Brookline Little League Association
The 1978 Brookline Colts
A Couple Bricks Shy Of A Load

Paul "Sharkey" Romano's 1978 Brookline Colts had all the talent a 20-year old third year coach could ask for. Sam Achille and Keith Sciulli provided the speed. John Boyle, Bob Forster and a host of other lethal bats supplied the runs. Ray Benvenuti and Chuckie Haley kept the infield clean while pitchers Clint Burton and John Miller silenced the opposing bats. This was a well-rounded team, ready to roll in a league filled with bigger, older players.

Like the almighty "Titanic", this powerful battleship sliced through the seas with ease. They were an indestructable force destined for glory. Sharkey's Machine, or the "Big Red Machine", blasted their way to a 15-0 record and inspired talk of the first undefeated season since the 1955 PONY team went 28-0. Then they ran into their iceberg.

Some blamed it on vacations. Some blamed it on apathy. Others saw it as a sort of spontanenous combustion. But whatever it was the Colts slowly self-destructed. First a tie, then two self-inflicted losses, one due to attendance, the other an apparent lack of hand-eye coordination. The machinery was sputtering, but the Colts hung on to finish the season 20-3-1, good enough for the regular season championship of the Chartiers Valley Baseball Association.

After thumping first round playoff opponent Carnegie in two games, it appeared that the Colts had shaken off their malaise and were ready for their championship showdown with a powerful Greentree team. The Brookliners had beaten the green demons twice in earlier contests, but this time it was not to be.

The season ended with two straight losses in the championship series. The first, a heart-wrenching 8-7 extra-inning defeat at McGibbeny Field, was the blow that really punctured the hull. The last game was valliantly fought, but it was no more than the final chapter in the demise of the indestructable force. The Titanic had exposed its soft underbelly, and sunk.

Sounds like a sad ending, doesn't it? Well, nothing lasts forever, and like the movie "Titanic" has breathed new life into that timeless legend, the passing of years has replaced the disappointment of what could have been with the knowledge of what really was.

The 1978 season was a magical year for the Brookline Colts. The team may not have achieved the lofty expectations of some, but "Sharkey's Machine" did captivate the community during those summer months. For those of us who played on that team, it sure was a fun ride, and we can all sleep comfortably with the knowledge that our team was one of the best to represent the neighborhood of Brookline.

Below are the Brookline Journal articles written by "Mas Neyrb" documenting the 1978 Colt season. Relive the magic, and the tragedy, that made up one unforgettable summer.

The 1978 Brookline Colts

Picture of
 1978 Brookline Colts

Kneeling: Joe Panucci, Sam Achille, Chuck Haley, Keith Sciulli, Vince Gianella, Joey Fundo.
Standing: Ray Benvenuti, Bobby Forster, Mike Raimondi, Clint Burton, Brian Phillips, John Boyle, John Miller, Manager Paul "Sharkey" Romano.
Missing from photo: Tim Gremba, Carmen Tripodi.

Click on image for a larger picture.

* Photo provided by Clint Burton *

Brookline Colts List Three Straight Wins

Manager Sharkey Romano's Brookline colts (all 16 year olds) are off and pitching, batting, fielding and running in the National Division of the Chartiers Valley Colt League, which includes boys ranging from 15 to 17 years of age.

As of Sunday, the Brookline Red Machine had posted three straight victories, demonstrating brilliant pitching, potential batting power from the leadoff boy almost to the bottom of the lineup, speed on the bases and better than average fielding, the team's only obvious weakness through three games.

Clint Burton and Johnny Miller, both right-handers, are the 1-2 pitching punch at the moment. Burton is 2-0 with Miller posting the other victory. Romano also has fireballing Johnny Boyle and Carmen Tripodi available for the mound to supplement the curveball artists Miller and Burton.

Boyle, a first-baseman, is the team's leading hitter to date with three singles in four trips against Banksville, 3-for-3 including a 340-foot homerun, against Bower Hill Nationals and a single against South Baldwin.

