Softball Coaches Reveal Past and Talk About Present


Alyssa Fasolo

Then and Now: Fasolo’s career in softball led her to the English teaching position she has now at the Altoona Area High School. Left: Fasolo pitching during an AAHS away game (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Fasolo); Right: Fasolo posing at her desk in her classroom (Photographer: Melissa Krainer).

She started playing when she was five. He’s been teaching for 20 years. Now she’s the head softball coach and he’s the assistant.

Their names? Alyssa Fasolo and Scott Berardinelli.

Fasolo’s history with softball goes back a long time. Her experience started at a relatively young age in the Keystone Girls Softball League. This progressed into a pitching career at the Altoona Junior High and High School, which led into four years of softball playing at Juniata College.

Fasolo expressed what stood out to her the most in that time period.

“Probably the biggest thing that sticks out to me is just getting to experience it with my family. So my whole family’s been really involved in softball in our area for a long time. My parents ran the Keystone Girls Softball League for several years. And I also got to play on the same team with my sister for a while when we were younger, so it was just kinda something that we’ve all shared with each other pretty much since we started,” Fasolo said.

Softball Sisters! Fasolo explained that her sister also played softball in college and that they even got to verse each other sometimes (Alyssa, left, being from Juniata and her sister Lindsey, right, from Elizabethtown). Their competitiveness pushed each other to do their best. “We’re only two years apart. So as we were growing up, it was always competition between us but we definitely, I think, were the biggest factor in trying to make each other better. We’d just spend hours and hours in the backyard or at the field…We’d be each other’s biggest critic, but we definitely made each other better along the way,” Fasolo said. (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Fasolo)
Teamwork. Fasolo’s father (Dom Fasolo) was one special person that helped her on her journey through softball: whether that was at five-years-old or in high school. She said, “My dad was coaching my sister and I from the time we started when we were five years old, the whole way up through when my sister played in an 18-year-old tournament team… He’s a sports guy who is really passionate about sports in general, but he really knows the game and kinda made the extra effort to learn the game in ways that he might not have known before, especially with me being a pitcher… he was always there.” (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Fasolo)

Other than the position of head coach for the junior high softball team, Fasolo also teaches English at the high school. She explained the juggling of these different jobs and how her experience with softball in the past helps her now.

“It’s definitely a lot about time management. I think that my experience playing in high school and college definitely helped me to learn that because I’ve always been balancing either school work and sports or working and sports. So it’s really about learning time management and being able to find a way to get everything done,” Fasolo said.

She also touched on her team and how she’s had and still has a special connection with some of the players.

Fasolo said, “There’s a few players I’ve known for a long time because I coached them in the Keystone Girls Softball League when they were younger, starting around 10-years-old. Two of my pitchers I have been working with one on one, giving pitching lessons since they were probably about 10 or 11. So I’ve definitely known those girls for a lot longer, and it’s been cool to see them develop. The older that they get they’re kind of growing into who they are as players.”

Fasolo also offered some advice for coaches in general and described her coaching and sports career up to this point. She believed that passion and development fitted that time best.

“I would say passionate and always-developing. I think you can’t be involved in sports for this long if you don’t have the passion for it. And it’s always-developing because I think there’s just always more to learn. So I’m always open to learning from the people who I’m working with, whether that’s players or other coaches…[or] people that I’m coaching against, because I just think that there’s so many people in this area who have so much to offer. So I’m always open to learning new things and trying new things and I think that’s the best way to become good at coaching,” Fasolo said.

Ready, set, pitch! Fasolo’s experience at Juniata shaped her as a person. She said, “Playing at the college level is a whole different experience because it’s a huge commitment. There’s a lot more going on at the college level in terms of the hours that you’re putting in…You really have to become what I call a ‘student of the game’… you have to be open to learning more about the game than you think you already do when you start it out… I had really good experiences and learned a lot from the people that I got to play with.” (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Fasolo)

Berardinelli’s journey took a different turn than Fasolo’s, but he shares some common similarities with her experience.

As assistant junior high softball coach, Berardinelli described his role in softball as doing whatever the head coach needs. In addition to that position, he is a coach for the junior high girls’ soccer team and ninth grade girls’ basketball team.

Berardinelli’s sports career in high school and college was a little different than Fasolo’s.

“I played football, basketball and baseball. And I played baseball in college at Lock Haven,” he said.

In contrast to Fasolo, Berardinelli actually coaches his daughter, Aubriana, on the softball team. He said it feels extremely difficult to coach her, but he didn’t think it affects the team dynamic.

“Nope, she is just one of the number we have on the team. I coached her in soccer this year. I’ve been the junior high girls coach for four years. She came up last year and this year. I coached her…and she’s no different than one of the 18. Basketball the same way…if I coach her and if she does something wrong, like any other kid, she sits, she gets yelled at,” Berardinelli said.

Smile! Berardinelli has and had many different athletic-centered positions. He’s been coaching for 20 years! (Melissa Krainer)

Additionally, Berardinelli talked about how he treats connections with the players he coaches.

“There’s nothing, no one girl in particular that I have a connection with… I try to respect all the kids the same. I don’t do favorites…The girls know that, even the girls I coach. I don’t care if you’re my daughter or a seventh grader that I’ve never met before. I’m gonna treat you the same… I do have a sense of humor with the kids, and they know that. But when it’s time to get to it — [it’s] a different look, so to speak. And that goes for all the kids,” Berardinelli said.

There was one special person that helped him through his sports career to where he stands now as a softball, soccer and basketball coach. 

He said, “My dad. He was a coach and a teacher all his life.”

Berardinelli also tries to do the same for Aubriana: to be that special person that helps her on her way. 

He also talked about success.

“I’ve been lucky to have some really good athletes over the years that kinda made us successful. I can’t take the credit for giving good athletes… Once they get to what our system is, I think their athletic ability just takes over and they do their thing,” he said.

Berardinelli also offered some insight into what it means to be a coach and what his journey was like over the years.

He said, “Very challenging. Just times are different. Kids change, parents change. Expectations change. And I think, as a coach, you have to adapt to that because years ago, you know, you could play the old-school coach where nowadays you can’t do that. You gotta be more professional and you gotta be more understanding, more compassionate where we weren’t necessarily like that twenty years ago… That’s something that definitely has changed. It’s difficult. It’s tough to change. As the times change, it’s difficult to change your ways. You can get into serious trouble if you’re not changing with the times.”

Sports. Ever-changing. Challenging. Filled with passionate people. 

Fasolo and Berardinelli have an interesting past and present that have shaped them as a person and as a coach. 

Now their future awaits.

Melissa Krainer