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
neighborhood parks:
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
proud of.
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.

Chris Aylward
Jerry “Buzz” Gallo
Len Nuzzo
Pat Aylward
Jeff Gierek*
Brian O’Neil
Steve Barabasz
Tony Grande
Daniel “Chopper” Ostberg
Bill Barzowski
Mike Grasz
Gene Otterson
Ed Barzowski
Jerry Grohocki
Gary Paulson
Tony “Booger” Belluomini
Pat Glasso
Jeffrey Paulson
Jeff Berger
John Kelly
Tony Pilas
Tim Bolger
Kevin Kramp
Anthony Raimondi
Darrell S Buchwald
High Lites Roster Tom Krol
Michael Reese
Mike Byrne
Frank Lentine
Joe Rodgers
Mike Brown
Brian Leslie
Pat Ruppolo
Frank Cangelosi
Vince Luczak
Dave Ruhle
Mike Conway
Mike Matray
Pat Salomone
Jimmy Cunningham
Mike Marchiori
Rich Schroeder
Vince Cunningham
Ted Meo
Mike Senese
Nick D’Andrea
Brian McMorrow
Ricky Sorrentino
Mike Depinto
Phil Mercurio
Artie Shabbez
Jimmy Devito
Chris Miller
Bill Tait
Karl Dorband
Joe Morale
Jake Valas
Fred Feichtl
Joey Nelson
Tas Valas
Marty Fergus
Scott Neukirch
Mike Virgilio
Ron Flosi
Joe “Chicken” Nixon
Joe Waytula
Mike “Tiger”
Tom Woody
Tom Beyak
Gary McLaughlin
Wayne Crawford
Geno Grande
Russell Grande
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