Meet the team

emily johnson

Head Instructor

Emily is the Backstop's founder and fearless leader! She aims to develop confidence and grit in her lessons and players (feel bad A$$, play bad A$$) in hopes of elevating the game of Softball in New England. Emily has played softball her whole life and finished her collegiate career in 2013 earning RIC Softballs MVP award. Not only was she a pitcher in college, but she also was a leader in the Anchorwomen's lineup making the Little East Conference team as a DH her freshman year. Since college, Emily has been coaching travel softball for the Waves for 6 seasons. In addition to travel ball, she has coached high school teams in both assistance coach and pitching coach roles. Emily has given private hitting and pitching lessons for nearly a decade and has seen the sport evolve over the years. She brings innovative drills and techniques to her lessons that allow players at any level to achieve success. Her focus is on players grasping the concepts and truly understanding the "how" and "why" of player movements. Her degree in Elementary Education allows her to differentiate lessons and cater each lesson to that specific player.

Emily is the Backstop's primary instructor for pitching and hitting lessons.

Favorite color: Yellow 

Favorite food: Mexican (tacos are amazing!) and Seafood 

Favorite Quote: "I never lose, I either WIN or I LEARN." 

Haley Ledbetter

Hitting, Fielding & Catching Instructor

Meet the newest addition to the team HALEY! Haley spent the last four years at Roger Williams University where she was a four year starting shortstop. During her time at Roger Williams she made her name known by receiving All CCC third team award both her freshman and sophomore years as well as All CCC second team her junior and senior years. Throughout her four years at RWU, Haley was awarded the Sharon Castelli Award competing against all female athletes that attended RWU. This award recognizes a female student athlete that is dedicated both on and off the field, is a natural leader, and works hard both in the classroom and on the field!

This Westerly native is hoping to bring her spunky personality into the backstop softball community and help elevate the skill and mindset of the next generation of softball loving youth! She hopes to show girls how to be fearless on the field and in the batter's box.

Favorite Color: RED

Favorite Food: Chicken Parm ( "you say chicken parm and ill come running...")

Favorite Quote: “I put the blinders on and just work as hard as I can and hopefully ill just continue to be a better player”
– Dustin Pedroia

Erin Bellucci

Pitching & Hitting Instructor

An experienced coach, instructor and a former all-conference pitcher, Erin (Fuoroli) Bellucci is joining the staff at The Backstop this winter.


Fuoroli, who played four seasons for regional power Keene State College before graduating in 2007, went 36-13 in the circle with a 1.78 earned run average, earning Little East Conference (LEC) all-conference honors as a junior and senior. While also appearing in the outfield, Fuoroli pushed the Owls to a 117-43 record in her career with NCAA Tournament appearances during her sophomore and senior seasons. She served as a captain as a senior.

Fuoroli has been a pitching instructor since 2003 and has coached at the college level since  2007. The former hurler was an assistant coach at her alma mater in fall 2007, instructed at winter clinics at Keene State from 2003-07 and worked camps at the University of Massachusetts for three years.
She was a pitching coach at Wheaton College for 3 years, Associate Head Coach at Rhode Island College for 2 and was most recently a pitching coach at Johnson and Wales University before having her son last December.

 

Fuoroli earned a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) All-America honor in 2007. During the summers of 2006 and 2007, Fuoroli competed for USA Athletes International for softball series in Peru and Holland, respectively. The cum laude graduate earned a general science degree from Keene State with a certification in secondary education, received her Masters in School Counseling in 2015 and currently teaches at Wamsutta Middle School in Attleboro. She resides in Warwick, RI with her husband Michael and two children Scarlett (3) and Sawyer (1).

Favorite Color: Red

Favorite Food: Thai Food 

Favorite Quote: "There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you." - Unknown

Courtney Sheridan

Pitching Instructor

Courtney is another collegiate player on The Backstop's staff. After playing two years at Toll Gate High School, Courtney took the field for the Lady Knights at CCRI. In her first season she pitched 129 innings and broke the records for most strikeouts in a single season (148) and most strikeouts in one game (16). Along with winning the Regional Championship, she also earned All-Region Honors and MVP for the 2016 season. At the completion of the season, her pitching statistics ranked her 18th in the NJCAA. In her second year at CCRI, she broke the record for most strikeouts in a career (220) and was awarded as the Distinguished Female Athlete of the Year by the RIAIAW.

Favorite Color: Blue

Favorite Food: Chicken Nuggets

Favorite Quote: "The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today." -Unknown

MANDI CHAIYABHAT

Pitching Instructor

Mandi has over 20 years of coaching experience and is a former assistant coach at Brown University (NCAA DI) and Hood College (NCAA DIII). She served four seasons as the top assistant at Hood College, helping the Blazers make their first-ever appearances in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in 2006 and 2007. She held responsibilities with the Blazer’s pitchers and outfielders. She has also acted as an instructor at the Georgetown University Softball summer camps, Before entering the collegiate coaching ranks, Mandi was the co-founder/President of both WM Fastpitch Camps & Clinics, LLC and the Maryland Xplosion Softball Program.  She also coached softball at both Gaithersburg (MD) and Crystal Lake (IL) South High Schools. Mandi spent 15 years as a physical education and health teacher. She offers her students a unique teaching perspective, bringing her expertise as a former K-12 educator to her instructional approach.  She also served as an athletic trainer at Illinois Wesleyan University (NCAA DIII) and at Illinois State University (NCAA DI). 

