Saturday, January 22, 2022

On the Beat With Erika Piancastelli

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erika Piancastelli, softball star of the Italian National Team and Athletes Unlimited. Erika is part of RISR, a venture which is about to launch in early March. Erika was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule to discuss all of that with me.

Born in Modena, Italy, Erika's family moved to California when she was five. Softball is in her blood, as her mother Loredana Auletta competed for Italy in the 2000 Olympics.

Erika starred at McNeese State University, where she racked up many awards and accolades. She was the Southland Conference Player of the Year four times. She finished her career there with a .401 batting average, with 75 HRs, 212 RBIs, 70 steals, and an .868 slugging percentage.

In 2020, Erika played in the inaugural season of Athletes Unlimited Softball. Last year, she played for Team Italy in the Tokyo Olympics, followed by her second season with AU Softball. In our interview, she also confirmed she will return for AU Seasons Three and Four!

Our interview started with Erika talking about playing in the Olympics, I know she has been asked about that experience many times, but I don't often get to talk to an Olympian and I had to hear it directly.

I then asked her for her thoughts on the unique scoring system and play of AU Softball. As GWSR readers know, AU utilizes a scoring system where points are awarded for team and individual statistics. Teams are redrafted every week. At the end of the season, one champion is crowned. Erika had nothing but praise for the league, system and players. Obviously, if she is signed for two more seasons, she must enjoy it, but it says a lot to have a softball lifer embrace and endorse groundbreaking setup of AU.

Last and most timely right now, Erika talked about RISR. Launching in early March, RISR is an app connecting the viewer with athletes through training content specifically tailored to meet all levels of players. The four instructors are Erika, Amanda Chidester, Haylie McCleney and Janie Reed. That's an elite quartet, made of four Olympians.

RISR focuses on hitting and mental training. The content is designated for specific ages and levels of players. RISR has individual lessons and specific goal-oriented training programs. RISR will fit perfectly with a player's coach and private instructor.

Next Tuesday, January 25, the RISR Team of Erika, Amanda, Haylie and Janie will present an exclusive Live Mental Training Panel. Subscribe to RISR for access to this unique Zoom opportunity.

Our interview can be found at On the Beat With Erika Piancastelli. I plan on doing more updates with the elite athletes of RISR. Until then, go to to learn all about this upcoming app.

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