The NCAA National Letter of Intent signing week is always exciting for those of us who have chosen softball as our careers but especially for all the players and their families. We all understand the enormous amount time and effort that is expended these athletes to achieve one goal.....to pitch at the Division I level. Their commitment and dedication to the sport and to their chosen position is remarkable. It represents much more then the pitching lessons, the practice pitches, the traveling and the conditioning, but all the other sacrifices these athletes make year in and year out. There is little time for parties or activities in their schedules. The soul motivation for these women is that raw desire to complete and prepare for a college softball career.
I was enormously proud of the pitchers from Fastpitch Dynamics who recently signed their NLI's to their respective Division I programs. From left to right in the above photo. Kari Marks to Central Connecticut State University, Sara Kennedy to Villanova University, Kylie Gavitt to University of Connecticut, Jocelyn Bodington to Bryant University, Savannah Small to Niagara University, Julianne Kocenski to the University of Hartford and Angela Saric to St. John’s University.
It is especially noteworthy that the schools they will be attending were their top choices during the recruiting process. A process that will test the patience and endurance of players, parents and coaches. Because the process so daunting, it makes this signing week even more gratifying. For myself, it reminds me why I find pitching instruction so rewarding and hope my health allows me to continue teaching this wonderful sport. After playing, coaching and teaching this sport for over 5 decades, I find this the most enjoyable part of all.
I would like to congratulate the Fastpitch Dynamics’ pitchers for their official commitment this week and remind everyone will still have several months remaining to train and prepare for the spring, summer and their softball careers as they walk on campus in the Fall of 2018. Way to go ladies........you made it!
I am very pleased to announce that Jenna Geffert has made her verbal commitment that she will be attending and playing Division I softball at Colgate University!
Jenna’s parents, Jim and Rhonda Geffert of Seymour, CT are thrilled that Jenna will be attending Colgate University. It is an ideal academic choice for Jenna, since Colgate which is ranked #12 in the latest edition of “US News: Best Colleges”. Jenna’s decision was relatively easy based on the Colgate coaching staff and beautiful campus. Moreover, Colgate is in the Patriot Conference which positions Jenna to possibly pitch against her sister Raeanne who will be a senior when Jenna begins her college career. How exciiting for Jenna and the Geffert family!
When Jenna attended a recent camp at Colgate, she was prepared to shine. Jenna had a lot to prove and Colgate was an ideal venue for her to do that. Jenna had an outstanding camp and the Colgate coaching staff were very impressed. I personally spoke to the Colgate coaches over the last few weeks and they are very excited to have Jenna as commit and told me that they were taken back with her spins, her tenacity and competitive personality. Colgate made Jenna a generous offer which she accepted on the ride back to Connecticut.
Jenna started in my college program in December of 2016 and with the help and support of her dad, Jim they wents to work. Jim was a valuable member of our team with close to 20 years catching experience on the bucket. Jenna’s goals were ambitious but simple…hit 60mph, win the Connecticut Class M Championship and get recruited to a Division I program. Those are major goals for any young pitcher and require a total commitment of time and energy. I am proud to say that Jenna achieved all those goals this year which is an amazing feat. Jenna actually hit 62mph and went 18-0 for Seymour High School and posted a 1.57 ERA.
Over the last year, I watched Jenna's progress during her lessons, her high school games and this summer where Jenna pitched for the CT Charmers Gold team. I could tell the Jenna was a driven pitcher who would only expect the best from herself and through that leadeship made the players around her better. I also had the chance to see how she coped with the recruiting progress and how she overcame a myriad of adversities. Not only did Jenna come through those adversities unscathed but they made her stronger. After watching and getting to know Jenna, I can say that Jenna is one of most competitive and dedicated pitchers I have worked with in the 15 years of teaching and coaching softball. She has possess a unique combination of poise and edginess qualities many pitchers lack. I have little doubt that Jenna will be successful whatever she decided to do in life. It has truly been as pleasure to work with such a fine young athlete and I look forward to continuing our training.
