BRISTOL - Alessandra Milardo, Sarah Miller and Brittany Kenworthy each spent time as one of the St. Paul softball team’s star players, but none had ever played on the same team.
That is until June 23, when the three of them each donned the same uniform as members of Canton’s club of the fast-pitch Connecticut Women’s Softball League.
“It’s so cool because we had the same experiences and coaches in high school,” Kenworthy said. “But never having been together on the same team, it’s interesting to kind of share that same experience now. It’s like three generations coming together.”
Kenworthy (a married 2007 graduate whose maiden name was Soucy) and Miller (Class of 2011) have been playing in the league for years, Soucy since 2008 playing for various teams and Miller for a few seasons on the Rocky Hill club.
Kenworthy joined Canton two years ago due to familiarity with Charlie Batan, the Canton High School softball team’s longtime head coach who spent a few years as the Canton summer league head coach.
This summer, Miller was looking for a new team to play on and Milardo (Class of 2017), the only active college player of the three, was searching for a league to hone her skills before heading back to the University of St. Joseph’s this fall. When Kenworthy and her father, Blair Soucy, informed her of the available spot on Canton’s roster, Milardo soon joined to become the last leg of a former Falcon trio.
Kenworthy was familiar with both Miller and Milardo, having heard her father, a St. Paul softball assistant coach, tell her how good they had been for the Falcons.
“It’s like I knew them before I knew them,” Kenworthy said. “Sange is an amazing pitcher, and she’s such a sweet person. She’s really nice. Same thing with Sarah. She was hitting up a storm the other day, and she’s obviously got great defensive skills. They’re just both really good players and great additions to the team.”
Each of them had their time in the spotlight for St. Paul, but last month they shared it. Despite losing both games of a doubleheader to the Mirage Women, 7-5 and 7-3, another special moment came in the form of Canton’s coaching staff that day.
Soucy and Ron Miller, Sarah’s father, each stepped in as volunteer coaches at first and third base, respectively, out of necessity, bringing together a host of former St. Paul players and assistant coaches on one field.
“I loved that. I thought that was one of the coolest things, because my dad’s been coaching me since I was young, so I’ve always loved having him be a coach for me,” Kenworthy said. “And the fact that, as a daughter, to see Sarah and her dad kind of looking at me and my dad and the special relationship there was cool. It was kind of like a coming together of all the generations.”
Soucy was also humbled by the experience.
“Our daughters are mid-to-upper 20s, so the fact that we can still spend time with them in a game they grew up in and we, as parents, grew up in with them, was great,” Soucy said. “To still be able to coach and participate with them, how can you beat that?”
Soucy was a head coach in the women’s league from 2009-2016, which included forming a team based out of Terryville and moving the team to Bristol, which disbanded in 2016.
The league - which Kenworthy labeled “the best-kept secret in Connecticut for women’s softball” - was formed in 2008, becoming the home to players aged 17 to 30 years, who wanted to either keep their skill level up or continue a playing career that had ended upon college graduation. The league has changed its rules, however, to include anyone past 30 years old who still wished to play fast-pitch games.
It’s a league that has seen “some phenomenal talent” come through, says Soucy, including Division I players from schools such as Boston University.
What has been missing from the league, though, has been interest from St. Paul players. Soucy is hopeful that a team exclusively made of former Falcons will one day be in the league, and perhaps Kenworthy, Miller and Milardo being summer teammates could kick-start a team like that being formed.
“If we had more interest from alumni and former players, we’d probably form our own team and be based back at St. Paul for a summer,” said Soucy, whose disbanded Bristol team played its games on the St. Paul softball field. “To me, that would be the ultimate [goal]. All these former players being all on the team together, spanning 12 years of players, I just think that’d be the coolest thing.”