All-Star lifestyles! Milford Little League state champs are also winners away from softball

By Rick Menning


MILFORD, CT -- Throughout this week, the Milford Little League Softball Major Division All-Stars have shown up at Brewster Field with the eye of the tiger as they prepare for regional competition.

With the start of the New England phase of the tournament in Bristol fast approaching, the Connecticut state champions are putting the finishing touches to their overall game plan which they hope will catapult them into the Little League Softball World Series in Greenville, North Carolina.

But like all young ballplayers, there's a time to take a serious approach to their mission and a time to shift over into other aspects of their lives.

'BACK' AT IT! The Milford All-Stars will return to the diamond this weekend for the Little League Softball New England Region tournament in Bristol. The home state warriors take on Tiverton, Rhode Island on Saturday (July 23) at 4 p.m.

Away from their field of dreams, this amazing group of 12-under dynamos are also great at balancing fun times with a blueprint for success as individuals.

When they are not ripping slingshot hits at opposing fielders or grabbing grounders and fly balls in tournament action, the Milford girls transition from a focus on teamwork to individual goals and aspirations off the diamond.

Each member of the Milford All-Stars and Little League Softball Major Division state champions answered a questionnaire that gives some insight and perspective into the names on the backs of their uniforms.


**********


Meet the girls who will put their softball skills on display in front of a national television audience on the ESPN+ telecasts of their regional games which get underway on Saturday.


**********


(All in alphabetical order)


MADDY BONANNO (No. 35)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"Besides playing softball, I love basketball. I play on a travel team -- the Milford Knights. Gabby, Maddog, Julia and Nora are also on the team and my dad is the head coach and coach Dave is one of the assistant coaches. In March, our team won the New England Championship for 7th grade girls. We also won 50 games and seven other tournaments including an 8th grade tournament."

What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"A project I would put my heart and soul into is to help cure pediatric brain cancer. A few kids from Milford died from brain cancer. Before Covid my friends and I had a lemonade stand and donated all of the money to The Cure Starts Now."

Milford All-Star Maddy Bonanno is among the pitching staff that helped the district and sectional winners earn state accolades and advancement to regionals.

(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"After college I want to be a pediatric oncologist to take care of kids with cancer. I also want to coach my daughters in softball. More moms should be coaches."

What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"Before every game I have to drink a lemon lime Gatorade with Chloe."

If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would invite Paige Bueckers to watch the regionals because she is my favorite college basketball player."


NORAH BOVE (No. 9)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"I love to be active, so anything that involves being outside. When it's cold, I like to go sledding. When it's nice out, I like to play basketball with my friends."


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would make the world a better place by adopting any pets that need a home because I love animals."


(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"Right now, I'd like to stay with something in sports, maybe a basketball coach or a trainer."


What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"I like to listen to music before a game."

If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would invite Jeff McNeil from the New York Mets because he is my favorite baseball player; or LaMelo Ball, my favorite basketball player."


CHLOE CAPALBO (No. 4)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"I like playing volleyball because all of the girls on my mom's side of the family played high school volleyball."

What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would choose to help animals that are kept in unsafe enclosures in aquariums or zoos."

(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"I would choose to teach probably K through 3rd grade because I love babysitting and playing with younger kids."

What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"Me and my teammate Maddy Bonanno always drink a pregame lemon lime Gatorade."

If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would invite Derek Jeter to my game because he was one of my first inspirations to start playing softball."


LEAH CORRIS (No. 15)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"I like to make bracelets. It’s fun to make different ones for my friends."


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"Save all the animals that are endangered or stuck in shelters because they deserve better lives."


(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"A lawyer because I would get paid to argue (on people's behalfs)."

What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"Putting my socks on crooked."

If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would invite Campbell Schaen because I watched her play in the Little League World Series for North Carolina in 2019."


MADDIE DELDIN (No. 10)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"My favorite activity to do outside of softball is basketball because it is my favorite sport and I love my team and coaches."


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"A project I would put my heart into is preventing homelessness because seeing people on the streets begging for spare change is the worst possible thing."


(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"Hopefully after I graduate from college I will become a veterinarian because I love animals and I would like to help them in any way I can."


What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"Before every game I wear my hair in a braid because it just makes me feel motivated."


If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"It would be Paige Bueckers because I have idolized her because of her hard work and dedication towards sports."


ARIELLA DiORIO (No. 13)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"I love playing volleyball."


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would probably do something for animals. I would donate to an animal shelter. I would volunteer to help take care of animals that are in shelters."

Milford All-Star Ariella DiOrio gets ready to let loose with a cannon throw from behind the plate during sectional competition.

(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"I (would be) a pediatrician. I like working with kids and helping them be healthy."


What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"The night before each game I always use the same Bath and Body Works shower gel. It's my favorite."


If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"Jennie Finch. I would pick her because she is a softball player and she can give me tips."


RILEY FAGAN-DAVIES (No. 1)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"My favorite hobby outside of softball is volleyball! I love the sport because you’re always engaged and doing something, whether it’s helping a teammate or keeping the ball in play!"


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would put my heart and soul into making sure everyone has enough food and water to drink. I would do this because I realized that you don’t know how much you need something until you don’t have it."


(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"I would be a veterinarian because I love animals and spending time with them and making sure they are safe."

