By Bob Behre
Sometimes a student finds a college and sometimes a college finds a student.
In the case of Victoria Aspiazu, LIU Post serendipitously came knocking and she couldn’t wait to answer with a resounding “yes.”
Aspiazu, a member of the Finch’s Aces 18U softball program and currently a prodigious hitter for Morris Hills High School, has committed to Division 2 LIU Post.
The story of how Aspiazu and LIU Post found this match will make anyone believe in fate.
One school day in late November, LIU Post’s president Kimberly Cline visited Morris Hills and, specifically, Aspiazu’s Virtual Enterprise class. Cline provided some insight on the university she oversees.
“She talked about what LIU Post alumni are doing now and I was so impressed with the school and what their former students were achieving,” said Aspiazu, who shot out a quick email to Cline after the visit.
“She emailed me back in a couple hours and I started looking into the school more,” said Aspiazu. While president Cline had successfully attracted the interest of an excellent student, she surely had no idea the favor she was doing for her school’s softball program.
Aspiazu soon emailed LIU Post head coach Jamie Apicella and heard back quickly from assistant coach Carla Campagna. Two weeks later Aspiazu was standing on the LIU Post campus in Brookville, New York.
“I researched and saw how successful the softball program was,” said Aspiazu. “I met the coaches and they were really down to earth. They were very enthusiastic and inviting. They made me feel like I needed to be there. It was like fate.”
LIU Post was 24-14 on the season at press time and boasted a 13-3 record in the East Coast Conference. Aspiazu will be joining a program that is extremely stable from a coaching perspective. Apicella is in his 19th year with the Pioneers and the program’s staggering success over that period is reflected in his 710-281-2-career record.
Apicella and his staff are getting a real good one in Aspiazu, who is 16-for-32 (.500) this spring at Morris Hills, has scored 15 runs, ripped 6 home runs and driven in 18 runs. She bats second in the order and plays third base.
“I definitely have a different mindset at the plate this year than last year,” said Aspiazu, who, nonetheless, batted .432 as a junior when she struck out just once in 72 at bats. “I’m just focused on making solid contact every time.” That would explain the 6 home runs, a number already two more than last year’s total of 4 home runs.
Aspiazu has played virtually every position on the field in high school, including pitching and catching. That versatility clearly caught the LIU Post staff’s attention.
“I think they see me as a utility player, someone they can plug in where needed,” said Aspiazu. “They know I can play every position and I think they were sold on my bat.”
Aspiazu joined the Finch’s Aces this past fall and it has been a mutual admiration since for both parties.
“Tory is a great player and a spark plug for us,” says Jackie Spina, the Finch’s Aces’ Director of Softball Operations. “She’s a monster at the plate. On top of that she’s a great teammate and a fantastic kid.”
Aspiazu says she’s been very happy with the Aces. “It’s so different from my former team. With the Aces we know we are here to work, have fun, get it done and win. It’s a great atmosphere. We work hard with the goal of winning every game.”
Aspiaza has just six weeks or so left in her high school career before she switches gears to her last run this summer with the Aces and on to college ball.
“I’d like to leave my mark on my high school team,” she said. “I want to instill in them that anything is possible and they can create a winning culture.”
Aspiazu is already setting that example every day.