As Jenna starts preparing for high school, travel ball and her collegiate career I believe she has a few more surprises for her friends, family and coaches. Congratulations Jenna. We are all proud of you!
I am very pleased to announce that Addy Bullis has made her verbal commitment to attend and play Division I softball at Bryant University!
Addy is the daughter of John and Jill Bullis of Ivoryton, CT and is in the Class of 2020 at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT where as a freshman Addy was the starting pitcher. Addy’s family are thrilled to have the opportunity for Addy to attend Bryant where they could attend most of Addy’s softball games.
Two years ago, Addy was referred to me by a travel coach from the Connecticut shoreline because he saw great potential in not only Addy’s athleticism but also her determination to succeed. Addy started lessons with me 2 years ago and I could see that she was willing to work hard at becoming a better pitcher, but like all pitchers in my program staying with the grind is very difficult. Over those 2 years of instruction Addy and her catcher mom Jill did everything I asked of them and more. Addy and her mom were an ideal team on and off the field. Over that period, Addy gained over 15 mph in speed! That is unprecedented in my pitching school and is a proud accomplishment for Addy.
We entered into recruiting process by trying out for several premier teams in New England accepted an offer from the Rhode Island Thunder Premier team coached by Eric Williams. We knew it was imperative to play a schedule that insured Addy showcase exposure but more importantly to pitch against other premier teams so important to pitcher development.
Like many young pitchers in the recruiting process, Addy attended several college camps last year to include Bryant’s camp in September of this year. As a 2020 left handed pitcher, Coach Lotito was impressed with Addy’s skills, maturity and eagerness to learn. Shortly thereafter Addy made an unofficial visit to the campus and was presented an offer to attend Bryant University. After very careful thought and with the support of her family, Addy called Coach Lotito 3 weeks later and made her verbal commitment to Bryant. How exciting for a young pitcher! In speaking to Coach Lotito she is thrilled to have Addy as a Bryant commit and looks forward to seeing her develop.
Of course Addy has not missed a beat since her decision and continues her hard work on lessons. Over the last 14 years Addy is one of the most motivated and passionate pitchers I have trained. Without question there is a bright future for Addy.
In looking back over the time Addy has been coming to me her progress is nothing less that miraculous. In just 2 years Addy went from a novice to a Division I commit. Addy serves as a symbol and role model for young pitchers everywhere that with hard work and determination that anything is possible. Dreams do come true!
CAITLYN FALLON VERBALS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE!
I am very pleased to announce that Caitlyn "Cat" Fallon has made her verbal commitment to the University of Maine.
Caitlyn is the daughter of Michael and Jennifer Fallon of Warwick, RI. She's in the Class of 2019 and attends Pilgrim High School in Warwick, RI, where she both pitches and plays shortstop for the Patriots. Caitlyn also plays for the Rhode Island Thunder Gold-Wilson team based in Plainville, MA.
Caitlyn came to me two years ago seeking to improve her mechanics and speed and from the very first lesson it was clear the girl was all in! She always had an infectious enthusiasm during her pitching lessons and always brought with her a sense of commitment. Caitlyn's drive and work ethic was very apparent and nothing would stand in her way. After 2 years of hard work and dedication, Caitlyn gained 8 mph as she began her summer schedule in 2017. I had several college coaches interested in Caitlyn's potential but it was Head Coach Mike Coutts from Maine and his on-campus pitching guru Lynn Coutts who also doubles as his lovely wife that made a special connection with Caitlyn. After visiting the University of Maine campus in the fall Caitlyn made her verbal commitment to be a Maine Black Bear.
I look forward to working with Caitlyn for the next two years to prepare her to what's in store for her in the America East Conference. If Caitlyn continues her hard work I am confident Caitlyn will become an outstanding college pitcher.
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates
In September, Fastpitch Dynamics will begin its 14th season as the premier pitching school in Connecticut. For the last 12 years I operated Fastpitch Dynamics in a custom built pitching studio in Granby, CT which served me, my pitchers and their families very well. In that time I had over 60 pitchers go on to pitch at the collegiate level, 30 of them to Division I programs. I remain very proud of that accomplishment.
