RHS stars Olivieri, Hinojosa, Leone brothers return for Alumni Baseball Game
By Cary Shuman
The team of ‘88 was great – but was it the greatest?
That’s one of the lively debates that ensued at the recent Revere High School Alumni Game between former baseball players Lou Olivieri of the 1988 team and Kevin O’Hara of the 1993 team.
The 1988 team was stacked with stars throughout the lineup, led by Brian Bright (UMass-Amherst, Boston Red Sox draft pick), Lou Olivieri (UMass-Amherst), Emilio Leone (URI), and Mike Hinojosa (Suffolk).
O’Hara’s contingent featured two Major League draft picks in pitcher Mike Spinelli (Boston Red Sox) and outfielder Frank Candela (Milwaukee Brewers) along with University of Hartford catcher David Lightbody among other standouts, including O’Hara, a tough and talented team leader.
Olivieri, Emilio Leone, and his brother John Leone, RHS teammates in 1988, played in the alumni game hosted by first-year Revere coach Ron Jordan on May 21 at Tony Conigliaro Field.
A good case can be made that the 1988 RHS team, led by legendary coach Al Blasi and assisted by Joe Ranno, was the best high school baseball team ever to come out of the city.
Its credentials are spectacular: an 18-2 record in the “old” GBL and a No. 1 seed in the Division 1 State Tournament. The Patriots, behind Emilio Leone, beat Methuen in the opening round of the State Tournament before Andover ended their postseason run.
“We were upset at home by Andover in the quarterfinals of the state tournament – and it’s a game I’ll never forget,” said Olivieri. “It was a shootout at this bandbox (Conigliaro Field). It was a wind-blowing-out day. Andover’s catcher, Tom Murray, actually became my teammate at UMass.”
Emilio Leone, Lou Olivieri, and Brian Bright all went on to play Division 1 college baseball. Leone remembers pitching against his RHS mates in the Atlantic-10 Conference.
“I faced UMass in one game,” said Leone. “Louie got me with a basehit and I think I got Brian Bright. It was weird facing guys that you played with pretty much since we were kids and now you’re pitching against them in a Division 1 college game.”
The Leone-Olivieri battery at Revere High was in a word – awesome, and no one called a better game or with more confidence than Olivieri. “Louie was my catcher for every one of my starts in high school,” said Emilio. “I tell my kids stories about Louie. There were some games early on when I wanted to be a knucklehead and not listen to my catcher. But I have to say it took a little awhile. Louie came out to the mound one game and laid it in to me and said, ‘I call the game and listen to what I’m doing, because I know these batters.’
“Sure enough, Louie was right and that’s why we had a tremendous year as seniors. I had a real good pitching year and Louie had a great catching career in high school and college.”
Leone and Bright alternated as the starting pitchers and were an unbeatable duo. Leone was 9-1 and his only loss to Malden remains controversial (because of a questionable call on the winning run by the home plate umpire) to this day.
“We lost 1-0 in nine innings which is what we played in the GBL back then,” said Leone, as if the game were played yesterday.
Leone’s younger brother, John, was a sophomore pitcher, first baseman, and catcher on the 1988 team.
“John and I played two years of basketball and one year of baseball together,” said Emilio. “He was a good ballplayer and went on to play baseball at Merrimack. It was nice having a brother-brother combination.”
John Leone said without hesitation that the 1998 Revere team was “the best baseball team that came out of here – they were fantastic. They had Mike Hinojosa, my brother, Emilio, Brian Bright, Louie Olivieri – there were All-Stars at every position. I really miss Al Blasi, a great guy and a wonderful coach.”
As for being Emilio’s teammate for two years, John said, “My brother was an unbelievable role model. I wish every kid had a brother like my brother.”
Emilio Leone, who also played basketball and football (he was a defensive end and tight end) at Revere High, has two children, Vanessa Leone, an RHS graduate who has a 3.9 GPA at Bryant University, and Emilio “E.J.” Leone, a freshman baseball player at St. Mary’s of Lynn, where interestingly his coach is Derek Dana, Olivieri’s former teammate at UMass.
