Rose Pezzuti plays softball with a controlled frenzy and passion for the game. She knows what she wants to accomplish and has set her goals accordingly.
A sophomore at West Essex High School in North Caldwell, Pezzuti plays first base for coach Andrea Mondadori’s team, but also enjoys playing behind the plate. In fact, Pezzuti hopes to be a catcher when it comes to college ball in a few years.
She strives for success, first for her team, but knowing that as her game improves, her team’s chances could follow suit. The nucleus of West Essex is young, so the future could be bright.
“We have the ability to be a very good team,” Pezzuti said on May 21, just before her team faced Cliffside Park in the first round of the NJSIAA, North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 tournament. “I think we would have liked to win a few more games, but now we’re in the state tournament and everyone 0-0 again. We’re confident we can have a good run.”
West Essex defeated Cliffside Park, 8-0. and will take on Hackettstown on May 23 in the quarterfinal round. The Knights last won a sectional title in 2010.
Pezzuti’s work ethic and enjoyment of the game is something which impresses her coach.
“She’s such a great kid,” Mondadori said of Pezzuti. “She loves the game so much and is the ultimate team player. And she’s so talented that she can play a number of positions in the field. She’s good enough to be our regular starting catcher, but with (sophomore) Kim (Shaw) doing well there, we thought having Rose at first base gave us an even stronger team.
“But we’ve used Rose behind the plate, especially when (junior) Courtney (Mensch) pitches. Those two work very well together. She has a great release on throws and knows what she’s doing back there.”
“Catching is what I want to do on the next level,” Pezzuti said. “I love being in the middle of the game and a part of every play.”
Pezzuti has worked hard to become a better player. She plays summer ball and during the school year, worked on her conditioning by running cross country and winter track. She has become an offensive threat with her consistent hitting while providing solid defense at first.
Her family is very athletic, as well. Her older brothers were standout athletes at West Essex while twin brother, Christopher, plays baseball for the Knights.
The unassuming, yet charismatic Pezzuti was quick to name the three she’d most like to have dinner with, which included singers Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan as well as New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter.
In the meantime, it’s back to the grind of the NJSIAA tournament and hopefully, a season which will continue for a few more weeks at West Essex.