Michelle Zullo felt comfortable on the pitcher’s mound from the very beginning.
She made her debut in the Everett Girls Softball League at the age of six, becoming one of the top pitchers in the league and eventually taking lessons from Bob Carr and his daughter, Christine Carr.
By the time Zullo entered the Everett High School softball program, she had six pitches in her repertoire: fastball, changeup, drop, drop curve, curve, and screwball. She later perfected a riseball.
At Everett High under the tutelage of head coach Stacy Poste, a former All-Scholastic pitcher, Zullo developed in to a force on the mound. The 5-foot-6-inch flamethrower won 46 games, made three Greater Boston League All-Star Teams, helped Everett win a GBL title, and stood her ground in a big-time rivalry with Malden ace Kiara Amos, who went on to pitch at Providence College.
“I loved coach Poste and I still go to some of the Everett practices and pitch batting practice,” said Zullo. “I had a great catcher [Rachel Pierce] to work with. Playing softball for Everett High was a phenomenal experience.”
Zullo also spread her athletic talents to the hockey rink and the golf course, earning 12 varsity letters and receiving the Madelyn English Award as Everett High’s best female athlete. Interestingly, Michelle is related to Madelyn English (her grandfather’s cousin), who played women’s professional baseball during World War II (The league was portrayed in the movie, “A League of Their Own”). She was also selected to the Harry Agganis Softball All-Star Classic.
During the summers, Zullo bolstered her softball resume with a stellar AAU career for the Orange Crush, Lady Rebels, and Mass Inferno teams. She received several MVP and Outstanding Pitcher Awards in tournament play and excelled in college showcases.
Zullo selected the University of Massachusetts/Boston for her collegiate destination over Worcester State, Rivier College, Curry, and Mount Ida.
What she accomplished at UMass/Boston was becoming the most outstanding pitcher in school history. She was an instant freshman sensation for the Lady Beacons, winning 10 games and emerging as a candidate for the league’s Rookie of the Year award. Following a four-year career that ended this spring, Zullo had established all-time records in wins (27), strikeouts (253), innings pitched, complete games, and earned run average.
“I played softball with a lot of talented athletes at UMass,” said Zullo. “The league was very competitive and I enjoyed traveling throughout New England and to Florida each year.”
Zullo is majoring in Early Childhood Education and will graduate this fall.
She says she would eventually like to coach high school softball. She has been giving pitching lessons to younger players for a few years.
Zullo credits her parents, Richard and Maureen Zullo, for their support from the outset. Her father, Richard, was an outstanding athlete himself at Chelsea High School.
“I learned a lot from my dad,” said Michelle. “He used to catch my pitching in the backyard and was my coach on the Inferno. It’s always nice to have your parents and family at your games cheering you on and giving you encouragement.”
While her record-setting collegiate career is over, Michelle will continue to play slow pitch softball in area leagues, reuniting with Rachel Pierce, her former high school batterymate.
“I may pitch if I can find a fast pitch league,” said Zullo, who will turn 23 in June. “I’m a little sad that my competitive pitching days are over but it was 17 great years.”
Though she will not be wearing the UMass/Boston uniform again, it’s safe to say that she will be a candidate for the school’s Hall of Fame one day.
Michelle Zullo is truly one of the all-time greats for the Beacons.