Bella R.

In Their Own Words: Bella R.

"Overall, what makes DZ so special are the people."

I initially heard about the DZ program at a pitching lesson a couple years back. There, I met Brett Bradanini, and he encouraged me to attend the upcoming tryouts, as I was looking for a team. After tryouts, I was sure this was the program I wanted to play for. Soon after, I became a player of the DiamondZone 16u softball team. 

Personally, I admire several characteristics of the DiamondZone program, especially the knowledge of the coaches. Each of them seek to understand the strengths of each player, while also giving specific, easy to understand criticism, that significantly improves the performance of each individual. Additionally, DZ puts time into planning their workouts/practices. The productivity of the practices enhances gameplay, not only physically, but also cognitively. That is another aspect that really sets DZ apart from other programs—the time spent stressing the importance of the mental game of softball. Practice not only focuses of the physical fundamentals of the game, but also situational plays…“What do I do if the ball is hit to me?” DiamondZone has also increased my knowledge of mindful pitching, giving me the ability to understand what pitch I need to throw in what situation. 

With the helpful coaching of the whole DZ staff, I believe I have significantly improved athletically and personally. Before I came to DZ, I had very little power hitting. In my games, I would hit singles, sometimes doubles. I had accepted that I wasn’t a power hitter. However, after just a couple months at DZ, taking hitting lessons with Brett, I was able to hit the ball over the fence during my games in high school. My pitching skills also improved at DZ, as the program acquires several knowledgeable pitching coaches and pitching classes. 

However, I believe that my DiamondZone team has taught me much more than the physical aspects of softball. I have learned how to not give up, even when you’re down by five runs in the last inning, to cheer louder when you’re losing, to keep your head up when you strike out, to pick your teammate up when they’re down, and most importantly I have learned to have fun. These are the qualities in a player that really make you a DZ athlete, and I owe it to my team for teaching me how to acquire these qualities. This team is the most talented, crazy, fun-loving team I’ve ever had the honor of being on, and I am forever grateful for them. 

Lastly, Coach Vinny. I have never had a coach that invests more time and effort into a team then he does. Vinny has tremendously helped me over the past year. Through his honesty and open constructive criticism, I have improved as a player and a person. Vinny never sugarcoats anything. He tells it to you how it is, and that quality is what has made so many players on my team successful. Once a mutual respect is found, Coach Vinny becomes not only your coach… but your friend. You can tell Vinny cares for each player, as he always is seeking your best interest and the best interest of the team. Vinny is the guy you can go to if you ever have a problem with anything or anyone. He will always listen to you. Thank you Vindog for being the best coach I could ask for.

Overall, what makes DZ so special are the people. Brett is always willing to give me a hitting lesson if I’m struggling. Brett Balisciano is always giving advice and cheering the team on from the dugout. Hailey is always there to help, give advice, and bring the laughs. Paula Galasso is always cheering so loud for every player (plus she brings the Tostitos) My teammates are always there to support me, cheer me on, and make jokes. And of course, Vindog…always supporting his team no matter what. 

Bella Richwine

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