Olivieri, a three-time GBL All-Star in baseball and former All-Star linebacker, has three sons, Louis III, a hockey and baseball standout at Swampscott High who will be attending Cheshire Academy, Drew, a freshman baseball and hockey player at Swampscott High, and who plays in the Swampscott Little League.
Olivieri believes that the 1988 team is deserving of its place in school history as one of the best of all time. He paid tribute to Al Blasi, calling the longtime RHS baseball man, “a great coach, a legend.”
Olivieri, who was happy to be back behind the plate again at Conigliaro Field, credited Ron Jordan for hosting the first alumni game. “It’s great that coach Jordan is involving the alumni. I wish him and the Patriots good luck. I would like to see Revere get back to some of the glory days of baseball.”
John Leone, a sophomore on the 1988 Revere High School baseball team, puts on the shin guards for the RHS Alumni Baseball Game.
The Leone brothers, Emilio (’88) and John (’90).
Best Ever: Four players from the 1988 Revere High baseball team that finished 18-2, Mike Hinojosa, Emilio Leone, John Leone, and Lou Olivieri.
They were great, too. Representing the famed 1993 Revere High baseball team in the Alumni Game were David Lightbody, Derek Kilduff, and Kevin O’Hara.
RhS sports Roundup
Revere boys lacrosse hosts tourney game today
The Revere High boys lacrosse team, the champion of the Northeastern Conference South Division with a 17-2 overall record, will host Central Catholic in a first round contest of the MIAA Division 1 North State Lacrosse Tournament this evening (Wednesday).
The opening face-off is set for 5:00 on the turf at Harry Della Russo Stadium.
Coach Austin Powers’s Patriots enter the D-1 North as the sixth seed, with Central Catholic coming in as the 11th seed with a 10-8 mark.
If the Patriots are successful this evening, they will travel to third-seeded Acton Boxboro (14-4), which earned a first-round bye, for a quarterfinal match Saturday at 5:00.
RHS softball team awaits tourney seeding
The Revere High softball team, which concluded its season with a 13-7 record, was awaiting the announcement of its seeding and first-round opponent in the upcoming Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA state softball tournament.
Coach Joe Ciccarello’s crew and three other teams shared identical 13-7 marks, which meant that the seeding for the 8th-through 11th spots in the D-1 North would have to be determined by a coin flip to be conducted by MIAA officials yesterday as the Journal was going to press.
The seeding determination is significant in many respects. The eighth seed would be guaranteed a home game vs. the ninth seed in the opening round, while the 10th and 11th seeds would have to travel to the seventh and sixth seeds for their first-round encounters.
The Lady Patriots ended their season on a high note with an 8-5 victory over non-league rival Belmont at the St. Mary’s field Sunday in a contest that was highlighted by Senior Day festivities in which the seven RHS seniors were honored for their contributions to the Revere High softball program.
Andrea Lauria, Elizabeth Lake, Vanessa and Victoria Puopolo, Samantha Woodman, and Tia Fichera all contributed key hits and RBI to the victory.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Belmont head coach Kristen Ciappina, a Revere native and resident, who coached under Ciccarello for three seasons before taking on the head spot in Belmont, where she is a middle school teacher.
Sims’s gem leads Patriot baseball team to 5-2 victory
The Revere High baseball team broke into the winning column with a 5-2 victory over Winchester Saturday in the opening round of the Wilmington baseball tournament.
Franks Sims tossed a masterful five-hitter, striking out six opponents and walking only three.
The Patriots struck for three runs in the fourth. Hector Zavala started the rally with a walk and came home on a two-out double by Nic Castellarin. A base hit by David Guillama delivered Castellarin across the plate, with David advancing to second on the throw home.
Gulliama then scored on an error by the Wilmington shortstop on a grounder by Jonathan Murphy.
The Patriots added two more in the sixth. Walks to Matt Cravotta and Castellarin, who advanced into scoring position on a ground-out, set the table for Murphy, whose base hit brought both teammates homeward.
RHS girls lacrosse tourney game yesterday
The Revere High girls lacrosse team, which finished the regular season with an overall record of 11-8, opened play yesterday (Tuesday) in the Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA girls state lacrosse tournament as the Journal was going to press.
