Please introduce yourself.
Ciao, my name is Alessandra Rotondo. I’m 18 and I live in Italy (north Italy). I started playing baseball for Senago Baseball in 2005. After three years, I switched to softball for the club Bollate. Since three years, I’ve been playing for Saronno, in Italy its highest league (division A) and the U21 team. Although I have been playing since 15 years now, I never had enough.. In fact, my true softball career starts now. My first time in the national team was in 2012, we won the l’Europeo Massimo Romeo tournament in Collecchio. Currently I’m part of the national U19 team, but I’ve also already had important experiences  with the Women’s national team. I’m a right-handed thrower but a lefty at bat.

What made you want to play softball?
I became passionate about this sport together with my cousin. There was a camp of one week, so we decided to try it. The first day was actually horrible, I kept crying and I wanted to go home. But from the second day on, I never stopped playing this wonderful sport.

Can you tell me something about softball in your country?
Softball in Italy is not so well known, unfortunately. Here, the main sport is soccer and in fact, all the minor sports like ours are always being neglected. Our division is divided in two groups: group A and B (with each six teams). The six teams of group A play against each other and so do the teams of group B too. In September, there’s an ‘Intergirone’ which means that the two groups will be mixed and everyone plays against everyone.

How often do you practice with your national team and what do the practices look like?
The Italian national team doesn’t train together every day. We have meetings of several days and weeks, especially before tournaments. This helps us a lot to create a good team from the technical point of view, but also to be more united with each other. Our coaches demand a lot from us, especially from our physical part. This is why every time we meet, we have to be at the top of our physical form.

What's your best experience so far with the national team?
The most beautiful experience I had so far with the national team was in Australia, the Asian Pacific Cup in January. It was a five day tournament with some of the strongest teams in the world: Australia, Japan, China, New-Zealand and the Chines Taipei. We were being confronted with very strong teams and we did our best. It was a wonderful experience. The last day I spent in Australia, I became an adult (18). I will remember it for a lifetime.

What is your goal for the 2018 season?
Of course, first of all I would like my club team, Saronno, to reach the play offs. After that, another goal is to keep myself in a good physical shape and to have great opportunities in the national team. I would like to improve my level of play and therefore time and experience will help me a lot.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
In five years I hope to be in college and play at an excellent level every day. I would like to still be part of the National team, and above all to prepare for the Olympics in 2024.

What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
The best advice they gave me in these years of softball was that our sport is 90% mental and 10% physical. For this reason, you must always be lucid and focused on what you do. If we can use the mind the right way, the body will consequently make beautiful actions.

Do you have a pre-game routine?
Before every game, I have to listen to my pre-game music playlist. Then I put on my uniform. Then, I start with some good stretching and focusing on what I have to do in the game. After the stretching some fielding, some hitting and then the game begins..

What do you think is the key to a successful team?
Have a united group that works together, that deals with difficult situations and always tries to overcome the various obstacles that cross our path.

- Romy Marinus -