EAST PROVIDENCE — It didn’t start out as being the position of choice for the Allienello siblings, but playing catcher has become the main spot for the members of the city clan on the respective baseball and softball diamonds at East Providence High School.
The eldest of the trio, senior Lindsee, is finishing off her fourth season as the EPHS softball team’s top receiver. After splitting time behind the plate as a freshman, Lindsee has been an All-Division signal caller for the Townies for three springs, including this one.
Twins Michael and Brianna are closer to the beginning of their high school careers than their older sister.
Sophomores, Michael has gained a larger share of the catching chores as the spring has worn on for the resurgent EPHS baseball nine, while Brianna is likely biding her time in the outfield for the EPHS softball squad as she waits out her sister’s stay on the team. Brianna, however, more than makes up her time behind the plate during the summer where she is the mainstay at catcher for the local “Fire ‘n’ Ice” Under-16 travel club. Lindsee is the travel program’s catcher for its U-18 team.
Though now all well-established catchers, none of the Allienellos intended to be when they began their baseball/softball careers.
Chance, it seems, played as much a role in landing behind the plate as anything else. And the story behind their moves are quite similar.
Lindsee was first to don the so-called “tools of ignorance,” doing so on a lark when a Little League coached once asked if someone wanted to catch.
“During Little League I played a lot of third base and the outfield, but to be honest it was so boring I hated it,” Lindsee explained. “Then one day the coach asked if anyone wanted to catch and I said yes. I just instantly loved it and it just kind of stuck.”
Brianna, likewise, was a corner infielder at the start, but switched to receiver out of necessity during a travel league season a few years back.
“Coach Traverse asked me if I wanted to catch, I guess he figured because Lindsee was my sister,” Brianna said, referring to Rob Traverse, who doubles as both the EPHS varsity coach and director of the “Fire ‘n’ Ice” summer program. Each of the three siblings has also trained with EPHS head baseball coach and former Riverside Middle School softball coach Bobby Rodericks.
“We needed a back-up catcher, so I started working with my dad (Mike) in the backyard. It just kind of happened,” Brianna added. It should be noted mom, Susan, like dad, has been a supportive force for the three signal callers, too.
Also likely with a little influence from his older sister, young Mike started catching right around the same time as Lindsee and began his career behind the plate when a Little League coach wondered if someone wanted to play the position.
“It was a Minor League game and no one else wanted to catch, so I volunteered and I’ve pretty much been there ever since,” Mike recollected. “It was more fun. Instead of standing there in the outfield waiting for the ball to be hit to you, I had a chance to be in every play.”
Mike and Lindsee say the lure of being involved on every pitch and their leadership leanings seemingly made them naturals for the position. Brianna is more laid back than her brother and sister, but admits her demeanor becomes a bit more forceful between the white lines.
“I like that you can see everything going on and you can kind of take charge,” Lindsee explained for each. “I think all of our personalities change on the field. I know mine does. When I’m out there I’m not always nice, but everyone knows that I didn’t mean anything after the game. It’s just my competitiveness coming out.”
Added Mike, “Every play basically the team is relying on you. You’re like the captain of the field. You can control the pace of the game and sometimes you can control if you win or lose, to a point.” Lindsee quickly interjected for emphasis, “To a point.”
Each three-sport athletes, catching is likely to remain front and center for the Allienellos in the sporting futures.
Lindsee would like continue playing softball when she attends Endicott College in the fall, though she is also weighing an option to play volleyball. Brianna, as she has often done in the past, is likely to step into her sister’s spot on the EPHS volleyball and basketball teams leading up to next spring’s softball season. And Mike, who plays football and much like baseball happened into a position as a goalie on the EPHS hockey team in the winter, will surely see ample time again behind the plate for the Townies in the years ahead.