1976 Brookline Little League Association

Senior League All-Star Review

The Brookline Journal - August 19, 1976

Senior League All-Stars Reach Semi-Finals

Brookline's Senior Little League All-Stars went to the Western Semi-Final before elimination in the annual Williamsport tournament competition.

The Seniors gave it a strong whirl under the direction of Manager Mark Donato and Coach Dick Seiler by blanking Bon Air-Knoxville, 2-0, in the district championship game, erasing West Brownsville, 9-8, in a 10-inning interdistrict battle and then bowing to King Koal of Carmichaels, 7-6, in a 9-inning Western Regional semi-final.

Johnny Lee, a 15-year old right-handed fireballer, pitched a 3-hitter, struck out 6 and was backed by brilliant defensive plays as Brookline eased by Bon Air-Knoxville at Moore Park in the district title game which required only the regulation 7 innings. Dave Healy, Mark Sciulli and Lee stroked big hits that shoved Brookline on top. Lee was in trouble only in the sixth, when BAK collected 2 of their three hits.

The interdistrict battle at West Brownsville actually required two nights to complete. The teams battled to an 8-8 tie when darkness forced a halt after 9 innings, two more than regulation. Brookline travelled back to West Brownsville the following night and scored the winning run in the 10th frame on Ray Benvenuti's double, his 2nd hit of the game. Mark Sciulli slammed 3 hits, 2 of them doubles, Dave Healy a pair of singles and Jimmy DelGreco 2 doubles.

The gutty Lee pitched all 10 innings to win his second straight game, although he had to work out of numerous jams as he walked seven compared to the 1 pass he issued in the opener with BAK. He fanned 5 but displayed the intestinal fortitude when it was needed.

Manager Donato had to come back with a 14-year old right-hander, Clint Burton, who has mastered a variety of "junk" pitches and is developing a fastball, at Moore Park the very next night when King Koal of Carmichaels, Pa. Came in for a Western semi-final.

Burton retired the first eleven batters and Brookline jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Then, for the first time in the playoffs, the defense faltered and before it ended in 9 innings Carmichaels had scored 6 unearned runs to record a 7-6 victory and eliminate the Greater Pittsburgh area champions.

But Brookline had heroes galore, particularly Bruce Buskirk, who made three sensational plays at shortstop, turning each one into an out, plus blasting a thrilling inside-the-park home run to deepest center field, and Ray Benvenuti, another 14-year old with a great baseball future, who smashed a 350-foot home run with 1 on into the trees outside the left-center fence.

And add the name of Jimmy DelGreco, another in the long line of sons of Bobby, the former Pirate outfielder. Jimmy stroked 3 hits, 2 of them doubles.

Meanwhile Burton, who along with Benvenuti will return next year, completed the full nine innings, yielding only 5 hits and one earned run. Clint struck out five and walked only two.

Congratulations to Manager Donato and Coach Seiler for a job well done, particularly with three outstanding all-stars unable to play in the final game. Andy Clark, John Boyle, and Dino DelMastro were on vacation.

1976 Senior League All-Stars

Picture of 1976 Senior League All-Star Team

Kneeling: Johnny Lee, Ed Ridge, Dan Mazzie, Andy Clark, Clint Burton, John Boyle, Dave Healy.
Standing: Coach Mark Donato, Bruce Buskirk, Dino DelMastro, Ricky Schumacher, Brian Phillips, Jimmy DelGreco, Mark Sciulli, Coach Dick Seiler.
Missing from photo: Ray Benvenuti.

* Photo provided by Clint Burton *

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