Virginia Glory Fastpitch Organization:
Name: Kaylie Avvisato
Hometown: Leesburg, VA
High School: Riverside High School, VA
Travel Team: VA Glory-Willemssen 18U
Coaches: Suzy Willemssen and Kevin Bednoski
Positions: SS, 2B, P
Intended Major: Engineering
Overhand Velocity: 68
Exit Velocity off Tee: 76
Home to First/20 yrd: 2.8
Player Profile Link: Kaylie Avvisato | SportsRecruits
How did you begin your softball journey?
I feel like I began my softball journey before I was born. My mom was a Shortstop and played Division 1 softball at Miami University of Ohio and my dad was a pitcher and played Division 1 baseball for George Washington University. So, I had it in my blood from the day I was born. I started playing baseball with my brother in the yard when I was 3 and joined my first softball/tee ball team when I was 4.
3 year old Kaylie throwing on the run, rocking the pink glasses
Kaylie at 5 years old getting ready to hit a bomb
If you don’t mind, would you please share your challenges and painful experiences and how it shaped who you are today?
November 24, 2021 was the worst day of my life. My dad lost his 2 year battle to throat cancer and passed away. Watching him suffer over the last 2 years is painful for me to think about. He was in so much pain and lost over 100 lbs. The hardest thing was when they took his voice box because the cancer had spread. He couldn’t talk to us anymore and we had a hard time communicating with each other. My dad is my hero and I adored him. He was the best dad anyone could ever ask for. He always pushed me to work hard and be my best. He was my biggest cheerleader and made me laugh all the time. Channeling my grief and continuing to work hard and chase my dream of playing softball in college is something my dad would want me to do. The pain is deep and I miss him so much, but I feel him with me every day still pushing me to be the best I can be in everything I do. I am motivated to work hard and not let him down. I always want my mom and dad to be proud of me so I will always give 110% in everything I do. I don’t know any other way.
Kaylie with her dad and mom at 10U PGF Nationals
We are all products of our life experiences, and you have very impressive achievements and accomplishments. Please tell us about some of your greatest achievements.
USA All American Northeast 10U- Defensive MVP
Riverside HS Varsity Basketball Team MVP- Freshman and Sophomore years
Riverside HS Varsity Softball Team MVP- Freshman year
2nd Team All Region- Varsity Basketball- Freshman Year
1st Team All Region- Varsity Basketball- Sophomore Year
1st Team All Region- Varsity Softball Freshman & Sophomore Year
Extra Innings 2024 Ranked 9th overall and 5th as a MIF in the Country
Legacy and Legends Softball 2024 Ranked 5th overall in the Country
Extra Innings All Summer Team- 2020 and 2021
2021-2022- All NOVA Sophomore Girls Basketball Team
USA Softball High Performance Program-2020, 2021, 2022
How do you practice time and life management?
I learned how to manage my time at a very young age. Being a multi-sport athlete that had multiple practices a night and several games on the weekend, I needed to figure out quickly how to get all my school work done in order to play. Getting good grades and spending time with my friends outside of my sports teams are important to me. When I was younger, I would come home right after school and do my school work before practice. In HS, I try to get my work done during study hall or when I get home from practice. I try to work ahead and not get behind on anything and that usually allows me more time to spend with my friends.
How is it that you can be an elite 2-sport athlete to the point that you’re being recruited for both D1 softball and basketball?
I think some of it is my athletic genes but most of it is the amount of work I put in practicing that makes me elite. I believe that it is the work you put in outside of your team practices that is going to set you apart from everyone else. I have always had a strong work ethic and some incredible coaches and trainers and I think my hard work is finally starting to pay off.
Kaylie wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness and driving to the hoop against one of their rivals
Not only are you a phenomenal fielder, you are a gifted and feared hitter. What do we need to know about your hitting? Offensive stats and accomplishments?