What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"My special routine is our walk before our game! I love the walk around the field because it gives me a minute to breathe and drink some water while getting a proper mindset for game time!"

If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would invite Briana Marcelino, who was the starting shortstop for UCONN! She’s a leader and an all-around great ball player!"


SOPHIA HORVACK (No. 11)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"Walking my dogs, Henri (a big Golden Doodle) and Lulu (a small Cavapoo). Lulu is our team mascot -- everyone loves her! I just love them so much."

What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would like to save the arctic animals -- killer whales, polar bears, penguins and seals. Global warming is a serious problem and I’d like to find out how I can help."

(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"I’d like to become a Fashion Designer because it would allow me to be creative and true to myself. I really like to match pieces together to make a unique, stylish look."

What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"I don’t really do much. I try to stay in my zone, stay calm and just chill. No worries. My favorite snack for every game is an apple (or two!)."

If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"My favorite singer-songwriter, Mitski. She is a unique artist who expresses herself freely and I love her style."


NYLA JASER (No. 21)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"My favorite activity is playing wiffle ball with my friends, because it's just like softball. I also love drawing because it's fun to create new things."

What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"One day I would like to coach a Little League softball team with my friends. I would like to be able to pass along things I have learned and instill confidence and a love for the game in the next generation."


(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"I would be preparing for a career in marine biology so that I could research ocean animals."


What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"I have to listen to music, specifically rap."


If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would invite Jordy Bahl or Jocelyn Alo, because they are incredible softball players and play(ed) for my favorite college team the Oklahoma Sooners. One overcame injury to become one of the top college pitchers and the other is the best home run hitter in college softball history."


GABBY RODRIGUEZ (No. 36)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"My favorite activity outside of softball is basketball. I love doing this because I like the momentum and speed of the game and love the team that I'm on."


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would make it so that kids who need extra help, a disability, or are struggling with money to get a chance to play sports. I choose that so every kid gets a possibility to interact with other kids and be part of a team so they can strengthen social skills and learn important life lessons."


(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"What I would major in is sports journalism. I would do this because not only do I get to meet famous athletes but I would also get to be social for a big part of the job and I also enjoy writing so it would be a good fit for me. In addition to that, I would like to coach on the side whether it's a high school or a travel team. I like working with kids and I love playing sports."


What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"Same routine every game – run through the same drills with the same coaches listening to the same playlist – helps us focus and prepares us to win."


If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"It would be Paige Bueckers and Azzie Fudd. I say this because I am a huge UCONN fan and I love watching them play and it would be cool for someone who I inspire to play like to watch me play for a change."


JULIA SCIBEK (No. 12)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"I like playing basketball because I like to compete on a good team with my friends. I also like to paint and draw because it is relaxing."


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would want to help animal rescue shelters to help save dogs and keep them safe because I love dogs."


Milford All-Star Julia Scibek totally concentrates as she sets herself to make a possible putout play from third base.

(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"I want to own my own business (candy shop with homemade candies) because candy makes people happy!"


What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"I like to talk to my dad about the game on my way to the game or before I go to the dugout."


If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"Lauren Burke from the University of Texas softball team because I like the way she plays and because she has a good attitude."


EMILY SPERINGO (No. 24)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"Volleyball, because I get to meet new people, have fun, and compete against others."

What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"I would collect bottles and cans from beaches and other places in the world and bring them to places where they can be reused or turned into something new!"

(Hypothetical) You are preparing to graduate from college, what career are you going into and why?


"I would go into Engineering because I want to be a Nascar driver but I also want to fix and make my own car. I want to be able to build and invent stuff in the future."

What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"Before every game, I have to flip my lucky 50-cent coin my dad gave me."

If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would pick: Jocelyn Alo, Grace Lyons, or Noah Schnapp."


LILY STANKEVICH (No. 6)


What is your favorite activity or hobby that you absolutely love doing outside of softball and why?


"Outside of softball, I also do gymnastics. I compete for the Xcel gold team at GCA in Milford."


What project would you put your heart and soul into to make the world a better place, and why would you choose it?


"To make sure everyone has a house to live in because I think it seems unfair to not have a home to live in."


What is your special routine on game day that you absolutely must do like a favorite meal or an activity to get in the right mindset for the action?


"Before each game I drink a Sprite for good luck."


If you could invite your favorite superstar athlete or TV/movie sensation (more than one is perfectly OK) to attend one of your regional games in Bristol, who would it be and why?


"I would invite Laurie Hernandez because she is someone I looked up to when I was younger."

The New England field is set


The Milford girls now know where their opponents are from as all five state champions in the New England Region have been decided.

Joining them in the tournament July 23-28 at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center, are Tiverton (Rhode Island), Canton (Massachusetts), Colchester (Vermont) and Bonny Eagle (Maine). There is no representative from New Hampshire in this year's field.

After Milford takes on Tiverton in Saturday's opening game at 4 p.m., Canton will go up against Bonny Eagle starting at 8 p.m. Colchester sees its first action on Sunday at 4 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.

Hungry for even more great softball? The Mid-Atlantic Region, which also calls Bristol home, has games at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday. That field includes state champs from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Delaware and Maryland.

All games in both regionals are broadcast on ESPN+ to a national television audience.


1,010 views0 comments