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Sports Person of the Week
Rosario Loves Everything About Softball
Kayla Rosario recently finished a four-year career with the East Haven softball team that culminated with the third baseman leading the squad as a senior captain this spring. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Rosario)
Kayla Rosario wasn’t too huge into softball when she first started playing, but her love for the game grew as she spent more time on the diamond. Following a successful run with the East Haven softball team, Kayla is now looking forward to continuing her career in college.
Kayla was encouraged to play softball by her mother Tasha at the age of nine, initially competing in East Haven Little League. While there may have been a few growing pains, Kayla continued working at the sport and saw herself improving.
“My mom played. We threw all the time. She told me to try it and said that I’d love it. At first, I don’t think I liked it, but she just told me to keep doing it,” Kayla says. “I got better. My arm got really strong. Once I saw that in myself, I realized it was wanted I wanted to do. As I got better, it just got more interesting and more fun for me.”
Kayla played in East Haven’s rec league until the 5th grade, when she joined the Connecticut Falcons AAU program. She went on to join the Shoreline Sting the next year and then the CT Charmers as a sophomore.
Kayla had played catcher when she was in Little League. However, once she started playing for the Sting, she transitioned to third base. At the time, Kayla’s coach was Russ Senerchia, who told her that East Haven Head Coach Ed Crisafi needed a third baseman. From there, Kayla kept working at the position and preparing herself for the move to the high school level.
When she joined the Yellowjackets, Kayla became the team’s starting varsity third baseman as a freshman. Kayla earned the nod after turning in a strong showing at third during a preseason scrimmage.
“When I came up as a freshman, I wasn’t expecting to play as much as I did,” says Kayla. “[Coach Crisafi] tried me out at third during a scrimmage. I did really well, so he put me there the rest of the year. I just did well. That’s where he liked me.”
After patrolling the hot corner as a sophomore, Kayla and the Easties were unable to play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kayla did get to play her summer season with the Chargers. Kayla says that Charmers’ Head Coach Neil Swanchak has proved a crucial figure in her development as softball player.
Returning back to the high school field as a senior, Kayla helped East Haven reach the semifinals of the Class L State Tournament this spring. Kayla did everything she could to improve throughout her tenure with the team, including taking countless ground balls from Assistant Coach Jeff Crisafi at third base. Overall, Kayla says that her time with the Yellowjackets taught her about hard work and what it takes to succeed.
This season, all six of East Haven’s seniors were named captains for the team. Alongside Kayla, that class included Carly Cordova, Tori Heaphy, Sammie Franceschi, Kayla Goodrich, and Brooke Clancy. Kayla has been playing with these teammates since her time in Little League, and feels that their experience together played a key role in the Yellowjackets’ success this spring.
“Us seniors have been playing together since rec. We were all just used to each other. We knew what worked and what didn’t work,” Kayla says. “We used that knowledge toward the team. It helped us bring the team together. It just helped a lot with team bonding and communication.”
Head Coach Ed Crisafi says that Kayla has been a vital member of the Yellowjackets over the past four years. Crisafi feels that Kayla’s contributions, alongside those of her fellow seniors, will be immortalized in the East Haven history books for years to come.
“Kayla has been a big part of the East Haven softball program for four years. She accepted whatever role she was asked to do and put the team first,” says Crisafi. “Kayla, along with her fellow senior teammates, will always be remembered as one of the most successful classes.”
Now that she’s graduated, Kayla is looking forward to continuing her softball career at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kayla will be double majoring in health science and holistic psychology & wellness at the school.
While she was a bit reluctant at first, it didn’t take long for Kayla to get into softball. As she moves on to play at the college level, Kayla says that the sport of softball has forever shaped her life.
“It means everything to me. It’s my whole life,” says Kayla. “I play all year-round. If I didn’t have softball, I don’t know where I would be.”