WESTFIELD, NJ — Alivia Macaluso is keeping her head in the game of softball — but it’s not always in the usual ways.
With the spring season called off due to COVID-19, the sophomore and third basewoman said, she has been practicing softball daily both on and off the field. Macaluso is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week. Part of her practice involves a cell phone fitness application, called RISE, on which she gets up to virtual bat.
“A pitcher will be pitching to you and you have to identify the types of pitches that are coming: a curve ball, a rise ball, a fast ball,” Macaluso said. “So it helps with hitting.”
On the field, individual practices for the 15-year-old include hitting, fielding and some days lifting weights, she said. And while they’re not together in person, Macaluso has been keeping in touch with her coach.
“She is a stand-out sophomore who was going to be our starting third baseman,” said head coach Becky Antonelli. “She has been conditioning and stay active while being at home with hard work in the backyard. She was probably going to be our second or third batter this season.”
While game play and team practices have ceased during the pandemic, the comradery has not stopped.
Macaluso said the team has had several meetings by video conference and that she keeps in touch with her team captain, Julia Gagliardi, regularly. “We’ve been talking about everything that’s going on,” Macaluso said.
News that the rest of spring sports season would not happen came as a disappointment for the teen, who hopes to play softball in college. But Macaluso is holding out hope that she will be able to play ball with a club league this summer.
She plays for New Jersey Bat Busters 18U. Tournaments originally scheduled for June, Macaluso said, have been moved to August, and there’s still the possibility the team may travel to play games in Georgia and Colorado.
“They haven’t been canceled yet,” she said. “And I’m keeping my hopes up that they won’t be.”