Here is a game-by-game breakdown through last Sunday:

MAY 22 - Clint Burton pitched a four-hitter, struck out 11 and walked only two while Johnny Boyle drove in two runs with three singles and Tim Gremba hit a 320-foot ground-rule double as Brookline squeezed by Banksville, 4-3. Burton had a 3-0 shutout and was working on a two-hitter until the seventh when two errors and a pair of hits enabled Banksville to tie. Then Brookline moved runners to second and third. Brian Phillips grounded to the pitcher but Carmen Tripodi slid in safely with the winning run.

MAY 27 - Jughandle Johnny Miller flipped another four-hitter for Brookline, with Johnny Boyle highlighting his three hits by slamming a homerun of major league distance, as the Bower Hill Nationals bit the dust, 7-1, on their home turf at Scott Park. Miller struck out four and walked two.

MAY 28 - Clint Burton struck out six batters, walked none, and gave up two hits in three innings (permitted 10 per week) and Johnny Boyle relieved in brilliant style as Brookline ran its National Division record to 3-0 with a 10-4 victory over South Baldwin. In his relief effort, Boyle struck out nine, walked five and yielded two hits for Brookline's third consecutive four-hitter. Mike "Lumpy" Raimondi drove in four runs with a triple and double while Bobby Forster, who replaced Carmen Tripodi at third in the fourth, doubled and singled in two trips.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - June 1, 1978 *

Brookline Colts Have 6-0 Record

Brookline currently is the surprise of the Chartiers Valley Colt League National Division. Through Sunday, Manager Sharkey Romano's Brookline squad were riding a 6-0 record with 18 games to play, and Johnny Boyle, a 15-year old masquerading as a 16-year old is all the rage.

Brookline's Big Bomber has smashed three tape-measure home runs in five games. Boyle blasted a 340-foot homer at Scott Park, an unbelievable 440-footer which sailed over the highway and onto the front lawn of a house at Bridgeville and a 320-foot shot out of McGibbeny Field and into the church parking lot against South Fayette. John, with scattered help, is carrying the Brookline batting barrage with 11 hits in 17 trips for a .647 average.

Brookline pitching has been almost perfection, with Clint Burton working two 4-hitters (sharing one with Boyle); Johnny Miller registering four and five-hitters and Carmen Tripodi chucking a 3-hitter in his only start. Burton and Miller each own a 2-0 record. Burton in 10 innings has struck out 17 and walked only 2. Miller has fanned nine, walked only three and hit two batters in 14 innings. Boyle has whiffed nine and walked 5 in four frames and Tripodi has K'd five and walked five in seven innings pitched.

Manager Romano also is getting timely extra-base hitting from catcher Mike Raimondi, who has socked three doubles and a triple in four games. Brookline's hitting has been fairly well distributed other than the batting of Boyle and Raimondi.

Here is a summary of Brookline's games last week:

MAY 29 - Johnny Boyle slammed an "outta sight" Mickey Mantle-type homerun and Johnny Miller flipped a five-hitter as Brookline clipped Bridgeville, 9-3, on the latter's Environmental Phase II Field. Boyle also doubled and singled in four trips. Mike Raimondi doubled.

JUNE 4 - Carmen Tripodi, who twisted an ankle a week ago, responded magnificently by pitching a three-hitter, fanning five and walking five as Brookline, with Johnny Boyle belting his third tape-measure homer of the season, rolled over South Fayette, 5-2, at Danny McGibbeny Memorial Field.

JUNE 6 - Forfeit victory over McDonald.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - June 8, 1978 *

Brookline Colts Remain Undefeated

Brookline's Colts, using only 16-year olds, are still on the undefeated trail with a 7-0 record in the National Division of the Chartiers Valley Colt League, which includes players up to 17 years of age.

The frisky Colts, rated by Manager Sharkey Romano as his best for "all-around team play," once again rode the homerun slugging of Johnny Boyle, who planted his fourth of the season, and the combined pitching prowess of Johnny Miller, who won his third straight; Clint Burton (2-0), who flipped three scoreless innings of relief and the fireballing Boyle, who chucked one frame.