This fall I will begin our training in a new location in Bantam, CT. I made a decision to lease a larger facility to accommodate a larger demand. This year families travel to FDS from many areas to include Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and naturally Connecticut. This is an exciting time for me as we move forward into a new chapter for Fastpitch Dynamics.
I want to be sure to congratulate my 2017 pitchers that are continuing their softball careers in college. I want to wish them all the very best. They are: Ali Dubois-Boston University, Nicole Teague-Marist College, Julia Murphy-Providence College, Ireland Meissau-University of Rhode Island, Sarah Magro-Bucknell University, Ashley Antanazzo-CCSU and Cyrena Zemaitis-Franklin Pierce University. Good luck ladies!
As last years graduating pitchers begin their college careers a new group of talented pitchers begin their training at Fastpitch Dynamics! They include Kate Powers, Erin Girard, Sam Sylvester, Alannah Browne, Julia Thompson, Jenna Geffert, Brynne Baker, Angela Saric and Jules Kocenski.
Finally, I would like to say how fortunate I’ve had the opportunity to work these talented athletes over the years and to become friends with their families. As a teacher of the sport I feel I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference in all their lives and for that I am very grateful!
Each year theCHSCA holds their annual banquet at the Aqua Turf in Southington to honor their members but more importantly to honor softball players from across Connecticut. Its a wonderful event and gratifying to see talented players be recognized. This year,FastpitchDynamics had 7 pitchers honored. Beingselected All-State represents commitment, hard work and dedication. But all these pitchers understand without the help and support of their teammates and coaches these awards would not be possible. The following are the All-State pitchers: Erin Girard from Bristol Eastern, Lauren Card from North Haven, Kari Marks from Granby Memorial, Hannah Davis from Stafford, Ashley Antanazzo from Pomperaug, Cyrena Zemaitis and Ali Dubois from Torrington. Ali Dubois was also selected All Academic as well. Congratulations ladies!
KYLIE GAVITT VERBALS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT!
It is a great pleasure to announce that Kylie Gavitt has made her verbal commitment to the University of Connecticut.
As it is for most elite pitchers, making a final decision on a college is a very difficult decision. Kylie moved through the process with the guidance of her parents, Jeff and Laura who have been unwavering in their support throughout Kylie’s softball career. For the Gavitt family it was always seeking the best for Kylie especially with her education. Kylie had to balance her academic, athletic and personal needs in selecting the best school for her.
From the start of Kylie’s college search, UCONN was always atop her list. It was her dream school. As Kylie contacted college programs, attended clinics, and showcases she remained objective and followed up on every opportunity. Kylie was very flattered she was recruited from in schools in the American East, Patriot and Big East Conferences. Then Kylie was invited to attend UCONN’s skills clinic this past January. It was after that clinic she was invited on a unofficial visit to meet with the UCONN coaching staff, the team and tour the campus. After the visit it made her decision much easier. In the end, the best fit for Kylie was UCONN.
Kylie played her youth softball in Poestenskill, NY and started to play travel ball for the local “Lady Royals” organization at a young age but in 2016 made the change to the Worcester Hawks Gold out of Worcester, MA to get more college showcase exposure. Kyle also pitches from her Averill Park High School team which in 2015 won the New York State Division I title. During the 2016 high school season Kylie posted record of 16-4. During the summer of 2016 Kylie had a great summer pitching for the Worcester Hawks and continued that momentum into the fall doing on-campus clinics. Kylie saved her best performance during the “Top Prospects Camp” held on Long Island, NY in January of this year. After that showcase, I was contacted by several college coaches saying that Kylie was an outstanding prospect!
