BY KEN MORSE
The Valley Fusion softball organization is a whirlwind of activity from the time schools get out for the summer until the end of August. For the past 15 years, area softball players have divided up into four different age brackets consisting mainly of Prospect, Beacon Falls and Naugatuck players, along with several surrounding towns.
The 12U team, led by coach T.J. Giambra, has put together a successful 27-8-1 record with players from Thomaston, Oxford, Orange and Seymour. There’s also Peighton Giambra of Thomaston, Lila DiBona of Prospect, Ayla Decrescenzo and Angelena Tottenham of Beacon Falls. The 12U team will also play in the USSSA Nationals in Connecticut.
“Most of these girls have been together playing for four years now,” said Giambra. “I feel like every season they have grown by leaps and bounds. What I also see is the team chemistry just gets stronger year after year and that is one of the keys to being successful.
“Even though some of these girls are from surrounding towns, there is a core group of about eight girls that have been together the past four seasons and that has built a bond between them.”
Giambra continued: “We really haven’t had any issues merging players from other towns. They all come in with the same mindset and want to be successful. They want to play, they want to work hard and they want to get better. It’s easy to coach when you have that kind of mindset to work with.”
Coach Jen Guarino pulls double duty, coaching the 10U team and one of the two 14U teams. The 10U team has compiled a 28-9-2 record and has players from Middlebury, Seymour, West Haven and Torrington. There’s also Myla DeRosa of Naugatuck, Maddie Montini of Prospect and Gia Savarese of Beacon Falls and Leah Guarino of Seymour.
Guarino’s 14U team sports a 15-8-2 mark and has players from Seymour, Derby, Trumbull, Monroe and Thomaston. There’s also Paige Chiaramonte and Taylor Syombathy of Beacon Falls. The 10U team will play in the Connecticut Valley Softball Championships while the 14U will play in the USSSA Nationals in Connecticut.
The other 14U team for Valley Fusion is coached by Jen Kropo and consists of players from Seymour, Trumbull and Oxford. There’s also Lily Miko of Prospect and three Naugatuck girls; Leah Chatfield, Lauren Kropo and Alona Reboira. The Fusion will play their final tournament of the season in Hershey, Penn.
“We have one player, Lily (Miko), going into her sophomore year at Woodland,” said Kropo. “We do have three Naugatuck girls and one of them, Leah (Chatfield), got some experience at the high school level this past year and will be going into her sophomore year.
“It takes a lot of work and dedication to play over the summer in a program like this. You are facing some very strong competition and it will surely make you a better player in the long run.”
BY KEN MORSE