Philadelphia High School Baseball
A Look at
Joe Parisi's 28-Year
Career (1986-2003, 2005-14) at La Salle High
page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in
games and the names of All-City/All-Catholic honorees during Coach Parisi's 28 seasons.
. . . To provide additions/corrections:email@example.com. Thanks!
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Joe Parisi |
Joe Parisi coached La Salle High's baseball team for 28 seasons (1986-2003, 2005-14), winning 453 games and nine championships (four Catholic, three City, two State). He won his first crown in 1988 with a triumph over Neumann. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
that went under together all season has won the Catholic League baseball
SEASON BY SEASON
"I was going for it all the
way. (Centerfielder) Jeff Peek always tells me that if I want to go for
broke, he'll be there to back
me up. That play seemed to change the momentum."
It also allayed Schall's fears, and thrust him back on track.
"It reminded me not to be afraid to throw strikes, and that I didn't have to do everything by myself," said Schall, who
yielded seven hits. "I knew I had a team behind me. All I had to do was let the guys make the plays."
Schall, the coaches' Northern Division MVP bound for Villanova, singled in La Salle's fourth run, in the second inning. He
also played a role in the three-run first.
That inning's sequence was: hit batsman (Peek) with one out, hard single by Schall through the left side, bloop single to left
by Tom Poehlmann to load the bases, a balk by Carfagno to score Peek, a sacrifice fly by Jack Stanczak to score Schall and
another bloop single to left to score Poehlmann.
In all, Carfagno yielded 12 hits before switching to first base after 5 2/3 innings. Five, at best, resulted from hard contact.
Carfagno, starting on three days' rest (after pitching once a week all season), clearly was not sharp. But La Salle made him
bleed by dumping flares in front of outfielders who were playing too deeply.
In the seventh inning, Neumann showed only a hint of life, and that was with help (a one-out throwing error by third
baseman Poehlmann). Then, Schall made a great stop on Lawson's hopper and gave sophomore shortstop Chris Massella the
chance to serve as the pivotman on a game-ending, 1-6-3 doubleplay.
Finally, the Explorers were able to fully relax, right?
Wrong. They were too keyed up, but don't tell Gabe Blanco.
"The sessions we had were always before practice," Schall said, "and I did notice that they helped me head for the field in a
good frame of mind. I'm sure that, eventually, that feeling transferred over to game day.
"When Senor Blanco said he had helped other teams win championships (before coming to La Salle), that really caught
people's attention. And now, here we are, winning a championship. What he did for us must have helped somewhat."
TITLE TIDBITS: Neumann's last title was in 1960 (10-2 over Judge). The Buccos lost in '67 (2-1 to Judge) and '86
(13-7 to North) . . . La Salle started five juniors (Tony Cossetti, Jeff Peek, Jack Stanczak, Bill Watts, Ed Weber) and a
sophomore (Chris Massella) . . . The South has won only one title this decade (O'Hara in '83) . . . La Salle first baseman
Terry Burke made scoops all day on low pickoff and infield-grounder throws . . . Neumann coach Sal Intelisano: "Rob's
(Carfagno) arm was still tender until yesterday. He didn't have his normal stuff, but he gave us a great effort."
This story was written in 1994 after the Explorers won the CL championship,
over their big rival, thanks to a large, late comeback . . .
By Ted Silary
La Salle High's baseball team did more than win the Catholic League championship.
It saved Chris Clayton lasting heartache.
Clayton, a junior, starts in centerfield for the Explorers. He has good speed all the time and good hands most of the
But in the bottom of the sixth inning yesterday at La Salle University, Clayton dropped Drew McCormick's deep drive
or a four-base error. Three runs scored and St. Joseph's Prep owned a 7-4 lead en route to what it was hoping would
be its very first baseball title.
As McCormick circled the bases, The Prep's numerous and boisterous fans exploded in glee. All game, they had
shown more exuberance than La Salle's rooters. They were happy to rejoice with extra force as their fellow private
school, their Thanksgiving football rival, experienced agony.
As the noise continued, La Salle pitcher Kevin Kline, before giving way to lefthander Roger Burns and moving to
shortstop, tossed his glove to the grass in a combination of frustration, disgust and amazement. Clayton stood in center,
counting the eyeholes in his spikes and dreading the return to the dugout.