That combined effort produced a 4-0 victory, the second of the season over Bower Hill. Miller, Burton and Boyle allowed only one hit apiece.

Boyle also singled for a 2-for-4 plate performance while Miller helped his own cause with two singles and a walk in three trips. Boyle is 13 for 23 this season. His closest competitor at bat is catcher Mike Raimondi, who has rapped six hits in 16 trips, including a triple and three doubles.

COLT CLIPPINGS: Manager Sharkey Romano's strong pitching staff was slightly weakened by the loss of Carmen Tripodi, who accepted a summer job in West Virginia. In 17 innings, Miller has yielded only 10 hits, whiffed 11, walked four and hit two batters. Burton, in 13 frames, has allowed only nine hits, struck out 20 and walked three. Boyle has worked five innings, yielding three hits, fanning eleven and walking six. Tripodi gave only three hits, struck out five and walked five in seven innings.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - June 15, 1978 *

Brookline Colts Keep Moving
By Chalking Up A 10-0 Record

Brookline's surprising Colts eased through a trio of stumbling blocks during the week to run their record to 10-0 in the National Division of the Chartier's Valley Colt League.

Manager Sharkey Romano is using curveball specialists Clint Burton and Jughandle Johnny Miller as his jaws. Both pitchers are sporting 4-0 records and each survived stiff tests against the league's strongest teams during the week.

Meanwhile, John Boyle, a brilliant first baseman and fireballing righthander, is flashing the way for an improving array of hitters with 18 safeties, including four homers, in 32 at-bats. Bobby Forster, who is rapidly earning a starting job, has six hits in 13 trips. Mike Raimondi, a rugged catcher, is creeping up on Boyle with 13 hits in 27 tries, including two triples and four doubles. Miller, too, has rapped six hits in 14 appearances.

Catcher Raimondi has helped the Brookline pitchers considerably. His talented play and rifle arm have kept would be base stealers at bay.

Ray Benvenuti, who ranges in both directions as a tight shortstop, apparently is recovering the batting prowess he displayed in previous years.

Ray-Ray, as he is known to Brookline fans who have been watching him develop since his Little League days with Ang Masullo and American Legion, smashed a 400-foot homerun "up on the hill" in left-center at Baldwin and cracked a two-run double against Greentree.

Another player, who is a master at getting on via a walk, error, hit-by-pitch, hit, or any other way you could reach base, is Joey Fundo. He's Romano's leadoff hitter, and frequently scores runs with his heads up play. And there's sharp-hitting, clever-fielding Chuckie Haley, who also is adding to the team's success.

And then there's Sam "Omar" Achille, Keith Sciulli, Brian Phillips and Vince Gianella; other contributors to what many descibe as possibly the best all-around team ever from Brookline in this age group.

Here are the three big victories Brookline scored in the last week:

JUNE 13 - Clint Burton started it by setting down nine straight, six on strikeouts, in three innings. Johnny Miller followed by whiffing five batters in his three, then Johnny Boyle struck out two, walked one, and hit a batter as Brookline slamed Scott Township, 7-1, at Scott Park. Burton was the winner, boosting his record to 3-0. Sammy Achille rapped two singles, Chuckie Haley socked a pair and hit a sacrifice fly, and Mike "Lumpy" Raimondi belted a booming double and a single.

JUNE 15 - South Baldwin talked a "bad" game and Brookline, behind the five-hit pitching of Clint Burton and 15-hit attack on two enemy pitchers, crushed the noisy element, 12-2, on their cow-pasture field. Ray Benvenuti applied the "last word" that choked off the "bench boys" by exploding a three-run 400-foot homer to the hill in left-center. Brian Phillips had already socked a ground-rule double to the hill, but slightly to the left of the pole that indicates homerun territory. Johnny Boyle and Mike Raimondi continued their ferocious hitting streaks with three singles each, Bobby Forster belted two and Joey Fundo reached base three times, on a single and two errors, scoring each time.