I love to hit! It's my favorite part of the game. I am constantly working on my swing to make it better. I have been very lucky to have incredible trainers like Suzy Willemssen, Kevin Bednoski and Rob Crews with Complete Game. They have completely changed my swing. I work hard to make sure I can hit the ball in all areas of the strike zone. I also work on hitting all types of balls, grounders, line drives, home runs and to all different areas of the field. I want to be ready for whatever my team needs me to do depending on the situation. I currently have 60 over the fence home runs and my goal is to have over 100 by the time I graduate from HS.
Kaylie and Coach Kevin Bednoski, her high school and travel coach
“Kaylie is a special talent with a special soul! Don’t let the big smile and quiet demeanor fool you though because once she crosses the lines, Kaylie is in full beast mode. Her ability speaks for itself. She is a 5-tool player with off the charts softball IQ and instincts. She is adored by her teammates, and it is an honor and blessing to coach her.”
-- Coach Kevin Bednoski (Riverside HS Varsity Softball Coach)
What do you do mentally before taking the field or approaching the batters box?
First, I approach the batter's box with confidence each time. In my head, I always believe I am going to win the battle between me and the pitcher. I try to blank everything out of my head and not think too much and just stay relaxed, that is when I have been most successful. On the on deck circle, I look to see where the runners are and figure out what my team needs from me. Does my team need a single, double, bunt, sac-fly, walk or a HR. I look where the runners are to see what side of the field I need to hit it to. I always know the score so I understand what the situation is. It's also on my mind to swing at good pitches. Quality at bats are important.
What is your greatest strength?
I think my greatest strength is that I am humble and I don’t think I am better than anyone else and that makes me work harder. I also think another strength of mine is that I am extremely competitive. Whether it is softball, basketball or soccer, I am the type of player that you want to give the ball to when the game is on the line. And I want the ball when the game is on the line.
Kaylie getting her arm in-slot for a slow roller up the middle
Why should coaches recruit you?
I am a great team player and I am always willing to do what’s best for the team first. I have good character and a strong work ethic. I bring energy and have a passion for the game and I am driven and determined to be the best. I was born into the game so my softball IQ is very high. Academics are important to me so I work hard to get good grades. Also, I am really competitive when I am on the field so I play fearlessly because I don’t like to lose.
How would your teammates describe you?
Humble, leader, strong work ethic, athletic.
Pumping up her pitcher after a good pitch at a tournament in Illinois
What is your definition of leadership?
Having a team first mentality. Being encouraging and respectful to my teammates and coaches, putting in the extra work and encouraging my teammates to do the same, being a good communicator on the field and in the dugout, volunteering my time back to the community, being happy for my teammates when they make a good play or get a nice hit, being energetic in practices and games.
What are your softball goals and dreams?
My dream is to play at a power 5 conference college and be an immediate positive impact to the team as a player and person. I have many short and long term goals but the biggest one is to continue to get better and be the best I can be in everything that I do.
Photo shoot picture taken by the Washington Post
What are you doing to achieve your dreams?
I am working out every day with the best coaches and trainers around. I am on one of the best travel teams in the country and our coach has us in the best tournaments playing against the best players in the country. I am also working hard in school and getting good grades.
Who is your greatest influence or role model and why?
Coach Suzy Willemssen is my greatest influencer and role model. I have been playing for Coach Suzy since age 7. She has taught me so much as a player but more importantly how to be a great person. When you play for Coach Suzy, you know that having good character, being a great teammate and having a servant's heart is more important to her than winning. She finds the positive in everything. Even when we lose, she finds something positive and talks about that. This is the atmosphere that I have played in most of my life and she has proven that if you have all these things, the wins will happen naturally. She created a culture that allowed me to play fearlessly and not be afraid to make mistakes. Coach Suzy has spent thousands of hours outside of practice working with me on my skills. She always finds time to work out with me even if her schedule is crazy busy. She demands us to have strong work ethics and to be driven and disciplined. She holds us accountable and expects us to hold each other accountable. Coach Suzy is funny too. One of my favorite things she does is change her voice to either country or British or some crazy accent when we go through drive thrus on our road trips. But most of all she genuinely loves us and we feel it. Coach Suzy has been there for me and my family through my hardest times and I know she will always be there for me. I look up to her and along with my parents, she is my greatest influence on the player and person I am today.
