Schenectady Little League finished second in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA in 1953, and they made another appearance in 1959. But in 1954, coached by the master, Mike Maietta, they took all the marbles, beationg Colton, California in the final game. Here are some tidbits about that team.
# Mike Maetta, the manager, was a master at teaching the fundamentals of the game, and his team was always very focused.
# Lindy Buonome was the trainer of the team, and the players had a great deal of respect for him, and they confided in him.
# Mike Masucci (the father of star player Billy Masucci) was one of the coaches.
# Pete Fennicks was the only black player on the team, and he started in right field.
# Second baseman Joey Loudis was the team’s sparkplug and take-charge guy.
# Billy Masucci and Billy Connors were the bread ‘n’ butter players. They alternated between third base and the pitcher’s mound. Masucci had the good fastball and Connors the curve.
# Their toughest game in their trek to the title came in sectional play and not in Williamsport.
# Masucci was their most consistent homerun hitter throughout tournament play. He hit some monstrous shots over the dike in right field in Williamsport.
# Jimmy Barbieri, a speedy center fielder and one of the team captains, covered center field like a blanket. Years later, he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
# Joe Kazmar was their lanky shortstop, and a fine all-around player. He did some sports writing in later years.
# Catcher Ernie Lotano, a good-size kid for his age and a solid defensive player, appeared in an action shot on the front cover of Sports Illustrated.
# The Team captains made an appearance on the Perry Como Show.
# Every player on the team except Lotano played on the 1953 runner-up team.
# Billy Neidel was their unheralded but consistent first baseman.
# Steve Bucheim, a tall twelve year-old pitching sensation on the 1953 team, was playing Babe Ruth Ball when Schenectady won the championship.
# Second baseman Loudis and shortstop Kazmar were an excellent double-play combination, and both were strong defensively up the middle.
# The Electric City honored its little league heroes with a parade in downtown Schenectady.