Senior League defending champion Party Cake, managed by John Demma, against Rick Stanton's runners-up Schwartz Market in what can aptly be called "The Shootout at Sam Bryen Field." In a 14-inning game (seven more than regulation) Party Cake outscored Schwartz by a score of 22-21 in a heart-stopping free-for-all. Schwartz overcame a big Party Cake lead in the seventh inning to tie the score, sending the game into overtime, then scored seven runs in the eighth inning. Party Cake responded with seven runs of their own to keep things even. In the 14th inning Schwartz again took the lead, 21-18. The defending champs were not to be outdone. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 14th, Shana Totino sent one over the hill for a grand slam and a 22-21 victory that left everyone gasping for air. Party Cake's Breanna Phillips also entered the home run derby, hitting two round-trippers earlier in the contest.

When the afternoon came to a close it was time for a little relaxation. But not before cleanup duties and preparation for Monday night's games. BLLA would like to express its thanks to all those who helped prepare for the opening parade and weekend festivities. There was field preparation, scrubbing the facilities, getting all the uniforms out, stocking and preparing the concession stand, and so much more hard work to be done. President Tony Colangelo had his hands full, but with the help of many dedicated individuals (you know who you are) he pulled off another successful show. In addition to many well deserved thank you's, we'd also like to congratulate all of the players and coaches for the fine work on their team banners, and wish them all good luck this year.

League President Tony 'The Bear' Colangelo (center) with
 Bud Cambest (left) and Curt DeLuca (right) thanks everyone who chipped
 in to help make this a marvelous weekend for the kids

* Photos provided by Clint Burton *

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