JUNE 18 - Jughandle Johnny Miller had that big curve dipping in rare form as he beat off a challenge by Brookline's closest competition with a 5-2 conquest of Greentree. The game was called in the home half of the fifth as a cloudburst hit the area. Mike Raimondi once again socked a double, single, walked and drove in two runs for Manager Sharkey Romano's unbeaten home team, now 10-0. Ray Benvenuti doubled in two and Sammy Achille stroked two singles and drove in one.

COLT CLIPPINGS: Brookline's pitchers are on a roll. Clint Burton is 4-0 with 23 innings pitched, 2 earned runs, 12 hits allowed, eight walks, one hit batsman and 31 strikeouts. Johnny Miller is 4-0 with 27 innings pitched, 16 hits allowed, nine walks, two hit batsmen and 19 strikeouts. Boyle has no decisions in three appearances, going seven innings with two earned runs, nine hits allowed, seven walks, one hit batsman and 13 strikeouts.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - June 22, 1978 *

Brookline Colts Keep Moving
With Impressive 13-0 Record

Not since 1955, when Jimmy Klingensmith's PONY Leaguers went 28-0 for the season, has a Brookline travelling team seemed headed for an undefeated record.

But Manager Sharkey Romano's Brookline Colts are given an outside shot as they roll along with a 13-0 chart and 10 games to play, starting with a rugged test this Saturday at Wildcat Field in Mt. Lebanon. The game was postponed June 3 because of a muddy field but will go on Saturday at 3pm barring bad weather.

Brookline survived three important games the past week, but almost strictly on pitching and batting.

The Colt fielding and other mental lapses could have been costly except for the hitting of Ray-Ray Benvenuti, now with three homers; Johnny Boyle, with four tape-measure blasts; Mike Raimondi, Joey Fundo, Johnny Miller and Bobby Forster, who keep punching out those vital singles; Chuck Haley, who returned Sunday in time to start hitting right where he left off; Keith Sciulli and Clint Burton, who along with Miller has been carrying the pitching for Brookline.

Burton is 5-0 with one save, Miller is 5-0, Boyle 1-0 and Carmen Tripodi, gone for the season, 1-0. The other victory was a forfeit over McDonald.

Brookline is leading the National Division of the Chartiers Valley Colt League and Collier, a 12-2 victim of Brookline, is the pacemaker in the American Division.

Manager Romano's Colts remained undefeated in three games last week and for the season because of their pitching depth and long-ball power. Here is a capsule of the three games:

JUNE 19 - Ray-Ray Benvenuti smashed two homeruns, the first with the sacks packed, and drove in five as Brookline rocked Collier by the score of 13-2. Johnny Miller also blasted a homer. Clint Burton, who ran his pitching record to 5-0, socked a double and two singles to shake off his batting slump. Joey Fundo, Bobby Forster and Keith Sciulli drilled two singles each. Burton fanned seven, walked none, gave seven hits and allowed one earned run.

JUNE 20 - Johnny Miller gave it the old college try and curveballed Brookline by its toughest test of the season, a 3-2 squeaker over South Baldwin at Baldwin High School's cow pasture. Brookline errors kept Miller in constant hot water in the home half of the final frame but Jughandle Johnny was equal to the occasion as he dispensed with South Baldwin after one run was in and runners were on second and third with only one out. It was Miller's fifth straight win without a loss as he twirled a nine-hitter, fanning eight, walking four and yielding only one earned run. Brookline's five hits, a season low, were timely as Johnny Boyle tripled, Ray-Ray Benvenuti doubled and singled, Miller doubled and Joey Fundo singled.