"I thought I'd lost it. I thought it was over," Clayton said.
Not by a long shot. Not by a medium shot. Not by any shot.
The Explorers scored seven - count 'em, seven - runs in the top of the inning to take an 11-7 lead. Then they held on
to win, 11-8, although coach Joe Parisi had to use two sophomore pitchers, Bill Murphy and Mike Wilkin, in the frame.
"Character!" Parisi roared at game's end. "That's all this was, character. "
If reporters didn't hear Parisi the first time, they had many more opportunities.
"I know I probably said it a hundred times," Parisi said later, "but this team showed character all year. They don't have
as much talent as my other championship team (in 1988), but it certainly has the most" - brace yourself, here it comes
again - "character of any team I've coached. "
After Clayton made a sprawling catch to end the disastrous sixth, he was greeted by almost everyone as he approached
"They were saying not to worry," Clayton said. "They were saying, 'We can come back. We've been doing it all year.'
At first I didn't believe them . . . Then I did start to believe them."
That happened when the first five batters reached base. When leadoff man Ryan Harrington hit a hard groundball to
third baseman Bill Moule, a game- ending doubleplay appeared possible as Moule immediately stepped on third. But the
throw by Moule, who showed incredible brass by playing with a broken right hand throughout The Prep's four-game
playoff run, was way wide of first baseman Mark Mooradian and Bill Hartman checked in with the tying run.
The last four runs scored on a two-run, inside-outed double along the leftfield line by second baseman Donny Quinn
and a two-run double by Kline high off the fence in left-center.
"We couldn't get out of the inning," lamented Steve Bongard, The Prep's first-year coach. "We couldn't finish."
Said Parisi: "In the dugout before we batted, everybody was saying, 'Remember Dougherty . . . Remember Ryan . . .
emember McDevitt . . . Remember Judge. ' We beat those four teams with last-inning rallies in the middle of an
eight-game league winning streak. It wasn't like we hadn't come from behind before."
Neither was it like La Salle marched to the title in a carefree manner. Late in the regular season, two key starters and
the then-No. 1 pitcher were dismissed from the team for Senior Prom Night indiscretions.
Parisi declined comment on the effect of the subtractions, except to say, ''That was another reason I talked about
character so much."
For Quinn, who went 3-for-5 with two RBI and scored three runs, his contact on his final at-bat was his weakest of the
"That wasn't exactly what I wanted to do there," he said, smiling, "but it counts as a hit. When it fell in, it felt like a
person jumped off my back."
Said Kline: "That broke their backs. I know what that can do to you, to make a good pitch and have a hit fall in.
Kline went 3-for-4 with a walk, three doubles and three RBI.
"I felt comfortable at the plate," he understated.
Kline had gone the distance last Saturday when La Salle edged Father Judge, 5-4, to win the Northern Division title.
"He had three days' rest after throwing only 100 pitches," Parisi said. ''Sorry. You don't get into this situation often
enough to go with your No. 2 pitcher."
In The Prep's seventh, Murphy stayed around long enough to surrender one run on three walks, a wild pitch and two
groundouts. With the count 2-0 on Mike Chiliberti, Parisi scurried to the mound and summoned Kline from shortstop.
However, he was told by plate umpire Pete DeIuliis that under National League rules, which the Catholic League uses
(with exceptions), a pitcher who moves to another position on a second trip of an inning cannot return to the mound
later on. Gene Otto, the CL's supervisor of umpires, backed DeIuliis. After a long delay, Parisi went with Wilkin, who
had appeared in only one previous league game.
With the count 3-1, Chiliberti flied to leftfielder Harrington.
The Explorers raced to the area behind the mound, pretended that it was a phone booth, and stuffed themselves into
it. That no one got crushed was a miracle.
This story was written after Joe
guided La Salle to its second state title in three
years, in what turned out to be his final game . . .
By Aaron Carter
One day, he's driving home the game-winning runs in the Class AAAA state championship game and the next, La Salle
High junior Brian Buckley is headed to the United States Military Academy at West Point to learn about life as a cadet.
As far as fulfilling goals and realizing dreams go, Buckley won the weekend.
The 6-foot, 208-pound Huntingdon Valley resident, sprayed a liner up the middle with the bases loaded in yesterday's
eighth inning, plating two runs and pushing the Explorers toward a 4-2 triumph over feisty Conestoga at Medlar Field
at Lubrano Park.
Today, Buckley will begin West Point's Summer Leadership Experience, a 2-week program where high school
juniors engage in academic, athletic, military and social experiences at the USMA.
"We're big Army people," said Buckley, who is interested in engineering. "They'll teach you what Army life is like,
especially the military training. I'm looking forward to it."
His older sister, Margaret, is a freshman rugby player at Army. Buckley also said his late grandfather, John
Poehlmann, served in the Army.
With his hat browned by dirt, his jersey similarly soiled, and 5 o'clock stubble shadowing his face, Buckley certainly
looked the part.
"I don't know, I just like to get dirty," he said. "I like to give 100 percent and, on a day like this, it's not hard."
The District 12 top-dog Explorers (21-6), who also won the state title in 2012, nabbed early momentum with a 2-0
lead through three innings after senior Dom Cuoci (2-for-4, RBI) drove in junior Jimmy Herron in the first and Herron
lofted a sac fly in the third.
Speaking of summer leadership experience, Cuoci (9-1) has that in spades. On 3 days' rest, the Catholic League Red
Division MVP and Pitcher of the Year, grinded through seven innings, scattered eight hits and gave up two earned runs
for the victory.
During the week, it was unclear whether Cuoci, who is typically affable but legendarily quiet on pitching days, would
About an hour before the first pitch, Lorenzo Cuoci wasn't sure of his son's status, but had a suspicion.
"He's only said seven words to me in the last 2 days, so, I think he might be," Lorenzo Cuoci said before the game.
The last four words were: "Love you, too, Dad."
"It's just a focus thing for me," said Cuoci, whose voice was low, lifeless. "I love being upbeat with the guys, but they
respect it when I'm quiet. I'm trying to get into a zone."
The District 1 No. 3-seeded Pioneers (20-8) made that tough, rallying with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings
to tie the game at two.
"I'm worn out, man," Cuoci said. "They took everything out of me . . . They made me work the hardest I've worked
all year. "
Junior Brandon Little, a North Carolina recruit, pitched seven innings in defeat, but allowed only an earned run on
four hits. Both teams committed two errors.
Seniors Tom Richter (RBI) and Max Dolente each went 2-for-4. Brandon Ruffenach added the other RBI.
And after poor execution helped squander a two-on, no-out opportunity in the seventh inning, it appeared the
Explorers' improbable playoff run was in jeopardy.
When it lost to Roman Catholic in the Catholic League playoffs, La Salle became eligible for PIAA play (because of
the league's point system) only after Ss. Neumann-Goretti defeated the Cahillites for the CL crown.
"They had every right to pack it in after losing in the [CL] playoffs," head coach Joe Parisi said. "And having people
tell them how lucky there were to be in the playoffs. Well, guess what? You can't be lucky and do what we did today.
These are really good players, great kids and some of the most enjoyable kids around."
Senior Brad Schneider walked to start the eighth and was followed by singles from Herron and Cuoci. After a
groundout, Buckley smoked the game-winner on an 0-2 count.
"I've had so many runners on all year and haven't hit them in," he said, "but finally, in a big moment, got 'em in
A good way to start the weekend for the 4.08 GPA student, who said he doesn't have any serious interest from
Army yet, but plans to attend the school, anyway.
"It's a great feeling," Buckley said. "No other feeling in the world like it. Being out [of the CL playoffs] and then
winning a state championship - it's great, it's great."
Below are the players who earned first or second team Coaches' All-Catholic honors during
seasons (1986-2003, 2005-2014) as the coach at La Salle.
|Pos.||FIRST TEAM||Year||Pos.||FIRST TEAM||Year||Pos.||SECOND TEAM||Year|
|OF||Gene Schall||1987||IF||Pat Riley||2003||OF||Rich DeVincent||1986|
|P||Duke Wolpert||1987||OF||*Dan Waters||2003||C||Dave Wolpert||1987|
|3B||Tom Poehlmann||1988||P||*Dan Waters||2003||OF||Jack Stanczak||1988|
|OF||Gene Schall||1988||INF||Mike Pennington||2005||P||Jack Stanczak||1988|
|P||Gene Schall||1988||OF||Mike Villari||2005||2B||Tony Cossetti||1989|
|1B||Jack Stanczak||1989||P||*Matt Zielinski||2005||SS||Chris Massella||1989|
|OF||Drew Shire||1989||INF||Will Phillips||2006||C||Ed Weber||1989|
|P||Jack Stanczak||1989||OF||Bill Warrender||2006||OF||Jeff Peek||1989|
|IF||Chris Massella||1990||OF||Mike Villari||2006||P||Chuck Malloy||1990|
|OF||Roger Harrington||1990||C||Sean Saverio||2006||DH||Joe McNichol||1990|
|IF||John Butler||1991||P||Matt Zielinski||2006||OF||Joe McNichol||1991|
|C||Shawn O'Brien||1991||DH||Jared Carter||2006||OF||Scott Halstead||1992|
|OF||Roger Harrington||1991||OF||Matt Howard||2007||P||Matt Wright||1992|
|OF||*Roger Harrington||1992||C||Sean Saverio||2007||DH||Andy Wallace||1992|
|P||Dan Fritz||1992||P||Shawn O'Neill||2007||C||Barry Lopeten||1994|
|1B||Kevin Olender||1993||P||Matt Day||2007||OF||Tim Erb||1994|
|IF||Bob Ball||1993||P||Shawn O'Neill||2008||P||Roger Burns||1994|
|P||Dan Fritz||1993||INF||Tyler Freeman||2009||P||Kevin Kline||1994|
|IF||Kevin Kline||1994||OF||Joe Aloia||2009||1B||Drew Middlemiss||1997|
|IF||Ryan Harrington||1995||OF||Joe Aloia||2009||IF||John Malara||1997|
|IF||Jaime Cevallos||1995||P||Shawn O'Neill||2009||OF||Jeff Pietrak||1997|
|1B||Drew Middlemiss||1996||INF||Colin Pyne||2010||P||Paul Grevy||1997|
|C||Pat Gorman||1996||1B||*Joe Forcellini||2011||1B||Adam Richards||1998|
|OF||Jeff Pietrak||1996||INF||Colin Pyne||2011||1B||Adam Richards||1998|
|P||Paul Grevy||1996||C||Corey Baiada||2011||IF||John Malara||1998|
|C||Ed Bongard||1997||P||Nick Burns||2011||C||Ed Bongard||1998|
|OF||Jeff Pietrak||1998||INF||Colin Pyne||2012||IF||Keith Olender||1999|
|P||Mike Mattern||1998||OF||Tyler Kozeniewski||2012||IF||Drew Santillo||1999|
|IF||John Malara||1999||C||*Corey Baiada||2012||OF||Jim Lyons||1999|
|P||Pat Salvitti||1999||P||Kevin Long||2012||1B||Chris Dougherty||2000|
|P||Keith Olender||1999||1B||Chris Melillo||2013||OF||Ryan Parfitt||2000|
|IF||Bryan Harvey||2000||OF||Jimmy Herron||2013||1B||Dan Buckley||2001|
|OF||Matt Michel||2000||P||Dom Cuoci||2013||C||Chris Jeffers||2001|
|P||Bryan Harvey||2000||INF||*Dominic Cuoci||2014||IF||Pat Riley||2002|
|IF||*John Reifsnyder||2001||OF||Jimmy Herron||2014||OF||Mark D'Angelo||2002|
|OF||Ryan Parfitt||2001||OF||Ryan Coonahan||2014||P||John Reifsnyder||2002|
|P||*John Reifsnyder||2001||C||Nick Dermo||2014||IF||Andrew Carnevale||2003|
|IF||John Reifsnyder||2002||P||*Dominic Cuoci||2014||P||Dave Achey||2003|
|OF||*Dan Waters||2002||P||John Scheffey||2014||OF||Steve Ullrich||2005|
|C||Chris Jeffers||2002||P||T.J. Foley||2006|
|P||*Dan Waters||2002||INF||Tyler Freeman||2008|
Recaps of Wins in Catholic League
Recaps of Wins in City Titles
Recap of Win in State Final