More than 125 baseball players competed in the East Boston Little League Fall League and League President Chuckie Cassaro couldn’t be happier with the inaugural season.
East Boston Little League had started its regular season late due to COVID-19. When that season ended, Cassaro met with his top advisers, popular East Boston dentist Dr. Robert Gilbride, league treasurer and coach, and Nick Free, league official and coach, to consider running a fall league.
“We had a lot of people who were interested in continuing with a fall season,” said Cassaro. “So we started a fall league for players 6-18 years old. We opened the league up to high school players (ages 17-18) because they had missed out on their high school season in the spring.”
Among the high school players competing were EBLL graduates including Cassaro’s son, CJ Cassaro, and the Festa twins, Nick and John. Nick Festa was simply awesome on the mound in leading the Brewers to the Senior Division title.
“It was so emotional when these young men – whom I’ve been coaching since they were little children, came up to me and said ‘thank you’ after the final game,” related Cassaro. “Plus they know this fight [versus cancer] that I’m battling on the other side. It brought tears to my eyes. It was such a gratifying moment when Nick thanked me for everything that I had done for him and brother in East Boston Little League. Those Festa kids are great kids.”
A Competitive Season
For five weeks this fall in mostly outstanding weather, East Boston players enjoyed highly competitive games at Festa Field, Conigliaro Field, Noyes Park, and East Boston Stadium.
“It was a great season,” said Cassaro. “The players and parents were really happy that we had an organized league that gave them something to do to feel normal for a few hours during this pandemic . There was a total outpouring of support by the community. I received many phone calls and text messages from parents thanking us for continuing this league through the fall.”
Cassaro said the league followed strict COVID-19 guidelines during the summer and fall seasons. Players were required to wear face coverings in the dugout, at-bat, and on-base. They could take off their masks while they were playing their positions in the field.“I’m proud to say we did not have one report of COVID-19 case,” said Cassaro.
Cassaro, 45, a 1991 graduate of Dom Savio High School where he played three sports, said he is looking forward to the 2021 regular season (usually held April through July) and fall league.
“I’ll definitely be back as president next year with my good friend, Dr. Robert Gilbride, and [schoolteacher] Nick Free, who’s been great,” said Cassaro.
Thank You to the City of Boston
Chucky Cassaro expressed his gratitude to Boston parks official Paul McCaffrey for his professionalism and courtesy while issuing park permits to East Bostion Little League and Anthony Guerriero and Christopher Zuffante of Massport for extending the use of Festa Field for games in the fall.
Cubs, Brewers Capture EBLL Fall Titles
EBLL’s inaugural fall season was a resounding success as teams in its Minor, Major and Senior divisions all competed, with championships in the latter two divisions concluding their seasons.
Cubs Take Major Division Title
The first-place Angels met the second-place Cubs in the championship game, with the Cubs prevailing by a 13-7 score in an exciting, back-and-forth battle.
Starting pitchers Michael D’Amelio of the Angels and Dennis Antrim of the Cubs both pitched well in the title game. The Cubs jumped out to an early 6-1 lead behind the hitting of Brian Munoz and Isaac Salmoran and the defense of Cam Testa and Eric Chivazo.
The Angels rallied for six runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-6 lead on Junior Sarnaglia’s clutch single. With their backs against the wall, the Cubs scored seven runs of their own in the top of the sixth with Antonio Capogreco’s bases-loaded double the big hit. Devin Brandano pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth to secure the victory for the Cubs and coach Nick Surette.
Brewers Claim Senior Division Title
The first-place Brewers, coached by Chucky Cassaro, breezed to a 17-2 victory over the second-place Diamonds to claim the Senior Division championship.
Sammy Santiago gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly. But the Brewers jumped on the Diamondbacks starter for five runs and then put the game away with a 10-run third inning.
Cam Martin, Robert Gilbride, CJ Cassaro, and Andy Fernandez each scored three runs. Matt Decarney, Rich Diaz, and Chris Frazier each drove in three runs. Nick Festa was the winning pitcher with an impressive performance on the mound.