Stefania Abruscato, known as “Fania” to friends and family, grew up in a baseball family.
Her father, Tom, has been a high school and club baseball coach for over two decades and her older sister, Giulia, paved the way for Fania by showing up the boys on the baseball diamond.
Fania played baseball exclusively from five-years-old until she was 12-years-old when she debuted for Hauppage High's softball team, so she could play with her sister. All the skills she learned in baseball transferred over to softball and she was an immediate success.
"I have to be honest, I haven’t seen any player that has her skill-set even in the 18U level, which is what I play," said Giulia, a 2020 SS/UT who signed with Binghamton. "I know her pop time is already at 1.8 or lower. She's not your typical catcher. She's always one of or the fastest players on every team she's on.”
“When she's not catching, she's in center field,” Stefania’s sister continued. “Her ability to run and track down balls is well beyond anything I've seen at her age. She’s usually a 3 or 4 hitter on every team she's on. Her swing is violent, so no one cheats up on her as a lefty. She has great bat speed, balance, and creates great separation with her upper body and lower body."
As a seventh grader, Fania and her father created a skills tape featuring her baseball and softball highlights to send to college softball recruiters. It ended up in the hands of officials from MLB's Breakthrough Series.
At 14 years old, she was one of 64 female baseball players from around the country invited to the Breakthrough Series to train and learn from former MLB players, executives and members of Team USA's women's national baseball team last June at Dodger Town in Vero Beach, Florida.
"It was awesome," her father told Newsday. "I think I got teary-eyed early on watching it."
Giulia said Fania, who has committed to Missouri, is all about her team and winning and she's always the first person off the bench to congratulate or pick up a teammate.
"The one story that sticks out to me was when I hit a game-tying home run in a big high school game and I just remember her moving everyone out of the way at home plate and waving me in," Giulia said. "She then grabbed my face mask and said, 'That's how you do it stud!' She was more excited than I was."
Fania has aspirations of playing in the Olympics one day, whether that is in softball or baseball. For now, her focus is on softball.
"I love both sports," she said.
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