The Brookline Little League Association
The 1995 Mayor's Cup

"The Year Brookline Went All The Way"
by Bobby Healy III

We've always played good baseball here in Brookline, and since the city's B.I.G. League organization started having a Little League Tournament in 1994, we've been a force to be reckoned with. The tournament features local Little League champions from participating Pittsburgh communities, playing a single elimination tournament that culminates with a championship game at Three Rivers Stadium. The winner claims the prestigious Mayor's Cup and carries the honor of being the best Little League team in Pittsburgh.

In the inaugural year of the tournament, 1994, Brookline was well represented by Droz Steel, who had just captured their second consecutive in-house league championship with a 19-1 record. Led by Justin Phillips, Kenny Rayl, Mike Woleslagle, Andy Tsangaris, Tom Kapinsky, Ryan Osbourne, Joe Moriss, and a solid group of younger players, this team roared through the South Region with wins over Carrick, Bon-Air, and Mt. Oliver. Brookline lost to a tough Elliot team at Three Rivers Stadium in the semi-finals, 2-0. Despite a masterful one-hit pitching performance from Justin Phillips, it seemed as if every break went the opponent's way. Elliot left the field enroute to the championship game with Brightwood, while Brookline took home valuable experience that would prepare them for the coming season.

The following season, Droz Steel became Bob Hayes Photography after a sponsorship change, but aside from the name nothing much changed. This young squad, with a solid nucleus, struggled early, but came on strong at the end of the season to beat out three tough teams, Resurrection, Legion, and Gordon's, for their third straight league championship. They also earned their second shot at the Mayor's Cup.

Brookline's Best went into the 1995 B.I.G. League Tournament with a handful of players who had picked up valuable experience the previous year. Bob Healy III, Dave Morgan, Scott Gaugler, Joe Bucci, and Dan George had all played key roles in 1994, and with the addition of Sean Rayl, Andy Cibrone, Jason Casciato, Bill Sharkey, Devlin Robinson, John Hankle, and Mike Bonner, this was a deep, solid team. Under Mayor's Cup rules, three players from the second place team, Legion, were added to the roster. Fortune shined as John Wolsko, Sean Gallagher, and Chaz Fascetti, all solid contributors, were chosen.

1995 Mayor's Cup
Brookline 1995 Mayor's Cup Team

Top Row: Manager Bob Healy Jr., Coach Dick Morgan, Bob Healy III, John Wolsko, Coach Tony Bucci, Mike Bonner, Dan George, Coach Dan George.
Middle Row: Chaz Fascetti, Scott Gaugler, Dave Morgan, Joe Bucci, John Hankle, Sean Rayl, Coach John Moroney.
Front Row: Jason Casciato, Devlin Robinson, Sean Gallagher, Andy Cibrone, Billy Sharkey.

Click on image for a larger picture.

Roaring once again through the South Region, Brookline defeated Lincoln Place, Carrick, and Mt. Washington on their way to the semi-finals. Only the final game was to be played at Three Rivers Stadium this season, and Brookline drew the unenviable task of playing the defending champions, Brightwood, at Martin Luther King Field on the North Side. Brightwood was again at the top of their game and held the lead until the 5th inning. It was 90 degrees, humid, and the chips were down, but the Brookline players never let up. Key hits by Rayl, Bucci, Morgan, Gaugler, and Healy put Brookline on top, and a strong pitching performance by Dave Morgan sealed the win. Brookline's Best were again on their way to Three Rivers Stadium, this time for a chance to become Pittsburgh's Best.

The opponent in the championship game was "The Next Level", a travelling team from the East End consisting of players from East Hills, Homewood, East Liberty, and other neighboring communities. This team was tough, and brought with them a reputation as a hard hitting steamroller who had thus far toyed their way to an unbeaten record.

It was a hot day on the turf at Three Rivers Stadium (100 degrees) for the big showdown. For the second year in a row, Brookline chose the Pirates dugout, hoping for better luck the second time around. The game began ominously as "The Next Level" showed why they were considered the favorites, jumping off quickly in the top of the first with a 2-run homer by catcher "Big" Darryl Weston, followed by two doubles, for a 3-0 lead. Only a great play by catcher Scott Gaugler prevented a fourth run.

In the bottom half of the first inning, Brookline returned the favor by scoring three of their own on a walk to Sean Rayl, and double by Scott Gaugler, and an inside the park homer by Bobby Healy. "The Next Level" had met their match, and thanks to a steady pitching performance by ace Dave Morgan, and clutch infielding by Rayl, Bucci, Wolsko, Gaugler, Hankle, and Healy, they slowly sunk to the "second level" while Brookline rose to the "highest level". The Brookline squad picked up four more runs and held their opponent scoreless through the remainder of the game to walk away with a 7-3 victory. The 1995 Mayor's Cup trophy was theirs, and Brookline's Little Leaguers were now Pittsburgh's Best.

Tournament sponsors Lou Polito and Sam Mastriano awarded the Brookline players their individual trophies at Three Rivers Stadium two weeks later before a Pirates game, congratulating the boys on a fine season, and for defeating such worthy opponents.

We always knew we played good baseball here in Brookline, and now the rest of the city did too!

Picture of Manager Bob Healy Jr. and son Bob III.
Manager Bob Healy Jr. and son Bob Healy III after their
stunning 7-3 victory over "The Next Level". Bobby's
homer in the bottom of the first inning tied the
game at 3-3. Brookline never looked back.

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