Kylie came to Fastpitch Dynamics the summer of 2015 and has been nothing but a pleasure to coach. Kylie was an ideal student, listening and applying everything she learned in her pitching lessons. She was polite and communicative and always did the required work. I was not surprised the Kylie would garner so much interest last summer and had no doubt she would get recruited. For Kylie, I am very optimistic she will continue to develop and continue her success on the University of Connecticut. Congratulations Kylie and GO HUSKIES!
I am thrilled to announce that Jocelyn Bodington has made her verbal commitment to attend Bryant University. Jocelyn made her decision earlier this year after visiting the Bryant campus. Jocelyn’s mom and dad, Chris and Amanda accompanied Jocelyn on her visit and subsequent meeting with the Bryant coaching staff and were both very pleased with Jocelyn’s decision to make her verbal commitment to Bryant.
The recruiting process can be a challenging even a daunting pursuit. After preparing herself the last several years at Fastpitch Dynamics, Jocelyn had to skills and the work ethic and the academics to attend most of the Division I Universities on her list, but either the timing was not right or the schools had already recruited a 2018 pitcher. Jocelyn attended countless college clinics hoping to gain interest and stayed in contact with all those schools. After a tremendous high school career pitching from Cumberland High School Jocelyn posted a record of 16-4 and scant ERA of 1.30. She was coming into her own and in my humble opinion was one of the best leftie pitchers in New England. Jocelyn entered the summer showcase season on fire. Her velocity was up, her drop was biting sharp and her change-up was almost unhittable. By the time of the New England Finest Showcase held in Plainville, Mass each year Jocelyn was being followed by four Division I programs and several Division IIl schools. I thought was for sure that Jocelyn would receive an offer, but the process continued.
There are times when I am too close to see the incredible progress from some of my pitchers and that was the case with Jocelyn. It was while speaking to a college coach about Jocelyn, she suggested that it would be in Jocelyn’s best interest to make another college skills video which we promptly did the following week. I was aware that the Bryant University campus was only a short drive from the Bodington home but I also knew that Jocelyn was interested in becoming a business major so of course I emailed her new skills video to Coach Shayne Lotito. I received a phone call 2 days later from Bryant Assistant Coach Aubrey Mable who wanted to visit my pitching studio to personally observe one of her workouts. Coach Mable was so impressed by Jocelyn during her lesson Jocelyn was invited to visit the Bryant campus as soon as possible. Jocelyn then made her verbal commitment 2 days later.
I had the pleasure of watching Jocelyn pitch in high school and on her travel teams and it was clear she was a very tough competitor and a “bulldog” of sorts, not “giving-in” to hitters regardless of the situation. I find it very fitting that she will the playing softball for the Bryant University “Bulldogs” in the fall of 2018! Over the years I have seen pitchers plateau after making their verbal commitment, but knowing Jocelyn as a do, she will continue to work hard and improve throughout her softball career.
Congratulations Jocelyn, we are all very proud of you!
I am extremely pleased to announce that Julia Murphy has made her verbal commitment to attend and play softball at Providence College.
Julia is the daughter of Michele and Tom Murphy of Pittsfield,MA and is a senior at Suffield Academy. Mom and dad are very excited to have Julia commit to Providence College and know that she would be a short drive from home and they could attend most of her games. Julia and is looking forward to beginning her college career in the fall at Providence.
Julia played her youth softball in the Pittsfield,MA and played for several regional travel programs before trying out for the KOD Intensity program for the last 2 years. Joining and playing with the KOD organization was instrumental exposing Julia to the best competition in the US playing in major showcases in New Jersey, Florida and Colorado. By pitching against the best teams in the US prepared Julia is ways nothing else could do. Over this past summer, Julia was followed by several Division I programs, but it was at the Independence Day Tournament in Boulder, CO where Julia was first scouted by Coach Kathy McLaughlin from Providence College. Julia did not have overpowering speed that weekend, but opposition teams were kept off balance with her movement, location and changes of speed. It was that particular quality the coaching staff at Providence loved. Subsequent to the IDT showcase Julia was invited to visit Coach Jacklets are Providence College where Julia has the opportunity to meet the team and tour the campus. It wasn’t long after Julia’s visit that she decided to verbal to Providence.
