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2022 END OF YEAR MESSAGE

Dear Empire Family,

              With the fall season now behind us, John Wren and I would like to take a minute to thank all our volunteer coaches, players and families that are so important to our organization. Without dedicated coaches & players there is no Empire Fastpitch. Without parents and guardians that are committed to seeing their athletes mature into young women athletes, our vision for fastpitch softball in NYC would not be possible. Thank you for your continued trust in our vision and for the privilege of coaching and training all your amazing athletes. Remember “Trust the Process”! 

              Over the last twelve months so many positive things have taken place for Empire Fastpitch. We held winter workouts and tryouts at Match Point to start the 2022 year off. We had over 50 athletes work out with us during that time. Many of whom joined the Empire family of teams for the Spring/Summer & Fall. We added several talented athletes to our growing list of alumni that are now playing collegiate softball around the country. We held several free youth clinics in Brooklyn & Queens to bring better training and awareness to the sport of Youth Fastpitch. We believe these outreach programs will benefit not only Empire but our community, more kids playing sports is beneficial to everyone.

              In July we hosted the LARGEST college softball prospect ID camp EVER held in NYC. With over 20 colleges represented from every level of the sport (DI, DII, DIII, JUCO & NAIA). We even had a coach from Virginia Beach, VA attend. Our outreach and relationships to surrounding areas, coaches and organizations resulted in a total of 69 prospects that attended the camp. These athletes came from across New York City, Long Island and 4 surrounding states, we even hosted 2 athletes that came from Canada to take part in the camp. The event was a huge success for Empire Fastpitch and for NYC fastpitch softball, and you can be sure that we will continue to host this event annually going forward.

              In August we travelled south to Viera Beach, Florida where we were invited to take part in an event that matches exceptional college players against the best professional players in woman’s softball. Coach Wren and I were also asked to assist in coaching these amazing young athletes at USSSA Space Coast Stadium. We sent several players to join the CCSL college team and they played games against the Florida Vibe, Smash-it-Sports Vipers and the USSSA Pride PRO teams. We also attended a Fastpitch Softball convention that emphasized player testing, training, analytics, physical health and wellbeing, and the growing issues with mental health in collegiate athletes. During our stay we secured a partnership with PPN (Peak Performance Network) to utilize their platform for all our Empire Fastpitch athlete’s player development functions; including development, management, analysis and player projection of each individual athlete. We will be implementing this system beginning in the winter of 2022 during our indoor winter skills camp.

              Another technology asset that we piloted during the summer & fall of this year was an AI (Artificial Intelligent) video recording system from Trace Inc. The recording system has turned out to be a tremendous asset for our college prospects. The camera system uses a GPS tracking system to individually record every one of our players on the field during game play. The camera system records the entire field and uses AI to follow the player and the ball simultaneously. Once the game is completed the videos are uploaded to the Trace servers where they are processed into individual player moments and e-mailed directly to the player/parents. This technology has virtually done away with all the struggles related to video recording, editing, trimming, and converting clips to send to prospective colleges. The quality of the videos is excellent, look at the video clips of our players on their pages to see just how good it is. In conjunction with this technology Empire is also designing and developing our YouTube channel where we will be housing ALL player videos as well as complete game recordings. This channel will be fully launched in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that announcement as well.

              Continuing with the fall of this year we fielded multiple teams at the 14U-18U divisions. Our 14U futures team has continued to train and grow, by the spring of 2023 these girls will be a force to reckon with for sure. Both of our 16U teams played a predominantly showcase schedule to familiarize our athletes with the level of competition they will be competing with when it comes time to select where they want to continue their education and playing careers. Both teams were routinely scouted by colleges and universities throughout the region. Our 18U team played exclusively in recruiting showcase events this fall. The 18U Marinello squad is routinely pitted against the best prospect teams at any given event. Their players are all high-level college prospects and most of them are already in receipt of roster invitations to continue their playing careers in college. This team will continue to play several events over the winter months to continue to compete at the highest levels of the sport. Stay tuned for commitment announcements from these ladies as I’m sure they are on the way!

              In September our website was successfully fully launched. www.empirefastpitch.org is our online home that stores and displays all our athlete college profile information, along with skills & game videos that can be easily shared with college prospects via weblink or QR Code. We also released our new “Recruit Corner” page which has tons of relevant college recruiting information stored all in one location. Our news and photo sections are areas where everyone can learn more about the state of our organization and to view all our team and event photos. Lastly our on-line store is live, and you will be able to purchase Empire fan gear directly from the site. So, if you have some extra time check out our new online home and catch up with all the great things that are happening at Empire.

              Back to the present and we are just a few days away from the beginning of our winter skills camp once again. This year we will be implementing the PPN program as described above, the FDNY strength and conditioning coaches will be joining us again and we will have several college coaches visiting us over the course of the winter to scout and speak to our athletes. We are also hosting our first youth baseball skills clinic on Nov. 12, 2022. This is exciting since we were specifically asked by multiple baseball travel teams if we would be willing to train their developing players. Empire never envisioned developing baseball teams and athletes, but it is apparent that the need does exist. So, who knows maybe there is an Empire Baseball in the future? Only time will tell.

