Most of us who knew Dina DeAquino probably haven’t reconciled her passing, after a courageous bout with cancer, on June 17, 2018.
After all, she was just 52, a vibrant mom, daughter and dear friend to so many.
Dina DeAquino (right) joined by former teammate Donna Campana (left) and close friend Jackie Vitiello. (Click on photo for larger image)
In Belleville High’s rich softball tradition, there’s little argument that DeAquino was one of the program’s best all-around players, as she led the Bucs to back-to-back Essex County Tournament championships in 1982 and 1983.
DeAqunio’s legacy will shine even brighter on April 13, when a series of high school softball games will be played at the Corino Softball Complex, at Clearman Field, to remember DeAquino.
Dina enjoyed a stellar collegiate softball career at Montclair State. (Click on photo for larger image)
Belleville High softball coach Chris Cantarella announced that ‘A Day for Dina’ will feature the following lineup of high school games.
Montclair vs. Lyndhurst at 9:30 a.m.
Belleville vs. Leonia at 11:30 a.m.
A celebration will follow the Belleville-Leonia game, with a few speakers talking about Dina, including Carl Corino.
Cedar Grove vs. Union Catholic vs. Cedar Grove at 2 p.m.
Fair Lawn vs. Hanover Park, at 4 p.m.
There are plenty of affiliations with the teams that will compete on April 13. DeAquino, of course, played at Belleville High and grew up in the township. She was also the athletic director at Leonia and once coached softball at Fair Lawn.
The 1982 Belleville High softball team won the school’s first county title in softball. Dina (third from right, middle row) was the winning pitcher, hurling a shutout in the title game, as the Bucs defeated Livingston, 8-0. (Click on photo for larger image)
Meanwhile, Cedar Grove’s assistant coach is Cheryl Marion, who was a teammate of DeAquino’s at Belleville High while head coach Nikki Velardi also played at Belleville High. Hanover Park coach Jamie Galioto is also a Belleville graduate and went to school with DeAquino during the same era, albeit three years apart.
A large crowd is expected for what should be an emotional day, but also one filled with smiles and laughs, because that’s what ‘Dina De’, as I always called her, exemplified.
Cheryl Marion, an assistant softball coach at Cedar Grove and educator at Belleville High, was a teammate of DeAquino, from 1982-1984. (Click on photo for larger image)
A number of Dina’s family will be in attendance, including her legendary dad, Tony DeAquino, a long time educator and coach at Belleville High. Also expected to be there will be Carl Corino, for whom the softball complex at Clearman Field is now dedicated.
“It should be a special day,” said Cantarella. “Dina was an incredible player, a good friend and did so much for softball. We all thought it would be something special to remember her contributions and to honor her legacy.”
Jamie Galioto, here with his championship softball team at Hanover Park, also attended Belleville High and was a standout athlete for the Bucs. (Click on photo for larger image)