Calumet’s Giachino playing in Italy softball tourney
CALUMET — When Laura Giachino found out she would be representing the United States on the softball field this summer in Italy, she was stunned.
That was last fall – the first semester of her senior year at Calumet High School.
“I was shocked when I saw that I made the roster, but at the same time proud of myself because it took a lot of hard work and dedication,” she said.
She was selected through a program called American International Sports Team. This national sport’s organization is hosting two USA teams made up of high school girls or recent graduates to play softball this month against several Italian teams. These include games in Lucca and Bologna Italy in the middle of next week.
Their tour will ultimately end at an international tournament in Milan, Italy this weekend. The international competition is being livestreamed on the Legnano Softball Facebook page.
While Giachino was a three-sport student athlete at Calumet playing volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter, she said when push comes to shove, softball would be a favorite.
“There is nothing that compares to a softball game. I love the feeling you get when playing outside whether it’s playing in 80 degrees, or just below freezing,” she said. “I love the sounds of the game hearing the dugouts cheering and the sound of the ball cracking off the bat. I also love the position I play in the game. As a catcher, I get to watch the whole game in front of me while playing. It became my favorite sport when I used to play catch with dad when I was little.”
Giachino was a WestPAC Second Team All-Conference selection in the spring and is most deserving of a spot on the AIST trip stated Calumet High School softball coach Joel Rastello. He was recommended Giachino to the US team.
“I’m proud of her,” he said. “Laura has been very much into softball since she was around 10, and I know she has the ability to compete at a high level. Not only does she swing a big bat, but she is very good behind the plate as catcher.”
Equally proud are Laura’s parents Jon and Leigh Giachino.
Leigh Giachino said Laura spent much of her infancy and toddler years in body casts and leg braces due to a severe case of hip dysplasia and was told by doctors she could be plagued by mobility and hip problems the rest of her life.
“True to form, Laura has continued to prove the doctors wrong,” Leigh Giachino said. “She has always been the little spitfire in our house. I think what she endured as a young child attributed to her success as an athlete. Nothing has ever come easy. She has had to work twice as hard as the next kid.
“To us, Laura’s story has not been so much about being that ‘star’ athlete but more about being that person that knows what they love to do and does not let any roadblocks stop her from doing it,” Leigh Giachino added. “When it gets hard, she works harder.”
Jon Giachino said the family is excited for Laura’s opportunity.
“We are super excited for Laura,” he said. “There is something to be said about an 18-year-old being able to travel to Europe and play the game she loves. That is very special.”
While Giachino had thought of playing softball at the collegiate level, she’s attending Lansing Community College to study kinesiology with the hope of a career in sports medicine one day.
“I don’t think there’s any place better to “hang up the cleats” then in Italy,” Leigh Giachino said. “It has been an incredible journey for us as her parents to watch her grow and become the athlete she is, we are so proud of her and all she has done. Jon, myself and Laura’s younger sister, Cristina, will be tagging along with the team in Italy and cheering them on. Certainly, this trip brings a whole new meaning to ‘travel softball.'”