Spring early 1980’s…Russell Grande gets together a group
of his High School buddies from Steinmetz to play 16”
Softball, a Chicago specialty, this is when the High Lites
The inspiration to play came when Russell and Geno
Grande as teenagers would hangout at their brother-in laws
games in the dugout and around the field fetching fly balls
and getting in some swings at Shabbona Park.
The High Lites started playing in leagues and tournaments at
Shabbona Park, Sayre Park, and Bell Park. The High Lites
began to dominate and win wherever they would play.
In 1982 Geno Grande decided to manage the High Lites
when the team was in their early 20’s. They wanted to play
at a higher level and thought Oriole Park would provide that
level of competition, indeed it did. Geno added more talent
to the team recruiting guys from the neighborhood.
The High Lites played three consecutive seasons in the top
Sunday morning league before a game was ever lost. The
Oriole Park Manager suggested the High Lites move up
to the “A” League played on Wednesday nights. Building
the team and playing for three seasons the High Lites win
the Championship and continue to win it three consecutive
At this point the team decided to “go for it” and play in the
“Classic League” played at Majewski Park in Mt Prospect,
the teams in this league were considered the best of the
The High Lites once a big fish in a small pond felt like a little
fish in a big pond, losing some games they now were a
.500 team, something they were not used to. The team also
played in weekend tournaments at the “A” level winning
while they continued to grow and improve.
After many years playing at Majewski Park a “Super
A League” started at Clyde Park which consisted of the
top 16 “A” teams. After 5 seasons the High Lites won 2
championships which gave them top recognition within the
16” Softball community.
One of the teams most memorable performances was
taking 2nd place out of 80 teams in the U.S.S.S.A. state
tournament.… 10 players, 12 games, in 1 day…amazing.
Lets not forget winning the 2019 (50 and over nationals)..
Doesn’t get any better than that!Life continued to go on around the High Lites, no longer
in their 20’s they began their adult lives and started their
own families. Considered a family themselves this band of
brothers wanted to continue to play in several surrounding
suburban leagues. Geno and a few other team mates
continued to keep the team together and play. Now in their
50’s still out here playing the game and giving it their all.
This core group of guys have been playing together for
more than 40 years which is unique and something to be
From the very first practice at Locke School
Playground(1982) to the last swing at the 50 and over
Nationals. We are proud to be part of such a special group
of guys that are also considered brothers.
Jerry “Buzz” Gallo
Daniel “Chopper” Ostberg
Tony “Booger” Belluomini
Darrell S Buchwald
High Lites Roster Tom Krol
Joe “Chicken” Nixon
MANAGERS: Russell Grande and Geno Grande
TEAM SPONSORS: March Manufacturing, Reeg Plumbing, Matthews Roong
COACHES: Jim Belluomini* Jerry Gallo Sr.
NUMBER 1 FAN: Junior*
#1GOOD LUCK CHARM: Gianna Grande