Ginny Britto had the perfect role model right from the start.
When Britto, a rising junior on the Little Flower High School softball team, started playing the game, she immediately went to the mound. And when she first picked up the ball, she had the perfect coach.
“My mom was a pitcher growing up, so she knew how to pitch,” said Britto, a Holme Circle native. “She was my first coach, she coached me a lot when I was younger. I learned a lot from her. She was a great coach.”
By virtue of her strong season at Little Flower, coupled with great performances at tryouts, Britto was selected to represent Little Flower in the annual Carpenter Cup. The Catholic League will play this week in the competition featuring the best players from the Delaware Valley, and the games are heavily scouted by college coaches. Strong showings at the event can lead to scholarship offers.
Also on the Catholic League team from local schools are Ryan’s Ava Brakoniecki and Meghan Kidd and St. Hubert’s Erin Hogan.
The tournament began on Monday, but the Catholic League didn’t play until Tuesday, after the Times went to press.
Britto is taking the opportunity to compete in the prestigious tournament to have fun, learn and possibly get on colleges’ radar.
“I’m excited because I love playing softball and whenever I play softball, I’m having fun,” Britto said. “I know there will be a lot of people there watching, but I’m going to have fun and win. You have to put the team first. We have such a good team, we should be really good.”
She’s also excited about making more friends.
Since Britto is the only Little Flower player on the roster, she came into tryouts without having any friends on the team. That rapidly changed once she started hanging around the players at practices.
“The girls are really cool,” the pitcher said. “We first had practices at O’Hara and Wood, and they’re about 45 minutes away, maybe even an hour. The first few times, I went by myself but now I carpool with Erin Hogan.
“I’m learning so much being around them and we’re having fun. I haven’t picked up a new pitch or anything, I’m just learning new things, how to deal with things. I’m having a lot of fun and I think we have a really good team.”
Ever since she arrived at Little Flower, Britto has been improving.
She entered the school a competent pitcher and was even the team’s starting hurler as a freshman. But each time she takes the mound, she becomes a better pitcher. And she credits a lot of that success to her coaches and teammates on the Sentinels.
“We’re so much better every game because of our coaches,” Britto said. “We’re still a really young team. This year was disappointing, even though we made the playoffs, because I wanted to go further. But it’s OK because most of us (were) sophomores and we still have two years left. We had good seniors, but we also have a lot of good players who still have time to come back and win here.”
It should be no surprise that as she improves, so does the team.
And she hopes to continue to reach new heights as a pitcher and as a player.
“I’m more of a power hitter and I’m trying to get better at that,” said Britto, who plays third base when she’s not on the mound. “I’ve learned a lot of new pitches when I got here. I’m a much better pitcher now. I’m still getting better. I think playing in big games has helped, too.
“The Catholic League is very tough, so sometimes it’s hard to see, but I think I’m a lot better now, and it’s because they’ve taught me a lot. And I’m learning a lot now (at the Carpenter Cup). I’ll try and learn from anyone I can.”
She now hopes that improvement can lead to big things, both with her all-star team and her high school squad.
The Sentinels finished 4–8 in Catholic League play, and lost to Cardinal O’Hara in the first round of the playoffs, but there’s reason for optimism because many of the girls return.
That gives Britto a good feeling about next year and beyond.
“I think everyone is working really hard to get better,” Britto said. “We weren’t happy with this year, and I think we can be better every year. We know what it takes, we just have to do it. The ultimate goal is to win a championship.
“I think this Carpenter Cup team can beat anyone. We have so many great players and we all got along right away. Nobody worries about anything other than having fun and winning.”
And while she’s winning, she knows she has full support of her first coach.
“My mom comes to all the games,” Britto said. “She is the loudest. She always supports me. She helped me when I was a player and she’s still helping me.”