By Joseph Staszewski
Alexa Rosella fully understood the task she would take on when she accepted the job of head coach of the Christ the King’s girls’ softball team.
The former Stella Maris standout, who played her college ball at Concordia, was the school’s junior varsity coach the year prior. She watched the varsity struggle mightily under first-year head man Bobby Suarez, who the school parted ways with in search of a new direction, according to athletic director Bob Mackey.
The Royals have been near the bottom of CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens in recent years. Rosella embraced the opportunity given to her.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge,” said the 24-year-old former pitcher/outfielder. “I remember playing them in high school and they weren’t always that strong, so I knew that I had my hands full.”
Rosella, along with assistant Coach Samantha Ortiz, has already made an immediate impact with her attention to detail and discipline that has given the young Royals a new focus. Rosella has tried to make her practices similar to ones she experienced in college. The added work has especially helped in the field. Errors that have plagued Christ the King in recent years, turning close games into routs, haven’t been the case so far this season.
“I guess I am a little harder on them than the coach was last year,” Rosella said. “They are sticking to it more. They are working harder. It’s actually them.”
Junior centerfielder Destiny Marino said Rosella promised them in the beginning of the year that if they listened to her they would get far this season. The Royals already own a win over Mary Louis and lost close games to St. Francis Prep and Fontbonne Hall. These were teams that used to rule them in the past; now the players feel like they are competing.
“She (Rosella) knows what she is talking about,” senior Amanda Gauthier said. “She’s smart.”
Christ the King has just three seniors and is filled with youth who are going to take time to develop, starting with sophomore ace and No. 3 hitter Katelyn Finneran. Cleanup hitter and catcher Jessica Vieitez is up from the junior varsity along with fellow starters Amberi Hidalgo and Desirey Reyes. Because they are a young team it means things could only get better as the season goes on.
“We just need our bats to wake up,” Marino said.
Rosella understands that truly turning things around isn’t an overnight job and she prefers growing a program from the ground up.
“I told them it’s going to take a while to build up the program into something that you want it to be,” Rosella said. “You start here and work hard now, eventually it will come.”
Thanks to her, it has started already.