JUNE 25 - Brookline unleashed almost unbelievable batting power, and they needed it, as Johnny Boyle, making his first start, and relief pitcher Clint Burton, were the victim of nine errors, but the Colts still made it look easy by crushing Greentree Americans, 17-7. Burton ignited Brookline's bats as he smacked a two-run homer, bases-clearing double, walked twice, scored three times and drove in five runs. Chuck Haley, back from the Scouting honors that put him in the national limelight, turned in two doubles and a single. Keith Sciulli smacked a triple while Boyle, aiding his own cause, hit a double and two singles. Bobby Forster had two singles and a walk and Joey "He's Always On Base" Fundo sliced a pair of singles.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - June 29, 1978 *

Manager Sharkey Romano Up In
The Clouds With Brookline Colts

Brookline's Colts and Manager Sharkey Romano are still flying higher than astronauts with a 15-0 record on the Chartiers Valley Colt League.

But the Big Red Machine could be in for a sudden fall this week as it plays four games. To add to Manager Romano's problems, he is without one of his pitching powers, Jughandle Johnny Miller, who is on vacation, but may be back in time to take on Scott Township on Sunday.

Manager Romano plans to hold his ace, Clint Burton, for an important clash with the Greentree Nationals, a 5-2 victim earlier in the season. That game, matching an undefeated team versus one that has lost only two, may be a preview of the championship game.

In running their record to 15-0, Brookline added two victories since the last report. Here's how they did it:

JULY 1 - Forfeit victory over Mt. Lebanon.

JULY 5 - Clint Burton yielded a slow-roller hit to second base in the first inning, then shut the door on Banksville at Tower Field as he pitched a one-hitter and Brookline ran their season mark to 15-0 with a 7-0 romp. Burton, boosting his pitching record to 6-0, also slammed a long double to left and two singles to drive in three runs. Ray Benvenuti smashed a long triple to left, which he tried to stretch into a homerun without success, and a single to drive in two. Johnny Boyle accounted for an RBI as he doubled and singled. Burton struck out six and walked four. Benvenuti also turned in several fine fielding plays at shortstop to preserve the shut-out.

JULY 6 - Manager Romano and three of his Brookline stars, first baseman Johnny Boyle, pitcher Clint Burton and catcher Mike Raimondi competed in the annual All-Star game at Banksville's Tower Field, and their National Division squad scored a lopsided 16-1 victory over the American Division. Boyle smashed a rocket shot triple to center and struck out in his two at-bats while Raimondi walked and reached base on an error. He also threw out a would-be base thief. Burton pitched the final two innings, setting down six straight batters, three on strikes.

COLT CLIPPINGS: Manager Romano released individual and team batting averages after the game at Banksville. Through 15 games, Johnny Boyle is leading the team with a .530 average, going 26 for 49. Bobby Forster is runner-up with a .477 average, followed by Clint Burton at .409, Chuck Haley at .393, Johnny Miller at .348, Mike Raimondi at .341, Ray Benvenuti at .333, Sam Achille at .287 and Joey Fundo (possibly the team leader in on-base percentage) at .268. And get this ... the team batting average is a cool .372. Wow! Good pitching, good hitting, better than average fielding, and great team competitive spirit.

In the pitching stats, Burton has an earned run average of 0.63 to go with his 6-0 record. Miller is 5-0, Boyle 1-0 and Carmen Tripodi (no longer with the team) 1-0.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - July 13, 1978 *

Brookline Colts Suffer Defeat
But Hold 17-1-1 Season Record

Brookline's Colts, who had sailed through 15 games without defeat in the Chartiers Valley Colt League, finally bit the dust.

But, after losing to the Bower Hill Americans, 2-0, they bounced back and at Journal edition time they were on another winning streak with two straight for a 17-1-1 season record. They have five games to play, plus the post-season playoffs which are scheduled to start next Monday.

The first and only defeat was a heartbreaker, but it could be traced to a number of factors. Johnny Miller, a front-line pitcher, was on vacation during a week that the Colts had four games, complacency, an almost detectable air in some players of Ali-ism (I'm the greatest) and the failure of a few players to report for many of the games.

Manager Sharkey Romano was just able to field a team for the Bower Hill game, which was played at Scott Park. Only nine players reported for that game. Johnny Boyle, except for spells of wildness (he walked seven but struck out nine), yielded only three hits and one earned run. That performance would win nine out of ten games.

