Del Cecchini-Centanni

The signs of Del Cecchini – Centanni’s athletic skills were apparent from an early age when she started playing softball at six years old at Bell Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side. She would go on to play with some of the top women’s teams of her day and establish herself as one of the top pitchers in women’s softball before moving to San Diego, California. Her playing allegiance with Bell Park continued into her early teens as she helped them to four city championships by the time she was thirteen. Her passion for softball intensified when she hit her late teens and started playing with Friar Tuck’s, the O.J.s, Yakzees, Fuller’s Pub, McSchnapps and other Northwest Side bars, sometimes driving from one side of Chicago to the other to compete in two or three games a day. On weekends, she often pitched in tournaments for McSchnapps, one of the legendary women’s team of that era. As a dominant pitcher who won 90%-plus of her games, Del Centanni had a pickoff move to second base that caught many runners by surprise. Being a left – handed pitcher who could throw a ball with an unrestricted arc, hitters were not used to the reverse spin and the tremendous amount of ground she could cover defensively. She and her catchers also worked closely to know the tendencies of most hitters. If a hitter did make it on base, she had a pick-off move to second base that embarrassed many base runners. A graduate of Notre Dame High School in Chicago where she played volleyball and basketball, she went on to graduate from George Williams College in Downers Grove, where she played volleyball and basketball. She married Lou Centanni who once played for the Pirates. They have three children – Maria, Louie, and Joey. All are college athletes who have received scholarships for baseball or 12″ softball. Del continues to coach 12″ travel softball and is currently working at Nativity Prep Academy in San Diego, California.