Perfection; Tracy Ciosek-Beloin never lost as a Lady Knight ace

“I was the only girl on the team, and I think I may have been the only girl in the league,” she said. “I actually had to purchase my own pants because I was the tallest on the team. The boys pants weren’t long enough. They wouldn’t have gone past my knees. I still laugh when I see the old pictures. My pants are a slightly different color and I’m the tallest one.”

It wasn’t until seventh grade that Tracy was able to compete as a part of a girls team, but the results were the same. She quickly rose to prominence at St. Thomas Junior High School in volleyball, basketball, and softball. It was here that she began to mingle with other female athletes to lay the foundation for their high school dominance.

“She didn’t really get a lot of instruction,” said Piazza. “There wasn’t a lot of summer activity back then, and kids like Tracy were involved in two or three sports. Tracy was the type of kid that would play basketball during basketball season, play softball during softball season, and if she decided to play volleyball, that’s all she would do during volleyball season. She didn’t do all that extra work. She was just a natural athlete, but you’d never know it by looking at her.”

When she arrived at the high school, Tracy quickly rose to the top once again. She battled her way onto the varsity basketball roster as a sophomore and worked her way into the main rotation by the end of the season. Piazza shuffled her throughout the infield in the spring to get her into his softball lineup, and she settled into the shortstop position during her first of three title runs.

As a junior, she was shifted to pitcher, and that catapulted her to a different level. Just a few days before opening day, doctors had cleared her from her back injuries in the winter season, but Piazza said he still didn’t believe them. He sent her to practice against the wall of the school and returned to his infielders.

“I kept hearing, ‘Ba-boom. Ba-boom.’ I looked over, and she was throwing like she had been throwing all year,” said Piazza.

“She just kept getting better and better and better. Defensively, there wasn’t anybody better. She was a shortstop, and you don’t get a lot of shortstops that pitch at the high school level. It gives you a lot of leeway. You can play your third baseman back a little bit. You can keep your first baseman back a little bit. It allowed us to do different things because Tracy could cover so much ground and throw overhand.”

Nobody could stop the Knights with Tracy on the mound. The Lady Knights already had a 4-0 winning streak from their championship run in 1985, and Tracy added 48 straight victories to the rally. Her teams won two more state titles and the winning streak set a new state record.

“We had a lot of great teams, and I had a lot of good friends on the team,” she said. “We had a lot of fun playing, and that’s what it was about. I had a lot of help. Melinda [Silva] helped me behind the plate. We had a great defensive team and a great hitting team. My parents were very supportive, and we had great coaches. It wasn’t just me.”

Scouts began to appear in the crowd as Tracy continued to manhandle opponents. She worked her way into a pair of all-state rosters in basketball and a pair of all-state rosters in softball. Ciosek-Beloin could have her pick of division one programs, but she settled on the University of Hartford. The Hawks were a struggling division one program at the time, but Tracy chose it for academic reasons.

“Do I regret not going to UConn or one of the schools down south? Yeah, a little bit,” she said. “I wish I had a little bit more of that athletic experience, but I never regretted going to the University of Hartford. It’s a great school, and I ended up getting a full scholarship. I didn’t have to pay a dime and I got a great job and great career out of it.”

Although her statistics never matched her high school career, her impact might have been greater. She joined teammates in an effort to attract anybody with playing experience just to field a competitive team, and she went on to lead them into a competitive program despite their lack of talent.

Tracy still ranks among the top five in eight different categories including a pair of single season lists and six career categories. She is ranked second in single season shutouts (24 in 1989) and fourth in games started (24 in 1989). She ranks fourth in starts (58) and shutouts (11) over her career. She is still ranked fifth in triples (6), appearances (63), innings pitched (385.2), and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (2.63).

Tracy still shies away from taking credit for all of her accomplishments.

Page 2 of 3 | Previous page | Next page