Brookline, missing several of the better hitters, left eight runners stranded. Bower Hill, in contrast, was almost frenetic in its desire to become the first to knock off the unbeaten Brookliners. And pitcher Dan Hastings, who bit the ball once, was warned about putting his hand to his face several times, constantly made faces and, using his pitching hand, punched the fence four or five times, was equal to the occasion.

Brian Phillips started one inning with a triple but he was still on third as Hastings retired three batters in a row.

The only loss, incidentally, was inflicted on a date that would have the superstitious shaking their heads, July 13.

In the first game of the week, Brookline ran into a surprise at Carnegie and Manager Romano was forced to use his pitching ace, Clint Burton, who entered the game with the score tied at 7-7 and blanked the home team for four innings. However, the Carnegie pitcher was equally effective, silencing the Brookline bats after the third frame.

Then, on Saturday, the Colts traveled to Wilson Park (they play only 8 home games). They were facing what Manager Romano and his players regard as their toughest opponent, the Greentree Nationals. Burton once again was effective while Boyle smacked his fifth homerun and Ray Benvenuti bombed his fourth.

Miller returned from an Erie vacation and pitched four innings as Brookline clubbed the Scott Township Nationals, 16-1. Scott Township, it should be noted, had only nine players in attendance and was forced to use a left-handed shortstop.

Here is a breakdown of the four game week in which Brookline won two, lost its first game and played to a tie:

JULY 11 - Sam "Knuckler" Achille, making his first pitching start in more than a year, ran into control trouble, but was replaced in time by Clint Burton as Brookline was held to a 7-7 tie by Carnegie at Seventh Avenue Field. Sam yielded only seven hits but walked seven. Burton gave two hits and fanned three, walking none and working a scoreless four innings to drop his ERA below 0.60. Joey Fundo stroked three singles in four trips while Mike Raimondi drilled a double and single.

JULY 13 - Nine faithful Brookline Colts attempted to make it 16 in a row against a full Bower Hill Americans squad, but they were out-gunned, 2-0, despite Johnny Boyle's three-hitter and nine strikeouts. Boyle is 1-1 for the season. Brian Phillips tripled and the other three Brookline hits were singles by Mike Raimondi, Boyle, and Sam Achille.

JULY 15 - Manager Romano's strategy paid off with Brookline returning to the winning rack as Ray Benvenuti and John Boyle smashed long homeruns to back Clint Burton's five-hitter as the Colts knocked off the tough Greentree Nationals, 7-3. Because he had pitched four innings at Carnegie, Burton didn't start the game. Boyle pitched the first inning and held Greentree to one run. Burton twirled the next six innings. Sam Achille doubled and singled, Vince Gianella doubled and Joey "Dependable" Fundo doubled and walked. Burton is 7-0 for the season and has dropped his ERA to a microscopic 0.48. He had pitched 21 consecutive scoreless innings until Greentree scored an unearned pair in the seventh.

JULY 16 - Jughandle Johnny Miller made his return at a perfect moment and Manager Romano hastened to rush him to the pitching mound where he worked four innings, yielding only two hits, one earned run, striking out five and walking five for his sixth victory in a row in a 16-1 thumping of Scott Township Nationals. Sam Achille was impressive in a three inning relief stint, allowing only one hit while striking out five and walking three. He also had two singles as did Joey Fundo and Mike Raimondi. Brian Phillips doubled and singled. So did Vince Gianella, who is starting to belt those ropes again now that he's stretched out his stance at the plate. Chuckie Haley hammered a long triple to deep center and John Boyle rapped a double.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - July 20, 1978 *

Brookline Colts Now Division Champions;
Battle Greentree For Post-Season Championship

Brookline's Big Red Machine (22-3-1), already the regular-season champion of the Chartiers Valley Colt League and conquerer of Carnegie in two straight semi-final playoff games, was battling Greentree's defending champions for the post-season championship as the Journal went to press.