Julia was referred to me by some of my old coaching friends and they explained that Julia had the drive and some of the qualities to pitch at Division I, so I offered Julia an opportunity to join my program. Julia and her dad Tom were a great team and a delight to work with over the last 2 years. Julia like many pitchers in my college program, Julia did everything required to include goal setting, academics requisites, 2-3 practice sessions outside of lessons and strength & conditioning.
We all look forward to following Julia’s career at Providence College and if she continues to work hard in the classroom and in the circle only good things will come. Congratulations Julia and GO FRIARS!
I am very pleased to announce that Sara Kennedy has made her verbal commitment to attend and play softball at Villanova University!
Sara is the daughter of Dan and Jen Kennedy of Newtown, CT and they were thrilled that Sara decided on Villanova University. It was clear early in the recruiting process that Sara’s academic needs would form the basis of her final decision but Sara discounted that she would be recruited by so many top academic schools. Ultimately, Sara was overwhelmed with Villanova University, the softball program and the coaching staff especially Head Coach Maria DiBernardi who has been at the Wildcat’s helm for 30 years.
Sara started training at Fastpitch Dynamics in 2015. Although Sara was only 5’3”, it was very clear she was as motivated as she was athletic. Over just few months Sara quickly increased her speed and added a spinning change-up and drop to her pitch selection. Never did I once have to prod or encourage Sara. Whether Sara was walking into a lesson and walking in the circle, she was “All In” and gave me her very best……she is an idea student.
Last year, Sara was an unknown quantity on the national softball scene and played for some local and regional travel teams but in the summer of 2016 she guest pitched for TNT Gold in a PGF qualifier in Pennsylvania and also Newtown Rock Gold at the Independence Day Tournament in Boulder, CO. In my opinion, the IDT offers the best competition in the US and is representative of Division I play. Facing many power-house teams at the IDT prepared Sara in ways nothing else could! On Sara’s return home she rededicated herself to become a much better pitcher and went to work. Sara improved so quickly that Newtown Rock Gold asked Sara to permanently join their program in September. During this time Sara was gaining much more than speed, she was gaining confidence and a great deal of swag. By the time Sara joined Newtown Rock Gold for the Diamond 9 Showcase held in Orlando, FLA, she was on fire and college coaches from no less than eight Division I programs took serious notice. Sara returned home and found herself being recruited from several programs. Sara arranged her campus visits and was committed to completing all her visits………until her visit to Villanova. After visiting with the Villanova coaching staff, touring the campus and meeting the players, Sara knew Villanova was the only place for her and verballed a few days later.
Sara continues to improve and I am thrilled to be a part of her development. Sara has 18 months to continue working and I have few reservations that Sara will become a winner pitcher in the Big East. Sara also serves as an example and her experience sends a strong message to young pitchers everywhere that it doesn’t matter how big or small you are, it’s the size of your heart that matters.
I am very pleased to announce that Savannah Small has made her verbal commitment to attend Niagara University. Coach Larry Puzan first noticed Savannah in a skills video and immediately recognized Savannah's talent and subsequently attended The New England Finest Showcase to watch her pitch in competition. He was impressed with her confidence, pitching and demeanor in the circle and asked Savannah to visit Niagara University to see the campus and meet the team. While on her unofficial visit with her parents to Niagara University Savannah was so impressed with Coach Puzan, the team and the campus as soon as the family returned home the next day, she called Coach Puzan to make her verbal commitment.
Savannah is the daughter of Jim and Karen Small of Grafton, MA where she is an Honors Student and the starting pitcher at Grafton High School. Savannah was a sophomore pitcher at Grafton High last season and had an winning record going 6-1 and then became the starting pitcher during the Massachusetts State Tournament. Savannah took full advantage of her opportunity by leading her team shutting out Nipmuc High School 8-0 and recording 10 K’s and then into the Division II Semi-Finals losing to Auburn High School in a very close game 2-1. Savannah built on her tournament success pitching for the Mass Raiders in some National Showcases across the US. She was becoming a seasoned and experienced pitcher.