 

Mandi's playing days include being selected as a two-time Team MVP, Illinois Skyway Collegiate All- Conference 1st team selection, NJCAA Region IV All-Star team selection, Region IV All-Star game MVP (1998) and Disney's Wide World of Sports NJCAA Spring Training Tournament MVP while at McHenry College (IL).  Mandi finished her career as McHenry’s single-season record holder for ERA (0.41).  Prior to college, Mandi was a two-time Fox Valley Conference (IL) All-Conference 1st team selection and

Chicago Tribune/Northwest Herald All-Area player in 1994.

 

Mandi graduated from Illinois State University in 2001 with degrees in Physical Education (Kinesiology) and Physical Education (Athletic Training).  She resides in East Greenwich, RI with her husband Whit, four children and dog (Wrigley) and is a huge Chicago Cubs fan.

 

Favorite Color: Green

Favorite Food: (Real) Mexican Food

Favorite Quote: “Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.” 

– Arthur Ashe

Holly Kathios

Catching, Hitting, and Fielding Clinic Instructor

Holly is a recent graduate of Salve Regina where she played softball and was a captain during her senior season when she was named to the CCC All-Conference as a catcher. Her senior season, she batted .306 with only one strikeout in 111 at-bats garnering national recognition in D3 in the category of “Toughest to Strike-Out” where she was ranked #7 in the country. Defensively, Holly committed 2 errors in  218 possible chances. Holly has been passionate about coaching and started working with travel ball teams in the summers while still in college. Since she graduated in May, Holly is now the head coach of the RI Thunder Premier U18 and the new assistant coach at Salve Regina University for this upcoming season. Holly is excited to work at the Backstop and bring her knowledge of hitting, fielding, and catching to the next generation.  

 

Favorite Color: Blue

 

Favorite Food: Italian 

 

Favorite Quote: “Adversity causes some to break, others to break records” 

Lexi Rodi

Hitting and Fielding Instructor 

A two-year NCAA Division II athlete at the University of Bridgeport and a two year member of the NCAA Division III Nichols College Bison, Lexi is known for being a strong defensive threat on the corners and a righty power hitter. She is also a two-time member of the NFCA Division II All- Academic Team accumulating a 3.969 GPA overall with a Criminal Justice major and concentration in comparative justice and a minor in Psychology. Prior to her college career, Lexi attended Bayview Academy where she was a two-sport athlete playing both ice hockey and softball. She was a four- year starter for both sports and also a two-time All Division selection for the Bengals in softball. She was a four-year member of the Rhode Island Thunder Gold-Wilson.

Favorite Color: Olive Green

 

Favorite Food: Tacos

 

Favorite Quote: “Be your own happiness.”

zeena barbarita

Fielding Instructor & Operations Coordinator

Zeena helps us keep things moving at The Backstop and ensures all things Backstop run smoothly. Her passion for the sport and the industry runs deep. She is currently the Assistant Coach for Waves 18U Showcase team, and has been around the game of softball ever since the age of 10. Zeena played both in high school and college. At LaSalle Academy she played an integral part in helping the Rams to their first ever State Championship in school history. She played in college for three years at Salve Regina University where in her junior year she helped them to a regular season CCC title and earn 2nd place in the CCC Championship. Her knowledge of the outfield position completes The Backstop’s well rounded staff. She is an integral part of the Backstop’s clinics and all the behind-the-scenes work that takes place to ensure we can train the next generation of softball athletes.

Favorite Color: Purple

Favorite Food: Chinese

Favorite Quote: "Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again period. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett

Ally Durkin

Fitness Instructor 

Ally has been involved with fast pitch softball her whole life.  She is a graduate and former collegiate softball player for Rhode Island College.  After graduating from Rhode Island College with a degree in community health education, Ally pursued her graduated degree in Education and is now teaching Special Education at the collegiate level.  

With a passion for fitness and nutrition, Ally enjoys bringing out the fire and passion within young athletes.  Making exercising fun and exciting by bringing new and innovative movements into their routines can ensure an effective workout!  

Ally has a huge passion for all that The Backstop represents and is exciting to assist young women in reaching their fitness goals and living a healthy lifestyle! 

 

Favorite Color: Yellow 

Favorite Food: DONUTS!

Favorite Quote: “Here’s to strong women.  May we know them.  May we be them.  May we raise them.” – Michelle Obama

Contact us

Interested in softball lessons or an upcoming softball clinic in Rhode Island?

Send us a message. Coach Emily will get back to you within the day. 

1160 Bald Hill Rd.

Warwick, RI 02886

​​

Tel: 401-773-4152

Cell: 401-573-3133

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Google+ Icon
  • Black Yelp Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon

© 2019 by Backstop Softball LLC

hittrax-partner-logo-black+red-rgb.png