Team Italy softball slugger Erika Piancastelli was honored by McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana during a pregame opening ceremony on March 9, 2019 when her #16 Cowgirls jersey was officially retired and embedded on the outfield wall of Joe Miller Field. Erika Piancastelli, a two-time All-American and four-time Southland Conference Player and Hitter of the Year, was the most prolific player to ever wear a softball jersey and one of the best athletes McNeese has ever had in any sport. Erika Piancastelli set a total of 20 career and single-season records including runs scored, RBI, and home runs during her historic and illustrious four-year career.
Not only did Erika Piancastelli leave her numerous accolades in the university record books, but she was one of only three student-athletes to ever win Southland Conference Player of the Year four consecutive times in any sport. In her senior season alone, she broke four Southland Conference records and tied the McNeese single season 22 home run record, which she broke twice previously during her collegiate career.
Considered by many as the greatest athlete in the school's 81-year history, Erika Piancastelli led the Cowgirls softball team to the 2018 NCAA Regionals but they were cut short of advancing to the Super Regionals, the precursor to the Women's College World Series.
Graduating with a degree in Exercise Science from McNeese State University in 2018, Erika Piancastelli went on to play softball professionally after signing a contract with Scrap Yard Fast Pitch. Since then the Team Italy captain has led the Azzurre squad in the WBSC Women's Softball Championship in Japan, the Super 6 Tournament in the Netherlands and the Asia Pacific Cup in Australia.
Erika Piancastelli is preparing to reunite with Team Italy in Saronno for a four-day training camp from March 24-27, 2019 and an exhibition game against the Peruvian National Softball Team on March 28, 2019. Erika Piancastelli and Team Italy will not settle for less than #Tokyo2020 Olympic qualification. McNeese State University will be cheering on Erika Piancastelli and chanting #Forever16... Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti