It felt like home away from home for Elisa Princic when she and Team Italy U19 women's softball squad captain Alessandra Rotondo threw out the first pitch on Italian Heritage Night at Petco Park in San Diego on August 9, 2019. Earlier that memorable day, Elisa Princic and the Azzurre softball team participated in a workout at San Diego State University and an impromptu hitting clinic on the beach with MLB veteran Lenny Randle. The love for Team Italy continued in the afternoon when Convivio Society and Amici House hosted a lunch in their honor in downtown San Diego's Little Italy. America's favorite city had made a lasting impression on Elisa Princic. She knew in her heart that San Diego would play a part in her softball career. In fact, the University of San Diego is now the new home for 19-year-old Elisa Princic.
Her love affair with the United States began when she was an exchange student athlete at Rossville High School in Rossville, Kansas during the 2017-2018 academic year. In addition to becoming fluent in the English language, Elisa Princic gained confidence abroad playing for the Bulldogs. Ranking fifth in the state, Rossville High School went 14-3. Elisa Princic hit .393 with 22 RBI and 19 runs scored. The catcher and utility player returned home in time to help Team Italy win the U19 Women's European Softball Championship in Staranzano, Italy. She started in all eleven games and registered a .259 batting average with two doubles, one home run, 15 RBI, and nine runs scored. Just two days later in the U22 Women's European Softball Championship in Trnava, Slovakia, Elisa Princic performed her magic to lead Team Italy to another Euro championship title by hitting .409 with one double, two triples, one home run, five RBI, and six runs scored.
Team Italy softball manager Enrico Obletter summoned Elisa Princic for another trip to America in August 2019 to play in U19 Women's Softball World Cup in Irvine, California. She was the fifth-best hitter for Team Italy with a .286 batting average and three extra-base hits. Overlooked by scouts, the underrated Elisa Princic was determined to be seen as a viable college prospect. She participated in two subsequent showcases in Orange County, California and another one in Las Vegas, Nevada with hopes of being recognized as a true talent by a college recruiter. The hard work paid off for Elisa Princic as the University of San Diego (USD) reached out and offered her the opportunity to join the Toreros softball squad.
Elisa Princic will now be under the guidance of U.S. national champion and 2019 NAIA National Coach of the Year Jessica Pistole, who was named the fifth head coach in USD softball history in July 2019. Prior to joining the Toreros, Jessica Pistole spent five seasons as the head coach of NAIA national champion Southern Oregon University. She became the winningest coach in Southern Oregon history and led the Raiders to the NAIA World Series in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
It will be a celebratory homecoming for Elisa Princic in San Diego with its vibrant Italian community and the city's strong ties to the Motherland. The fast-rising Italian softball star will be competing for the backup position behind Senior Torero catcher Madison Casiano. The USD softball squad begins its 2020 season in the Stacey Winsberg Memorial Tournament in Los Angeles with a contest against Cal State University Bakersfield on February 7, 2020. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti