PINT-SIZED WORLD SERIES
The bases were only 60 feet apart, the center-field fence a short 189 feet from home plate; even the billboards lining the outfield walls were midget size. But no major leaguer with eyes sharpened by visions of the winning team's box-office cut ever played harder or displayed better form for age and weight than these Little Leaguers, 12-years and under, meeting at Williamsport, Pa. in the world series of pint-size baseball.
The all-star teams from Schenectady, N.Y. and Colton, Calif. were the pick of summer-long eliminations involving 3,500 leagues, 400,000 players. Before 7,500 enthusiastic fans at Williamsport's Original Park the two teams met to decide the 1954 championship. Clutch pitching and timely hitting won for Schenectady, 7-5.
Big-time swing—and a miss—brought championship to Schenectady as Pitcher Billy Masucci poured the third strike past Norman Housely, second baseman of the Colton, Calif. team for final out in six-inning game. Several thousand fans watched attentively from stands and earthen dike beyond outfield fence.
Running-catch attempt by Colton Right-fielder Cliff Munson failed, and long fly hit in second inning by Chuck Neidel, Schenectady first baseman, rolled to the fence for a double, driving in a run. Outfielder Munson had the wind knocked out of him in his tumble but recovered after a moment, stayed in the game.
Schenectady's Billy Masucci, 12, pitched and batted his team to victory. Throwing right-handed and relying mainly on a fast ball, he struck out nine Coltons, allowed only four hits. With his father, Schenectady Coach Lou Masucci, on the bench, his mother in the stands, the blond 135-pounder showed the poise of a veteran in getting himself out of tight spots. Batting left-handed he walloped a home run (above) over right center-field fence with one on in first inning.
Winning team mobbed Pitcher Masucci after last Colton batter went down. Schenectady team reached the finals of Little League World Series last year, only to lose to Birmingham, Ala. Four of this season's team, including Masucci, were on the 1953 squad.
Losing player is consoled as he clutches runner-up trophy. Unlike major leagues, there could be no cry of "Wait till next year," for most of this year's team is already 12 and will be ineligible for further Little League play.