Coach Suzy Willemssen and Kaylie in Florida; her coach since age 7
“Kaylie, where to begin. The very first time I saw her play you could tell she was going to be something special. God blessed her with some natural gifts but it's been her work ethic, drive to be her best and her love to compete that has made her the incredible ball player that she is today--she lights up the field with her play. However the greatest thing about Kaylie is who she is as a person. The way she treats others--kindness, caring and she is a fabulous teammate. Her smile and giggle lights up a room. A tremendous leader by example. We talk about having a warrior spirit with a servant's heart. Kaylie is that and more. She faced her heartbreaking challenges with grit, determination while helping others become their best. It's been such an honor and joy to be a part of her journey. It's going to be so much fun to see the heights she will soar to on and off the field as her life unfolds. Go Kaylie Go!”
--- Coach Suzy Willemssen, VA Glory
If you could spend a day with any softball player or coach (past or present) who would it be and why?
I was fortunate a couple months ago to spend the day and work out with my favorite player, Sis Bates and one of my favorite coaches, Heather Tarr. I have watched Sis Bates throughout her college career and I loved the way she played. I loved her energy and the plays she made were incredible. I always wanted to be like her as a shortstop and then I got the chance to meet her and work out with her. It was the best day and she was the nicest, most genuine person I have ever met. And I have so much respect for Heather Tarr. Meeting her and learning from her was such an honor. She is such an incredible coach with a lot of energy and has so much knowledge for the game. I had such a great connection with her. She ripped tennis balls at me and made me laugh.
Describe your ideal softball team.
My ideal softball team is when all the players on the team have a Team first mentality instead of a Me first mentality and we all have the same type of goals. A team that holds each other accountable and pushes each other to be our best on and off the field. A team that likes to work hard, compete, laugh and have fun. A team that wants to win, give it their all, and play for each other every time they step on the field.
Greatest softball memory?
I have so many great memories that it's really hard to choose just one, but one memory will always stand out for me. Last summer, 2021 when we played in the Colorado Sparkler. It was the best tournament of my career. I hit over .600 and I was named Player of the Week. But what made it the best week for me was that my Dad was there. We got to spend an amazing week together with my whole family. I know he wasn’t feeling well, but he came to every game and he was right behind the backstop for every game. He would always smile at me and give me the thumbs up while I was out on the field and always gave me a hug after every game. This was the last time he ever saw me play and I will never forget that trip.
Leadoff homerun in the Colorado Sparkler last summer
Who would you like to recognize and thank for helping you along your stellar journey?
There are so many incredible people that have helped me on my journey. First I would like to thank God. I am grounded in my Catholic faith, and it is the foundation to which I live my life every day.
Secondly, I would like to thank my mom, dad and brother, Anthony, I don’t know where I would be without them. Both my parents are always so positive and encouraging to me. My dad was my catcher for all my countless hours of my pitching lessons and practices. My brother Anthony is 4 years older than me and I look up to him so much. I always wanted to be like him and I followed him everywhere. He was an awesome baseball player and I always tried to be as good as him. He made me better in all my sports. My mom is my rock. She has been my coach since day one. She is my practice partner outside of practice and I can’t tell you how many thousands and thousands of hours we have spent together training. She drives me everywhere and I love her so much. She is my best friend.
My Aunt Kristy, who was a Hall of Fame pitcher at Miami University of Ohio, taught me how to pitch and has been a constant support throughout my career.
