Those who’ve followed local softball the last several years know the name… even if they can’t pronounce it.
Gabi Mastrantuono is not only Spackenkill’s ace, but for five years she has been the cornerstone around which the Spartans are built. Spackenkill now is a title contender and at the center, in the circle, is the senior they call “Gibby.”
Mastrantuono has pitched a perfect game, four no-hitters and, just Monday, crushed a homer in a win over Rhinebeck. So, naturally, she spoke to the Journal about foreign language, Truth or Dare, handstand mishaps and why she keeps losing track of outs.
Tell us about your scowling, Andy Pettitte stare before you throw a pitch.
“I probably have that look on my face half the time. When I’m focused, I get a really mean look. I took an AP Bio test that I was struggling with and I’m sure I had that same look.”
What’s the most ridiculous dare you’ve delivered on?
“When I was 13, I licked the floor. We were outside, too, so it was worse. I had to rinse my mouth out right after. A bunch of friends dared me and they were shocked I actually went through with it.”
How much pride do you take in the growth of Spackenkill softball?
“Even when there were hard times, it was always a fun team. We won our division for the first time ever in 2014 and finally got a banner on the wall in the gym!”
If you could trade places with anyone?
“Michelle Obama. I love politics. It would be so interesting to see what a day in her life was like. I’d go with Michelle because Barack looks too stressed out for me. I love comparing pictures of him from when he started to now.”
On road trips, you guys share a bus with the baseball team. Sitting next to 20 sweaty guys after a game…
“Oh, the smell is there. But it’s usually not awful. Could be worse.”
How old were you when you learned to spell your last name?
“Before I started kindergarten. It took some work, though. I’d have to go slow and recite it like a phone number, three letters at a time.”
What’s the full name?
“Gabrielle Rose Mastrantuono … My mom said ‘Gabriela’ would’ve been too much, and they had to give me a break with a short middle name.”
“I’m going to SUNY Oneonta, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Spanish. Spanish is one of my favorite subjects. I’m not great at it, but I love it.”
Could you get by for a week in a Spanish-speaking country?
“I actually did! I went to Spain in March. It was 25 upper-level Spanish students with two teachers and guidance counselors… It was the best trip ever. We visited a palace called Alhambra, and it was amazing.”
Best Spartans dugout chant?
“All the girls do a horrible voice, like a smoker’s voice, and yell out each other’s name and number when they’re hitting. Other teams look at us like we’re crazy.”
“Hannah Emigh, Jenna Maneri and Katie Lillis.”
“I have eggplant parmigiana a lot. I work at Giacomo’s (pizzeria) on Spackenkill Road, so that’s a good and bad thing.”
Most embarrassing softball moment?
“All the times I’ve run off the field before it’s three outs. I get all the way to the dugout and notice nobody else is there. I try not to look at my coach (Cassi Diamond) because it’s like, ‘I can’t believe this happened again.’ It’s happened this year, too. Even as a senior.”
How’d “Gibby” become the nickname?
“My little sister, Lizzie, started it about three years ago. I was playing in an all-star game for the Town of Poughkeepsie. The announcer wanted to use nicknames for each player and my sister, she was 7 at the time, said, ‘Let’s be mean and call her Gibby.’ They did and it stuck. All my friends call me that and (Lizzie) loves the fact that she came up with it.”
You pitched a perfect game against Webutuck in 2014. What’s going through your mind in the late innings?
“It was the first time I’d experience something like that. I knew in the back of my mind, but I didn’t wanna acknowledge it. Usually, when I think about a no-hitter, I lose it. It’s a little superstition, but I also think I can psyche myself out.”
“Jordan Kerr, our left fielder. She ran into a first baseman recently and they wiped out. Jordan, and our first baseman Liana Lopez.”
Clumsiest moment involving yourself?
“Molly Didylowski was doing handstands during warmups before a game last year. She asked me to hold her feet. I did, but she lost her balance and kicked me right in the face. I got knocked over and nearly blacked out. Everyone was freaking out, but I was OK. It was one of our better games that year, actually.”
If you had to face Bryce Harper in softball, what pitch do you throw?
“That’s hard. Probably rise balls. I don’t think they’d be able to touch that. The boys always think they can hit it, but it’s such a different motion and distance in softball. It would take a while to adjust to it.”
When you grow up?
“I wanna have a government job having something to do with environmental policy. Nature is something I’ve been interested in and I want to make a difference.”
Ice cream order?
“Mint chocolate chip with chocolate sprinkles. That’s the correct answer.”
Stephen Haynes: email@example.com, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4