PLAINVILLE — The Milford High softball team has plenty of new faces this season after a two-year hiatus, but one in particular is more than recognizable.
Steve DiVitto has been head coach for the Scarlet Hawks over the course of eight years since he took the job in 2013. Throughout his tenure, the 36-year-old has claimed four league titles and a state championship in 2017.
“He’s a great coach, there’s nothing bad you can say about him,” senior Natalie Casilli said after Milford’s 18-1 four-inning loss to King Phillip Monday night. “He knows what he’s talking about and he’s just super supportive.”
“He has a lot of heart,” senior captain Carly Ferreira said. “He’s always sticking up for us.”
The bulk of DiVitto’s success came along with a 2018 senior class of 10 players that won a combined 79 games over their four years with Milford. During those first few seasons, leading the way was Emily Piergustavo, who currently plays Division I softball for the University of Connecticut, and Kelley Reichert, who recently pitched her way to a MASCAC Championship and Player of the Year award with Bridgewater State University.
But in 2019, the team that finished 18-3 and made the DI South playoffs a year prior, was lacking in experience. The result was a 2-18 record and marked DiVitto’s first time out of the playoffs.
Now after last spring’s season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scarlet Hawks only returned five players.
“It’s great that we have such a young team,” senior captain Elise Fauerbach said. “We always say it’s a rebuilding year, but this time it really is. It’s a great experience for the freshmen to be able to play at a varsity level so early.”
“This is a great group of girls, they’re getting better. A lot of the stuff only the coaches see, not those on the outside,” DiVitto said. “There’s a lot of inexperience, but they’re working h
A coach who knows their way around the sport is essential when a team has an imbalance of experience such as five freshmen and four seniors. Thankfully for Milford, DiVitto – who’s from Milford – is more than comfortable on both the baseball and softball diamonds.
A 2003 graduate of Milford High, DiVitto was a standout on the Scarlet Hawks baseball team before playing the sport at what was then Assumption College (now called Assumption University). Someone that followed in those exact same footsteps is his sister, Meghan.
A 2006 graduate of Milford High, the younger DiVitto was a Mid-Wach League A All-Star for softball and a two-time All-Star for both basketball and volleyball. She then started every game she played in at Assumption, finishing her career with a .293 batting average with 67 runs, 124 hits, 42 RBI and a .978 fielding percentage.
Seven years later, it was her brother’s turn to make the sport his own.
“I’m a baseball guy and softball’s a sport I got to play when my sister was in it,” DiVitto said. “It’s something that’s been a part of my upbringing for as long as I can remember, and I’m blessed to be the coach here at Milford.”
After having a conversation with his sister in 2013, DiVitto talked with then athletic director Rich Piergustavo and was quickly given the Milford softball job.
Now the coach with nearly 100 wins to his name will look to bring the Scarlet Hawks back to their winning days with a roster dominated by freshmen.
“The last time some of these girls took the field was in the seventh grade. Going from that to high school varsity is a major leap. It’s crazy,” DiVitto said. “We’re young and inexperienced, it’s not a secret. We’re looking to build back and get to that championship realm where Milford softball’s always been.”
“We’re looking to build a team that’ll be good for years to come,” Ferreira said.