              Lastly but not least, our fundraising season is in full swing, and we are currently running several different campaigns now. Our basket of cheer raffle is available from any of our coaches, or you contact me or John Wren directly or you can even buy tickets in our web store. We are also running our Thanksgiving Day NFL pool. You can check out our Facebook page for remaining boxes in the pool.

              My apologies for the extremely long message but as you can see the organization is growing at a breakneck speed and we are dutifully doing our best to run and manage an organization that truly puts players and family’s needs first and foremost. So, thank you once again for all your support and we hope to have another extremely successful year in 2023!!! GO EMPIRE!!!!

 

Sincerely,

John Wren & John Capozucca

EMPIRE FASTPITCH

 

 

 

softball team
softball team
 

EMPIRE’s Newest Collegiate Athletes

isabella
Manhattanville

October 2022 – Empire Fastpitch’s newest collegiate athletes Isabella Wren and Emma Capozucca took to the field this month in their first NCAA softball games.

     Isabella played her first collegiate game with the nationally ranked Manhattanville Valiant’s in a double header that saw them face off against the Fairfield University Stags & the Yale Bulldogs (NCAA D1). Bella made her debut in the outfiled and went 1-3 with a single and the only RBI of the game. Bella is a Criminal Justice Major and there are definitely great things ahead for her both on and off the diamond.

     Emma played her first double header as well for the Mount Saint Vincent Dolphins, getting the start at first base against the Monroe Mustangs. She played the entire game at first and went 0-1 with a sacrifice and 2 walks. In the night cap she once again took over the duties at first base in the third inning against the Monroe Express. In the last inning Emma helped complete a beautifully executed 1-3-2 double play to end the game and take the win against the Express. Emma is a Nursing major.

     Both young ladies are looking forward to the Spring when their teams can get back on the field for the 2023 season. Bella’s Valiant’s will be travelling to California for their spring pre-season games and the Dolphins will be playing their spring warmups in South Carolina. Both the Valiant’s and the Dolphins compete in the NCAA DIII Skyline Conference.

emma capozucca
Mount Saint Vincent University
 

Youth Baseball Clinic Announced — November 12, 2022

     Empire Fastpitch has been requested to host a youth baseball clinic for players aged 8 thru 10. This clinic will focus on fielding, hitting, base running, catching & pitching fundamentals. 

     Empire’s coaching staff is excited to bring to youth baseball what it has been teaching to youth softball for years. Our coaching ranks are full of ex MLB, College & HS baseball players that still have a love for the game and can not wait to get on the diamond with a new generation of baseball players. 

     If you have a son that plays baseball between the ages of 8 and 10 then please use the events/clinics tab at the top of the page and register for this event. Event details are also shown below. Hope to see you on Nov. 12th. 

 

Winter Softball Skills Camp Announced

     Empire Fastpitch has announced the details of their upcoming indoor winter softball skills camp. This years camp will be a total of 19 weeks. The FDNY strength and conditioning coaches will be on-hand approximately every 3 weeks, and we will have several guest college coach appearances throughout the winter. Check out the flyer and you can register above using the events button then camps. 

 

Empire Fastpitch announces collaboration and use of the Peak Performance Network (PPN) player development management system.

     Empire Fastpitch is excited to announce that we will be implementing the Peak Performance Network (PPN) player development system to all its athletes in the coming weeks. After visiting with the owner of PPN Coach Kelly Ahrens at Space Coast Stadium in August, Empire realizes that a focused test and train program will add tremendous benefits to our young athletes that are striving to play at the next level.

     Empire Fastpitch’s coaches will be able to test, track and provide specialized training programs to each athlete to help them achieve their on-field goals. The mental MRI portion of the program will also enable us to ensure we are monitoring the mental health of all our young athletes.

                We are excited to be able to offer this cutting-edge technology and analytics to all our players and families in the very near future.

Empire Fastpitch
 

Fall Schedules Released

     Empire Fastpitch announces team schedules for Fall 2022. Our most ambitious season to date, all our teams will be competing in top showcases and tournaments in the northeast. Our teams will play in 5 different states reinforcing our belief that if you want to advance your skill set you need to compete against the best teams you can. Winning trophies and medals will not help our players compete for college roster positions.

     Empire Fastpitch 18U team coached by Frank Marinello and Lou DeAngelis will be playing in the following events this season.

Team NJ Tunnel to Towers
Team NJ NEFL Alliance Qualifier
Blue Chip Toys for Tots
Team NJ Fall Showcase
Philly Spirit Showcase
Grand Slam Fall Finale

     Empire Fastpitch 16U team coached by Lucas Huertas and Keith Glazer will play in the following events this season.

