By TOM WILLIAMS
Cardinal Mooney senior catcher Conchetta Rinaldi says she’s seeing the Youngstown State University softball complex in a whole new way.
Before Friday, the YSU field was simply the home of Mooney’s archrival, Ursuline.
But after Rinaldi signed her Letter of Intent to accept a YSU scholarship, she laughed at the irony.
“Oh my gosh, it’s beautiful, the renovations that they’ve done, the turf,” Rinaldi said of the YSU Complex. “They are really doing something special.
“I’m so excited to get to play there.”
Rinaldi said she considered other schools.
“But nobody showed as much interest as YSU,” Rinaldi said. “When I went on my visit, [the coaches and staff] were so welcoming. It just felt like home.”
A three-year varsity starter for the Cardinals, Rinaldi, according to head coach Mark Rinehart, is “the best player I have coached in 27 years.”
Rinehart said Rinaldi’s contributions at the plate and behind it were big reasons why the Cardinals won the Division III district title in 2017 at South Range High School and finished runner-up in May at the Div. II district tournament in Alliance.
Rinaldi is preparing for her fourth varsity basketball season and will graduate with eight varsity letters.
Last spring, Rinaldi batted .517, hit 10 doubles and 12 homers, drove in 29 runs and scored 41. Her slugging percentage was 1.069.
Those homers set a new Mooney record for a single season. Her 26 career homers and 102 RBIs are Mooney records.
Life on the diamond runs in the Rinaldi family. Tony, her father and Mooney assistant coach, played baseball (catcher) for Mooney and Walsh. Pam, her mother, played softball at Chaney High School. Her sister Natalie played at Ursuiline High School then West Liberty University.
“My Dad has helped me a lot,” Rinaldi said. “We work out together every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I can’t even tell you the countless hours he’s spent with me at the softball facility working with my friends and me.”
What she loves about basketball “is it keeps me in shape. For softball, I feel like I’m ready to go” when basketball season ends.”
Canfield’s Householder secure in picking Tiffin
What attracted Canfield senior volleyball player Alyssa Householder to Tiffin University was the perfect major — homeland security and terrorism.
“It’s pretty specific, so it’s fate, I guess,” said Householder with a laugh after signing her Letter Of Intent at Canfield High School. “They have a big criminal justice program. That [major] really stood out for me.”
Householder, the Volleyball Coaches District 1 Player of the Year and All-American Conference Red Tier first teamer, will continue her volleyball career at Tiffin next fall.
She received other offers. Familiarity with the Tiffin staff who have hosted volleyball camps were a factor in her decision.
“We do a team camp up there every summer,” Householder said. “The Tiffin volleyball team runs the camp. I have such good memories from there.”
Householder’s parents were college athletes. Her father, Brian, played football at Youngstown State University. Her mother, Maria (Schuster) Householder, played volleyball at YSU.
“That’s where they met,” Alyssa Householder said.
Her mother has been Canfield’s varsity coach for the last six seasons.
“I’ve always been super close to my Mom, so [her coaching] excited me,” Householder said. “To have something to share with my Mom was kind of amazing.”