Ronnie Matrisciano began his sixteen-inch softball career playing pickup games with his brother Robert and the neighborhood kids on the playground of Emmett Grammar School on the corner of Madison and Central on Chicago’s West Side. His father, Santino, played in the legendary Chicago/ Kedzie League, so his father and brother taught Ronnie all about the fundamentals of the game. In 1967, the Matrisciano family moved to Oak Park, IL where Ronnie attended Oak Park River Forest High School and became a pitcher on the varsity baseball team. He also played in the Oak Park men’s sixteen-inch softball league with a team called The Blue Max.
In his senior year at OPRF, Matrisciano threw the first of his four career no hitters and caught the eye of legendary baseball coach Bob Symonds of Triton College. He went on to play for Coach Symonds, and pitched on Triton’s 1973 Illinois State Championship Team.
After Triton, Matrisciano attended and played baseball at Aurora College, breaking several of the schools pitching records, some of which still stand today. His senior year, he was named All Conference and Most Valuable Player. He graduated from Aurora College earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Education. After his senior year, Ronnie signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants. They changed him from a starting pitcher to a relief pitcher because he had a great slider and above average fastball. One memorable moment occurred when he entered the game in the ninth inning against the Cubs. The Giants had a one-run lead with no outs and bases loaded. Matrisciano struck out Carmelo Martinez, Mel Hall, and Henry Cotto on nine pitches to preserve the win. He spent three seasons pitching for the San Francisco Giants.
After retiring from professional baseball, he returned to playing sixteen-inch softball for The Nocturnes, The Lords, The Whips, Paragon, The J-Byrds, Meadows, Molex, The Stooges, ICE, and Licorice. Matrisciano is a three-time ASA All American and has played on three ASA National Championship Teams and two USSSA World Championship Teams. He was named MVP of the 1991 Suburban Life Tournament, and was also a member of the 2000 Licorice team that won The Grant Park Tournament, The Forest Park Tournament and The ASA Major National Championship, an accomplishment known as the “Triple Crown” of sixteen-inch softball.
Matrisciano could hit from “line-to-line” as well and hit to the “gaps.” He had the power to change the score and the outcome of a game with one swing of the bat. He earned the reputation for being a consistent clutch two-out hitter who loved pressure situations and usually batted cleanup on most of the teams that he played on. He possessed a keen knowledge of the game and had great “baseball sense,” often serving as player coach on several of the teams he played on. Matrisciano was a fierce competitor, but always respected the game, his teammates and opponents and always played the game “the right way”.
Matrisciano continues to be a great ambassador for the game of sixteen-inch softball. For the past several years, he has been an Executive Board Member for the SSA and has served as the Umpire in Charge and Tournament Director for the SSA Class A and Major National Championships. Ronnie was also instrumental in bringing the game of sixteen-inch softball back to Las Vegas. Every October he proudly hosts the annual SSA of Las Vegas Get-A-Way Weekend Tournament that attracts sixteen-inch teams from coast to coast.
Ronnie was employed with the Illinois Department of Corrections for thirty years and retired in 2010. During that time, he served as the Warden of Joliet Prison, Deputy Director of Prisons and the Deputy Chief of Parole for the State of Illinois.
Ronnie and his wife Dottie reside in Pontiac, Illinois and also have a home in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has a son Michael and a stepdaughter Brandi.