Dear Mom: Mother’s Day reflections from Foothill League baseball and softball players, coaches

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Signal Sports asked local baseball and softball players and coaches to share their favorite memory of their mom in honor of Mother’s Day:


‘My favorite memory of my mom, Judy Maggiora, actually revolves around my first experience in baseball.

‘My mom was my first T-ball coach when I was 5 years old. All of the assistants were dads. But my mom ran the ship, made us sit on the bench in our batting order and every player got a stick of Trident bubble gum before the game.

‘We went undefeated that year and my mom taught me the importance of being an organized coach and how to be a leader.’

John Maggiora, Saugus baseball coach


‘First a stay-at-home mom and now a full time successful realtor, my mom, Christa, has given every task in life her all and taught me many lessons. She never misses a single one of my starts. She is one of the biggest reasons for the fight in me. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during her time at CSUN and managed to beat cancer as well as earn a degree.

‘When I was asked to visit schools, she would always want to be there. On trips where my dad couldn’t make it due to work, she was always excited to take me. She asked many questions to make sure each school was in my best interest. She was by my side at UCLA and she fell in love with it just as fast as I did. My mom has always been my number one fan, and I couldn’t ask for a better role model.’

Chase Farrell, Valencia High pitcher


‘My absolute favorite memory with my mom, Misty, would be the road trips we have taken together. When I was 14 we drove to Colorado and the car ride was full of smiles and laughs.

‘My mom and I have a great relationship and I’m beyond thankful for her.

‘When I was younger my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer so I’m glad she is still here to share some laughs and smiles with me every day.’

Cassidy FitzGerald, Saugus High catcher


‘My favorite memories of my mom, Anita, are the life lessons she’s taught me by stepping up and doing things to make my life better even when she didn’t have to.

‘I learned a lot from the examples she set about raising kids and how sometimes we have to do the hard things even when we know it’s not the easiest of things.’

— Steve Lombardi, Golden Valley baseball coach


‘My favorite memory of my mom Carrie and I, is when I was 10 and she took me on a trip to her college Wichita State. We went out there for her alumni game and it was great to finally see her play. I had a few laughs during the game since she was a little rusty from not having played in a while, but it was an amazing experience.

‘I had a great time with my mom on this trip. It was amazing to finally see where she went to college and to actually meet some of her college teammates. This was a great trip and I wouldn’t change it for the world!’

— Shea O’Leary, Valencia High pitcher


Our mom Maureen Burrill is one of the reasons we both went into teaching and coaching. She was a junior high school science teacher and collected several teacher of the year honors. We still hear from her ex-students and how much of a positive impact she had on them.

We remember many a time looking at rocks, inspecting insects, looking at star constellations, and observing wildlife. Her passion for her subject drives us both.

We coach because we have her desire to give back.  She gave so much to us.  Like most moms, her countless teaching moments put us in a position to succeed. She passed 11 years ago.  Our sister, Mitzi Mandel, teaches at Rio Norte.

— Casey and Brady Burrill, West Ranch baseball coaches


My mom, Joyce Ozella, turned 96 years old this past December and my memories of my mom and her efforts to raise me into a quality person are still fresh in my mind even today. Her impact on my baseball life still resonates on my character every day of my life.

I was born into a single income family and my father would head to work every day with the family automobile, and my mom never learned to drive.  So, my mom and I would travel across the city together on the city bus for practices at the various fields as I played youth baseball.  Mom would always attend my games, and often times would ask friends to drop her off at the field.

My father would pitch batting practice to me at the local park, and my mom would shag the balls I hit all over the field and throw them into a pile that we would collect every half hour. I can still visualize in my mind her efforts to see her son be successful, and I am greatly appreciative of her dedication and sacrifice.

— Jim Ozella, Hart High baseball coach


‘My favorite memory of my mother, Debbie, was the day I had my twins. It was a long and difficult day in the hospital. My mom was by my side to comfort me until my husband arrived.

‘The look on her face and her reassurance made me realize everything was going to be OK. I was overwhelmed and nervous to become a mom, but I knew the example my mother set would give me the guidance to be a great mom.

‘Now that I am a mom, I understand and appreciate what it takes to be one. As my twin toddlers lay in bed, I am exhausted from the day, and appreciate everything my own mother did for me growing up. She never showed how exhausted or selfless she was. Always smiling and putting myself and my brother before her own needs. I can only hope that I am half of the mother that she is to me.

‘When I think of my mother, I think about her always being there for me. Whether it was school, softball, friends, or life challenges, my mom is always my biggest supporter. She spent countless hours driving me to games,  cheering me on, encouraging me and motivating me to be my best. She is my best friend and the person who I can always count on to be there for me.

‘I love you, Mom!’

— Julie Archer, Saugus softball coach


One of my favorite memories of my mom, Tina, is when we visited Liberty University in Virginia last Fall. We had a blast exploring the campus, cheering on the football team and attending the softball camp. All of these activities were fun but what had the biggest impact on me was seeing how much my mom not only cares for me, but also how much she cares for others. On the flight to Virginia an announcement came over the loudspeaker, “any health care workers please report to the back of the plane immediately.”

‘My mom is a nurse and she jumped up to help. I was able to observe her taking vital signs and comforting the passenger. On the way home, I was disappointed because we were split up. I was sitting diagonally from her and could hear her talking to the elderly man next to her. He seemed sad but willing to answer questions my mom asked him. In time he was eagerly sharing stories of his family, and career.

‘He told my Mom that his wife of 50 years passed away 6 months prior and it was the first time he had ventured out. She asked if he had a photo. He pulled out an 8×10 of them from his briefcase. They both got choked up and I have to admit I was holding back tears, too.

‘We helped him catch his connecting flight and he sent a thank you email a couple of weeks later. I realized that trip how loving my mom is not only to me, but also to others. I learned how to care for others by her example and that is a memory I will never forget.’

— Jenna Rorick, West Ranch pitcher

‘My mothers name was Mary. The reason I say ‘was’ is because she passed away in 1976. I was her baby and the last of seven kids. I was 9 years younger than my closest sibling who was my one and only sister. Since I was so much younger than the others my mom always, always showered me with love! I really don’t have a special moment since every moment with her was incredible, each moment being better than the last. My mother loved me with all her heart and each day she is gone I think of her and her love for me. On a side note my daughter Jaisa shares the same birthday, which is March 22. I always believe that’s how my mom is watching out for me by having my daughter born on that date.

Jay Creps, West Ranch softball coach

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