Lombardo gets the best of both worlds

“Picture this little sixth grader playing alongside high schoolers and watching her throw just as hard as them,”  Elizabeth Lombardo said.

From T-ball, Lombardo knew softball was going to be a huge part of her life.

Lombardo grew up in Thomaston, Conn. playing all different sports like any other child. Lombardo said she grasped onto softball very quickly thanks to her father, who played fast-pitch softball in an adult league.

“He handed me that softball as a kid when we were playing T-ball. It was just a natural thing. That’s what my parents say,” Lombardo said. 

She always knew her love for the game was strong. She played a number of sports growing up, but eventually it came down to two sports — gymnastics and softball. Lombardo was entering elite training for gymnastics, which required more hours, but when it came to choose between the two sports, she decided to join her first travel softball team.

Lombardo claimed she always knew she wanted to play softball, even at the collegiate level.

“I never wanted to stop playing. I always knew that. I’d leave practice and say, ‘Wait! I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to stop,’” Lombardo said.

She began her collegiate career at Salve Regina University as a catcher, then switched to an infielder, specifically third base. Within the first couple of months of her freshman year, she became sick and got a concussion. She was out for her first semester. She returned to the workouts in the first two weeks of January, and when she was squatting, she dislocated her knee cap. 

“It seemed like it was one thing after another,”  Lombardo said.

She accompanied her team down to Florida that year, but she was on crutches.

“It was hard for me to just sit there,” Lombardo said. Lombardo decided that she should try to play.

Lombardo, along with the athletic trainer, tapped her in and she played in Florida that day and kept playing.

The Seahawks went on to win back-to-back Commonwealth Coast Conference championships. She described her time at Salve as nothing but great.  She is still very close with the girls on the Salve Regina softball team and said that they all were so supportive when she decided to leave the university.

While Lombardo was enjoying every minute of playing the sport she loved at Salve Regina, she was struggling to decide what she wanted her career to be. Lombardo came into college as a psychology major and biology minor, since she always had a passion for the medical field. She made the decision to change her major to biology hoping to learn more about human anatomy in order to become a nurse. After discussing her interests with the nursing staff at SRU, they helped her determine that she shouldn’t apply for their nursing program. Lombardo then switched her major to criminal justice, but she still wishes to pursue a medical field-related career.

“It was not easy for me. It was something I needed to do. At the end of the day I don’t want to stop playing softball, but my academics and career had to come first,” Lombardo said. 

She did not expect to come to RWU and play softball. Lombardo met with the coach and asked if she could try out for the team, which she did in the fall. 

Lombardo described this time in her life as if she did a full 360-degree spin in the past eight months and she said she could not be happier. 

She received her EMT license this past winter break and now works for the Bristol Fire Department. She describes it as the perfect balance of having the desire to be a part of the medical field but also still playing a sport she loves.