As part of the celebration that is North End Pride Week a reunion softball game between the DiMasi Club and the Corner Cafe was organized. During the late 80s and throughout the 90s these two teams would frequently meet in the finals of the North End Softball League and battle it out for North End bragging rights. Those best of 5 series were always hard fought, well played and the highlight of the summer for most of the participants and their die-hard fans. This game promised to be a little more casual since the two hadn’t done battle in about 10 years but when these two teams get going you never know what will happen.
On the mound for the DiMasi club was longtime pitching ace Vince DeNictolis. Even though well into his 40s Vince continues to be an active player in the North End League. The Corner countered with their pitcher, Andrew Madden. The DiMasi club went down quietly in the first inning and The Corner took an early 2-0 lead. Jimmy O’Connor picked up right where he left off by lacing a sharp single to left, with one out John Gentile doubled Jimmy to third. Then with two outs Ralph Martignetti doubled off the left field fence and the Corner was ahead 2-0.
DiMasi came back in the 2nd inning as Vince DeNictolis and Anthony Coppola singled to set the tables. After Paul Contrada popped out Dennis LaColla ripped one down the right field line plating two runs and tying the game at 2. It was a close play at the plate but umpire Mikey “Fud” Giannasoli ruled Coppola safe. From that point on the game see-sawed back and forth. For the Corner Greg Carr hit two home runs into the harbor. Also Richie Gambale continued to own Vince by slapping out 4 more hits and scoring 4 runs. Gary Forziati and Stephen LaBella also chipped in with keys hits and solid defense. For the DiMasi club Steve Siciliano had a big game with 4 hits and several nice plays at shortstop. His brother Joe Sitch also had a couple of hits but was having trouble getting around on Madden’s fastball and most of his hits were to right field.
Anthony Labella hit a moon shot that was headed into the harbor when it clanged off the top of the light tower in left field. After that shot the Corner mostly pitched around Anthony for the remainder of the game. And in a surprise move Mark Contrada came off the bench for the DiMasi Club and contributed several big hits and daring baserunning dashes. With all the action that happened the game was tied at 14 in the bottom of the 7th and the Corner Café was batting with a man of 3rd, one out and Andrew Madden up. Player/Coach Vince made the decision to intentionally walk Andrew and pitch to Jimmy O with 1st and 3rd and one out, hoping for the doubleplay to get out of the inning. The Corner all scoffed at the notion of pitching to Jimmy as he has made a habit of being clutch for many years. However when Vince threw his first pitch Jimmy hit a one-hopper to Joe Sitch at 3rd base who threw to 2nd base for the first out and on to first to complete the double play.
The game therefore ended in a 14-14 tie. The teams both shook hands, compared aches and pains and road off into the sunset with another great battle behind them.