Savannah had been a student at Fastpitch Dynamics for 2 years and has been an ideal pitching student and always willing to work hard in and out of lessons. Savannah has over 2 years to develop as a college pitcher and I believe will contribute as a winning pitcher at Niagara University with she walks on campus in 2018. Congratulations Savannah!
I am very happy to announce that Kari Marks has made her verbal commitment to play softball at Central Connecticut State University.
Kari is the daughter of Ed and Lisa Marks of Granby, CT and comes from a complete softball family. Ed, her dad has been coaching in the CT Mirage organization since 2006, her mom is member of the board of directors, on CT Mirage, her Sister Alexa also pitched at Granby High School, her sister Julie who went on to her own softball career at CCSU just 2 years ago and of course all supported by their grandmother “Nana” who is a fixture at most games. This announcement is especially meaningful since I have had to pleasure to work with Kari since she was 8 years old and I was fortunate to see Kari’s growth and development of that 8 year period.
Kari started pitching in the Granby Little League where she led her Granby 9-10 year team to the Little League Regionals and concurrently started playing travel softball with the 10U CT Mirage 2K team coached by her dad. At 5’10”Kari is a tall and talented young pitcher with an enormous upside. She already is hitting speeds over 62mph and without question will be a 65+mph pitcher once she walks on the CCSU campus in 2018. Kari is a great teammate, a terrific young lady with natural leadership qualities. CCSU Head Coach Breanne Gleason put it best by saying Kari is a “Stud” pitcher already and can’t wait to have her part of the CCSU family.
Kari led her Granby Memorial High School team to a 18-2 record during the 2016 season was selected All-Conference, All-State and has hopes of going deep into the CIAC State Tournament. She also is looking forward to playing this summer with her CT Mirage 2K team.
Kari is a young and motivated pitcher with a bright future at CCSU. Her consistent work ethic and strong family values will help her overcome any obstacle in her path. Always positive and energetic, I look forward to working with her and seeing her develop over the next 2 years.
Congratulations Kari, “Big Ed” would be very proud of you!
I am very pleased to announce that Sarah Magro has verbally committed to Bucknell University.
Sarah is the daughter of Paul and Stacey Magro of Norfolk, Massachusetts and to say her family is excited about Sarah attending Bucknell would be an understatement. Bucknell University is one of the finest universities in the U.S. and was Sarah’s top choice.
Sarah has been a pitching student in the Fastpitch Dynamics “College Program” since 2012. She was and remains one of the hardest working student-athletes I have had in the 10 years operating my school. Never once did Sarah disappoint me. It is always a pleasure to work with Sarah and her father Paul and consider myself fortunate to be Sarah’s pitching instructor.
Sarah played her Little League softball with the Norfolk Storm and then her travel softball with the Mass Drifters in the Boston area and began her high school career at Bishop Freehan High. In 2013, Sarah was then invited to play with the Rhode Island Thunder Elite team where she pitched against some of the best teams in New England. In 2014 Sarah was asked to join the nationally ranked Wichita Mustangs. Sarah traveled with the Wichita Mustangs and competed in some of the best and most competitive softball showcases in the US and was when she garnered the attention of many college programs. In 2015 Sarah tried out for several “Gold Teams” in the Northeast and was offered a spot on the Rock 18 Gold Team coached by Rick Waye, recognized as one of the best gold coaches in the US. After making the switch to the Rock 18 Gold Team Sarah rededicated herself to her game and by the fall of 2015 was recruited by no less than 6 Division 1 programs. After completing all visits in November and weighing all her options, Sarah decided on Bucknell University.
Now that Sarah has committed to Bucknell she can look forward to her junior year at Bishop Freehan High School where Sarah intends to the Shamrocks to a Massachusetts Division I championship.
Congratulations Sarah on your decision to attend Bucknell. Your hard work, persistence and dedication are good examples for young pitchers everywhere. I am very proud of you!