Coach Karen Atkinson’s Lady Patriots, who are seeded 12th in the D-1 North, were set to trek to Winchester to take on the fifth-seeded Lady Sachems (13-5).
Atkinson’s crew completed their final week of the regular season on an upbeat note, defeating Winthrop by a convincing score of 11-3 to clinch a share of the title of the South Division of the Northeastern Conference with Gloucester with a 9-1 record in the division.
Kiana Napolitano led the Revere offense with three goals and two assists. Cindy Murphy and Kiana Wells both reached the back of the Winthrop net for two goals, with teammates Emily DiGiulio, Taylor Sujko, Lily DelloIacono, and Taylor Giuffre-Catalano adding a goal apiece.
DiGiulio and Jessica Haggerty also were credited with two assists each.
RHS goalie Shateya Travis made 11 saves.
If the Lady Patriots were successful in their tourney-opener, they will advance to the quarterfinal round to meet the winner of the contest between fourth-seeded Andover and 13th-seeded Boston Latin.
Boys, girls tennis teams fall short in bids to reach tourney
Both the Revere High boys and girls tennis teams needed a victory in their final matches of the season against Danvers this past week in order to qualify for the post-season state tournament, but both came up short in their quests.
Coach Carla Maniscalco’s Lady Patriot squad entered the final week of the regular season with a 6-8 record and needed to run the table in their final three matches against Everett, Medford, and Danvers.
The Revere girls defeated Everett, 4-1, and received a forfeit when Medford was unable to make up a rain-out.
In the victory over Everett, Trang Nguyen triumphed at second singles, 6-2, 6-3, and Christina Restrepo defeated her Everett counterpart at third singles, 6-4, 6-2.
In the doubles matches, the first doubles duo of Maria Hernandez and Luisa Gil won 6-1, 6-2, and the second doubles pairing of Katherine Guzman and Victoria Mom won 6-2, 6-0.
Revere’s top player, Farah Selman, playing at first singles, came out on the short end of her match, 0-6, 1-6.
The twin wins brought Revere’s record to 7-7, with another victory over Danvers necessary in the season finale in order to achieve the .500 mark needed to qualify for state tourney play. However, a 5-0 loss to Danvers ended the Lady Patriots’ tourney hopes.
On the boys side, coach Mike Flynn’s charges needed two victories in their final four contests with Beverly, Lynn Classical, Medford, and Danvers.
In a 4-1 loss to Beverly, the lone Patriot point came from the second doubles pairing of Sidarong Men and Eric Maza, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. In a similar loss to Classicial, third-singles player Josh Preciado defeated his Classical counterpart, 6-1, 6-2, for Revere’s point.
Battling hard in the Classical contest, but ultimately coming up short, were David Grujic at No. 1, Andrea Shejaz at No. 2, Naveed Jabar/Ralph Corbelle at first doubles, and Alejandro Zueleta/Josue Martinez at second doubles.
When the boys likewise earned a win via forfeit to Medford to get back to the .500 mark at 6-6, they too, needed a victory over Danvers in the season finale to punch a ticket for a Journey to the Tourney.
Flynn’s crew fought valiantly, but fell shy by a score of 3-2.
RHS boys, girls compete in D-1 Meet
A contingent from the Revere High girls and boys track and field teams competed at this past weekend’s Division 1 State Meet.
On the girls’ side, Sam Myrtil just missed medaling in the javelin, with her throw of 100′-3″ placing her in ninth place. Teammate Rachel Shanbar likewise fell just short of the medalist’s circle (which is awarded to the top eight competitors) with ninth place finishes in both the shotput with her toss of 31′-10″ and the discus with a spin of 94′-9″.
Claritza Vazquez competed in the long jump and finished in 22nd spot with her leap of 14′-9″. Helen Perez finished in 27th position in the 400 hurdles in a time of 74.46.
The girls 4 x 400 relay team finished in 21st place in a clocking of 4:29.13.
On the boys’ side, speedster Victor Rivera’s time of 11.57 in the 100 dash placed him in 16th place.
Zach Gentile competed in two events, the 400 hurdles (29th place in 61.77) and the triple jump (19th place with a final landing of 40′-0″).