There are so many coaches that I am incredibly thankful for. Coach Suzy and Coach Kevin, and my Travel Coaches. Coach Kevin Bednoski is my HS coach and my travel coach along with Coach Suzy. I admire and respect him so much. He has spent hundreds of hours training with me and he has made me a better player. He has brought my game to a whole other level in all aspects of the game. Everytime he works with me on fielding, he challenges me with hitting balls that I never thought I could get to. He has brought my confidence in myself and the game to a whole other level. My other awesome coaches that I am so grateful to and have helped make me become the player I am today are Coach Dan Raben (Soccer Coach), Coach Sara Wetmore and Coach Mike Demonte (Basketball Coaches), Denny Tincher (Pitching Instructor), Rob Crews (Complete Game Hitting), Annie Hromada (Strength and Agility Trainer)
Kaylie with her brother Anthony during a game break in California
What are they saying about Kaylie?
“Kaylie is acutely focused to be the best at everything that she does and to make everyone around her better. She is the ultimate team player. But I must say what makes her stand out is the ability to take feedback and incorporate it into her training and performance. This with her natural athletic ability is why she is one of the most talented athletes I have ever coached in my 30 years of experience.”
-- Coach Mike Demonte (Riverside HS Varsity Basketball)
“Kaylie Avvisato is one of the finest young adults I have ever met. She is wise beyond her years; some would even say an “old soul”. The words that leap to mind when describing Kaylie are kind, humble, natural leader, team player, dedicated, hard-working, unselfish and peerless superstar. These words do little justice to that exquisite tapestry of Kaylie the person. She excelled in my honors Earth Science course through the challenges of distance learning, she was unfailingly dependable in meeting all deadlines and was comfortable working independently to gain insights through critical thinking and contemplation. The depth and integrity of this young woman serve to inspire and motivate those around her and put me at the top of that list! In the heart and soul of this fierce competitor lies a noble kindness and compassion where she puts others above self. No wonder her teammates will follow her anywhere. And they do. The resilience and fortitude she demonstrated last November after the loss of her father to cancer defy my comprehension. How could one so young, relatively speaking, handle adversity with such grace and maturity? I have never seen a student like Kaylie before and I doubt I ever will again.”
-- Larry Wharton (Riverside HS Earth Science, New Teacher Lead Mentor and Riverside 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year)
“Kaylie is a standout athlete who puts her heart and soul into every play from the opening pitch to the final whistle. Her leadership is demonstrated on and off the field and in all aspects of her life… from academics to athletics!”
-- Coach Sarah Wetmore (Riverside HS Varsity Basketball Coach)
What is one thing people may not know about you?
One other thing that I don’t think people know about me is that I also played soccer from age 3-13. I loved soccer and played competitively on a high-level travel soccer team for 7 years. At one point I was on the #1 travel soccer team, #1 travel basketball team and #1 travel softball team in the State of Virginia.
I got to travel all over the country for all 3 sports and I created so many great memories with so many great people and coaches. Being a multi-sport athlete and playing on 3 high level travel teams did come with its challenges. 2 practices a night every night of the week was difficult some nights. I had to learn really early how to manage my time and balance schoolwork and sports. And it wasn’t easy. Often on the weekends I would have 9 games between all 3 sports and my parents ran me back and forth to try and make it to as many games as possible.
Eventually it got really hard for me to choose which team I would play for on the weekends and which games I would miss. Although I had the most supportive and best coaches in the world, I knew that missing a game would negatively impact my team and I felt really bad about that. So, I decided to drop soccer first on the 8th which was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make because I loved it so much. Then in 9th grade I stopped playing travel basketball and focused solely on travel softball.
12 years old Kaylie - travel soccer championship game getting ready to score a goal
Additional Information About Kaylie:
Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite Movie: Rudy
Favorite Sports Movie: Sandlot
Favorite Vacation Spot: Caribbean
Favorite Singer/Band: Morgan Wallen
Walk up Song: America’s Sweetheart by Elle King
Favorite Book: Relentless by Tim S. Grover
Favorite TV Show: Fuller House
Favorite Sports Team: Steelers
Favorite Pro Athlete: Sis Bates
Hobbies/Interests: Basketball and Soccer and I love hanging out with my friends
Named “Miss Virginia” and the dirtiest player by the college coaches at the Pro Swings camp in Florida