On Saturday, June 22, the North End Athletic Association (NEAA) held its annual end of the year all-star game for its Youth Majors’ Program, ages 9 to 12.
Each year we honor individuals who volunteered or sponsored with the NEAA. This year were honored long-time volunteers, Rocky Rossi former NEAA Coach, Director, and umpire as well as John “DA” DeAmato who was also a longtime coach and volunteer who helped start the Pony League for ages 13 to 15, which is now our Dodgers Program. These gentlemen were around in the 1960s and ’70s in the early stages of the NEAA.
“Full disclosure, Rocky Rossi was my coach and he drafted me as an 8-year-old to play on Tony’s Fruit”, stated NEAA Sports Coordinator, John Romano. “DA coach the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) sponsored team during the time I played as well.”
Both men were presented with plaques from the NEAA to thank them for their service to the youth of the North End. Senator Joseph Boncore and City Councilor Lydia Edwards presented them with citations from the respective offices to thank them as well.
The National Anthem was sung by two young ladies who take lessons at the North End’s own NEMPAC, one of whom is Trinity Martignetti who also plays in the NEAA’s girls softball program. The colors were presented by the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard.
After both men threw out the first pitch, the game got underway. It was a great game that went two extra innings until the DeAmato all-stars finally won the game.
Alex Parisi was the John “DA” De Amato MVP for his dominant pitching to start the game and then coming in as relief to send it to extras, with Gunnar Larson as runner-up MVP playing multiple positions and batting extremely well. On the Rocky Rossi team, it was JoJo Brienze for MVP for his all-around play, with Max Howard as runner-up MVP. Play of the Game winner was James Heath with his two excellent catches in the field.
Special thanks go to umpire Domenic DiCenso, whose son DJ’s team earlier in the day won the State Championship. DJ was a former NEAA player and Dom a former NEAA coach and current umpire and volunteer.
Also, thanks go out to the game sponsors who provided special all-star hats for each player, pizza, slush, soft drinks, snacks a face painter and the all-star special awards. This year’s sponsors were: Larson Ventures – The Larson Family, The McHugh Family, Attorney Daniel Toscano, Friends of the North End, In Loving Memory of Gerald Esposito, In Memory of Dennis J. Peterlin, Post Gazette newspaper, Vincent F. and Mary Ann D’Amato, Dagher Family, Salon Mirabella Lewis Wharf, Anonymous, Clinical Skin Care Products, St. Joseph’s Feast Society and Whitney/Axelrad Family.