Carnegie, a tough foe for Brookline in the regular season, inflicting one of the team's three losses and battling the Big Red Machine to a 7-7 tie in the other, was no match in the playoffs. Brookline's pitching mainstays, Clint Burton, Johnny Miller and Johnny Boyle, limited the Green and White squad to a mere six hits in the two games.

In the opener of the best-of-three set, Brookline, which won the "home team advantage," was forced to play Carnegie at Collier Township's Webb Field since their home field, Danny McGibbeny Memorial Field, was in use by the Senior Little League.

But the change of scenery didn't put a halter on Manager Sharkey Romano's charges, particularly Mike Raimondi, Bobby Forster, Sam Achille and Brian Phillips. That quartet wielded the big bats while Clint Burton held Carnegie in check with a four-hitter, fanning nine and walking only one in the 12-2 romp. Raimondi slammed an "out-of-sight" homerun on top of the Webb Field refreshment building, some 50 yards beyond the left-center fence. He also doubled and drove in four runs as Brookline avenged the only lopsided loss they suffered this season.

Forster continued his steady hitting with a double and single, plus two walks, scoring three runs. Sudden Sam slammed three singles while Phillips doubled and singled. Burton collected Brookline's only other hit, a run-producing single.

The semifinal series winner, played at Carnegie's Seventh Avenue Field, formerly known as "Cubbage Hill" Field, was a struggle all the way despite Boyle's brilliant fireball pitching which enabled him to strike out 14, a season high for a Brookline pitcher. The Big Red machine, however, won it in eight innings, 8-4, pounding four Carnegie pitchers for 17 hits.

Boyle, in spite of six walks, was impressive as he twirled a two-hitter, which included a bad-bounce single which hit the first baseman's shoulder and rolled into short right field. That helped send the game into overtime after Brookline had staged a thrilling three-run rally with two-out in the top of the seventh to take the lead.

After grabbing a 1-0 edge, Brookline weakened slightly to see Carnegie take a 3-1 lead in the fifth. Then, in the seventh, with two on, two out and two strikes against him, Burton tied the game with a sharply hit triple just inside the left-field line which drove in both runners. Vince Gianella's single put Brookline ahead. Then Carnegie tied the game with the help of the bad-hop single to right.

But in the eighth, Joey Fundo reached base on an error. Raimondi walked. Then Boyle singled to score Fundo with what proved to be the winning run, raising his pitching record to 2-1 in the process. Forster singled and another run came in. Then Miller doubled in a pair and it was 8-4. Miller replaced Boyle, set down Carnegie in order, applying the clincher with a strikeout, and earned the save.

Forster ran his hitting streak to six and two walks in his last nine at-bats by going 4 for 5. Fundo drilled three singles, Boyle socked two and Gianella collected a pair.

Burton, who slammed the long ball that sent the game into overtime, tripled and singled and Miller doubled and singled. Boyle, Burton and Miller drove in two runs each. Forster and Gianella drove in the other Brookline runs. Raimondi and Chuck Haley rounded out the 17-hit bombardment with singles.

But it was Boyle who saved the only team that had to engage in regular season games during the week (that drains the pitching.) Manager Romano had to go to the fireballer for the help needed on the mound and John came through there, as well as driving in the winning run in the extra inning.

However, Boyle would be the first to admit, using Sharkey's phraseology, it was "an all-around team effort."

Preceding the playoffs:

JULY 18 - Forfeit victory over Scott Township Americans.

JULY 21 - Forfeit victory over South Fayette.

JULY 22 - Carnegie pulled off the upset of the year as Brookline played its only bad game of the year, making 21 errors as Burton pitched possibly the worst game of his career. Carnegie won the game, 12-3, after Brookline had hopped out front in the first inning, 3-0. That was the game which probably revitalized the slumbering "Machine." Joey Fundo rapped two singles, Ray Benvenuti a double, Johnny Boyle a single and Sam Achille a single for Brookline's hits.

