Howell’s Monticollo prefers baseball action to softball

Staff Writer

Once a baseball player, always a baseball player. That is the way Juliet Monticollo, 15, of Howell sees it.

“I’m good at baseball and I’m so used to playing it,” she said. “I like it. I’ve been playing it so long.”

Despite getting some pressure to make the move to softball, Monticollo will not give up baseball. And why should she?

She played on the Howell South Little League Senior League all-star team that captured the Little League District 11 championship this summer. She played first base for the all-stars (she usually plays second base and pitches, but a shoulder injury from the basketball season limited her throwing).

Monticollo’s dad, Victor, who coached the Howell South all-star team, is one person who has been trying to get his daughter to give softball a try. However, he understands her reluctance.

“She grew up playing baseball with her brother and his friends,” he said. “She caught on to it. Once you see that you can do something, it’s difficult to change.”

Juliet Monticollo Juliet Monticollo Juliet agrees.

“I’ve thought about it [softball],” she said. “It’s too big a change. I can’t just stop playing baseball.”

Monticollo said that because she loves baseball so much, it would be harder to give it up for a sport that, at this point, she does not love.

The reason Monticollo is playing baseball is because of her older brother, Vic. He is two years older than Juliet and she grew up following him to the baseball diamond and playing baseball with her brother and his friends.

“It was exciting,” she said of playing baseball with her brother and friends. “He [Vic] was always helpful. He would have a catch with me in the yard. He’s happy I’m playing baseball.”

Monticollo’s father said he saw early on that his daughter was not overmatched playing with boys.

“Even at a young age she always had something special; she could catch, throw and run better than girls her age,” he said.

Juliet made her first all-star team as a 9-year-old and has been on every Howell South all-star team since. Even though the boys have gotten stronger and the game has gotten faster, the young woman has kept up with her male counterparts.

“She can handle it, she can compete with the guys

at this age,” he father said. “She faced some pretty

good pitchers [in the Senior League playoffs].

She always had a quick bat.”

Making an all-star team at age 9 was a turning

point for Juliet.

“It showed me I was good enough to play,

and it boosted my confidence,” she said.

Monticollo does not look at herself as a trailblazer

or a role model, she is just playing the sport

she loves.

“I grew up with the guys [her teammates],” she said. “We’re friends.”

Juliet said there have been occasional stares from opponents, but otherwise she has found acceptance on their part just as she has been accepted by her teammates.

Her father said, “After games, coaches and fans from the other team have come up to me and said it was good to see a girl out there.”

Next year will be Monticollo’s final season with the Howell South Little League and maybe then it will be time to reconsider softball, but now she has fall travel baseball to think about, and then in the winter, basketball. She plays point guard for the Howell High School Rebels and is as devoted to hoops as she is to baseball.