One & Done Tournament
Team NJ Tunnel to Towers
Extreme Dimensions Outlaws / Rock Showcase
Hatters Fall Brawl Invitational
Toms River Lightning Fall Classic
Blue Chip Fall Finale Showcase
East Coast Fall Showcase
In the Net Halloween Havoc

     Empire Fastpitch 16U team coached by Arianna Dillon and Brianna Alicandro will play in the following events this season.

Havoc at the Harbor
Back to School Bash
Team NJ Tunnel to Towers
Extreme Dimensions Outlaws / Rock Showcase
Hatters Fall Brawl Invitational
Toms River Lightning Fall Classic
Blue Chip Fall Finale Showcase
East Coast Fall Showcase
In the Net Halloween Havoc

     Empire Fastpitch 14U team coached by Kristen O’Neill and Courtney Bellows will play in the All-Shore 14U fall fastpitch league and the LDP Breast Cancer awareness tournament.
 

Empire Fastpitch at USSSA Space Coast

August 5, 2022

                Empire Fastpitch had the privilege of sending several NY area players to USSSA Space Coast in Florida to play against the best softball players in the world. Empires own Isabella Wren and the RKE JAXX’s Jordan Felci joined the CCSL Stars & Stripes Collegiate team and played against the Smash It Sports Vipers, Florida Vibe & USSSA Pride. What an experience for these young ladies! This was a chance of a lifetime that Empire will be continuing yearly.

                Empire staff also had the opportunity to build relationships and partnerships and to gain insight into testing, training, injury management, player development and projection all while meeting some of the best people in woman’s softball that are advancing the sport every day.

                Empire Fastpitch has also been invited to bring a NYC invite only softball team to Space Coast next year to compete against both the CCSL Stars and strips collegiate team as well as the woman’s professional softball teams. Stay tuned for more info.

More photos can be viewed here https://empirefastpitch.org/photos/

 

July 14, 2022 Empire Fastpitch hosts largest college softball prospect ID camp in NYC!

On July 14th newly formed youth softball organization Empire Fastpitch made a big splash in the world of women’s softball recruiting. Empire hosted a prospect ID camp in the heart of Brooklyn at its home fields located at Lenape Playground in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn. On this summer weekday over 65 potential college recruits showed up to show off in front of almost 20 college coaches from in and around the NY area. Some of the colleges and universities in attendance included Fordham University (DI), Long Island University (DI), Chestnut Hill College (DII), Mercy College (DII), Nyack University (DII), Baruch College (DIII), Manhattanville College (DIII), Saint Joseph’s University (DIII), Brooklyn College (DIII), Bryant & Stratton College (Virginia Beach, VA JUCO) and 9 other outstanding softball programs. Potential recruits ranged in age from 13 thru 18 all seeking to gain exposure and to standout to coaches looking to fill their coveted program roster spots for the next several seasons.

                Empire Fastpitch has seen a lack of recruiting opportunities for local female athletes and is looking to fill that gap in a big way. The organization has multiple teams that compete all year round at college showcases all throughout the east coast and since the first ALL CITY Prospect ID camp was such a resounding success the organization will be continuing it every year and even maybe twice a year.

                Over the last two years in existence Empire has steadily grown to become a place where top athletes play if they want to compete for college roster spots in the future. When speaking with co-founder Coach John Wren he stated, “We don’t compete for $2 trophies we compete for roster spots. We want to play the best competition in the country so we can evaluate where our players match up” Which is exactly what New York youth softball is missing.

                Empire Fastpitch’s coaches have more experience in coaching youth, HS & College athletes then any other organization in the area by far. Their staff is full of ex major league baseball players, ex college coaches, current and former HS softball coaches and life long dedicated travel coaches. All these coaches bring something unique to the table and provide a learning and growing environment for EVERY player in the organization.

Camp photo album can be viewed here https://empirefastpitch.org/photos/

Looking to play competitive softball? check out www.empirefastpitch.org and see what we have to offer!!!

 

Coach Frank Marinello inducted into CHSAA Hall of Fame

APRIL 7, 2022

     Congratulations to Empire Fastpitch 18U Head Coach Frank Marinello for his well deserved induction into the CHSAA Hall of Fame. Coach Marinello is a mainstay in Brooklyn girls softball as the Varsity Head Softball Coach for the Fontbonne Bonnies! 

     “First thank you is to my wife. She’s the true HOF inductee and to my daughters’ for their patience with me over the last 20 plus years or so.

     Thank you to all the young women that I have had the privilege to coach or coach against. Thank you to every coach that I have coached with and against. You guys educated me on every pitch. Thank you for those coaches who taught me how to run a program. Thank you for all the parents who trusted and still trust me with their daughters. It’s a privilege. Thank you to the many principals and many ADs who believed in my Vision here at Fontbonne Hall. For them, I am very grateful.
     Thank you to the Staten Island Panthers, Brooklyn Cyclones, the Dyker Heights Athletic Association, and
Brooklyn Empire Fastpitch. Most of all, I Thank the Good Lord who has presented me with the opportunities on and off the field.

See you guys on the Field…”

                                                                              –Head Coach Frank Marinello