JULY 24 - Johnny Miller chucked a five-hitter, whiffing five and allowing only two walks as Brookline got back in stride by nipping Scott Township's Reds, 3-2. It was the Colts 20th victory this season. Johnny Boyle socked two singles, Ray Benvenuti rapped one, Brian Phillips one and John Miller the fifth for the Brookline hits.

JULY 26 - Manager Romano toyed with his pitching rotation in preparation for the upcoming playoff games, sending seven different boys to the mound to work one inning each. Sam "Knuckler" Achille had to go two innings as the game went into overtime before Mt. Lebanon won in the eighth inning, 5-4. It was Sudden Sam's first loss on the mound and the end of Brookline's regular season schedule. The Colts topped the Chartiers Valley Colt League with a 20-3-1 record and the regular season championship. Big bats for Brookline were Achille, with a double and single; Joey Fundo with two singles; Brian Phillips, Clint Burton and Bobby Forster drilled doubles while Ray-Ray Benvenuti ended his Colt career with a single (he is going on vacation and will miss the finals.)

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - August 3, 1978 *

Brookline Colts Drop Two To Greentree In Finals

Sharkey Romano's Brookline Colts bowed out of the playoffs with two consecutive losses to a tough Greentree National team in the final round of the post-season tournament. The two losses, Brookline's first losing streak of the season, left the Colts with a 22-5-1 record, and claim to the runner-up spot in the Chartiers Valley Colt League.

The first game, played at Danny McGibbeny Memorial Field, started out on a positive note. Brookline's bats were hot, and the Colts jumped out to a 6-1 lead. Big John Boyle led the attack with his seventh homer of the season, a three-run shot, and Jughandle Johnny Miller kept the Greentree hitters at bay with his assortment of looping curves. Greentree's batters were tenacious, however, and by the seventh inning had chipped away at the Brookline edge, until the score read 7-4.

Then trouble struck. The defense faltered and Miller found himself in a jam with runners on base and two outs in the top half of the inning. Manager Romano then made what may have been his only managerial blunder of the season, bringing in his other ace, Clint Burton, to relieve Miller and shut the door. Sharkey knew that this would prohibit Burton from pitching in game two, but he played the odds and went for the win, figuring Clint would be ready to lead the charge if a game three was necessary.

Sometimes even the best of odds don't pan out, and this was one of those occasions. The next batter hit a long fly ball, a "can of corn" as former-Pirate Matty Alou would recall, which found its way into and then out of the usually dependable Colt centerfielder's glove, resulting in the tying run crossing the plate. In the top of the eighth, an error and some nifty base-running led to another run for Greentree. The Colts could not respond in their final at-bat and the final score read: Greentree 8, Brookline 7.

With Miller and Burton both ineligible to pitch in game two, Sharkey called upon Johnny Boyle to salvage the season at Greentree's Wilson Park. Big John did all he could, striking out ten and walking only three, but his best was not enough as the Big Red Machine blew a cog and bowed out of the post-season playoffs with a 8-2 loss. With the pitching situation in a quandery and some key players out on vacation, the Colts just could not measure up to Greentree, with its full complement of players.

This brings the 1978 season to a close for the Brookline Colts. They started out with a 15 game winning streak and ended the season with a 7-5-1 spell. It was a disappointing end for a team that showed so much promise throughout the first half of the year. But let's not dwell on the negative. Let's give our Colts and Manager Paul "Sharkey" Romano a big round of applause for a fine season. The regular season champions of the Chartiers Valley Colt League may have blown a gasket in the post-season but those who witnessed their adventure will agree that this was one of the finest teams to emerge from the Brookline Youth Baseball Association. Congratulations Colts!

The 1978 Colts were: Joe Panucci, Vince Gianella, Brian Phillips, Johnny Miller, Clint Burton, Chuck Haley, Bobby Forster, Ray Benvenuti, Joey Fundo, Keith Sciulli, Sam Achille, Mike Raimondi, Johnny Boyle, Carmen Tripodi, Tim Gremba and Manager Paul "Sharkey" Romano.

* Reprinted from The Brookline Journal - August 10, 1978 *

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