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Coaches

Tony Foti, Head Coach

Foti is currently in his 6th year as the assistant softball coach at Middle Tennessee State University, winning the 2018 C-USA Championship. Coaching for over 35 years, with 22 years of international coaching experience and 20 years of college softball.

Foti spent the previous 7 years coaching professionally in Europe, Asia, Central and South America and Africa. In that position, Foti traveled the globe conducting elite coaches/player clinics and national team development camps. Foti has also served as Canadian National Team coach from 1985-1996 and again from 2005-2012, coaching in World Championships, Pan-Am Games, World Cups and the 1996 Olympic Games. In 2007 and 2008, Foti helped lead Forli in the Italian Championships and European Cup Championship.

Coach Foti fine-tuned his coaching expertise at the federally funded National Coaching Institute in Canada. There, he completed the prestigious advanced coaching program. The program stresses both the technical and theoretical aspects of coaching, and takes several years to complete. Foti has earned the title of Master Clinician, and conducts player and coaches courses. Foti has published numerous technical documents and coaching articles. Speaker at over 100 coaches clinics.

In the spring of 2001, Foti accepted the opportunity to be the head softball coach at Mercer University. Two years later, he was selected Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year after leading Mercer to a 35-23 record, advancing the Bears to their first Atlantic Sun tournament berth since 1997, and conference championship in 2003. The ASUN conference awarded Foti the coach of the year award again in 2006. Foti has also served a coach at UC Santa Barbara for seven years where the Gauchos captured the Big West Conference in 2000, a first for UCSB. Also winning the Big West coaching staff of the year in 2000.

Foti also coached U18, U21 and women’s open teams in club ball to Canadian National Championships and USA/ASA 18U Gold national championships. Foti also served as a coach of the Michigan Ice expansion NPF team in 2005.

Foti played men’s fastpitch before starting his coaching career as an assistant at Valley City College in 1985. He earned his first head coaching position at Red River College in 1986, winning the Canadian Community College Championship. Foti continued playing men’s Fastpitch softball through the 1997 season.

Foti sits on several national and international coaches’ development committees. Foti has been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall-of-Fame, Foti holds a BA in Education Administration. He has a daughter Devyn and a son Dayne.

Angel Santiago, Assistant Coach

Angel Santiago is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Nicholls State University softball program.

In 2018, Santiago was named Southland Conference Coach of the Year.

Prior to joining Nicholls in September of 2011, Santiago, a native of Chicago Heights, Ill., was an assistant coach for eight years at Florida State and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).

A former minor league baseball player, Santiago spent three seasons at Florida State as an assistant for the Seminole softball program. Santiago is known as a specialist in hitting and catching.

Before joining Florida State in 2009, Santiago helped rebuild a struggling UNLV program during his five years in Las Vegas. In 2005, the Rebels recorded their third-highest win total (44) in the program’s history. That year the UNLV coaching staff received the West Region Coaching Staff of the Year honor presented by the NFCA.

Coach Santiago is a very active instructor with hitting clinics, coaching presentations, and sports fitness academies across the country. Santiago began his coaching career as the head baseball coach at Prairie State College in his hometown of Chicago Heights, Ill. Prior to his two-year stint with Prairie State Baseball, he played four seasons of minor league baseball in the independent leagues with the Dubios County Dragons (IN), Cook County Cheetahs (IL), Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (CAN), and Canton Crocodiles (OH). While playing Santiago was named to the Heartland League All Star Team in 1996 and crowned the league leader in batting average (.374) in 1997.

A graduate of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Coach Santiago studied Physical Education and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He also earned certificates from USA Weightlifting and USA Track & Field which have helped him develop athletes in all disciplines of sport.

Shane Showalter, Assistant Coach

Shane Showalter enters his second season as Appalachian State University assistant coach after serving as the Austin Peay Governors head coach.

Prior to coming to Austin Peay, Showalter, served as Colorado State-Pueblo’s head coach for 10 seasons and left CSU-Pueblo as the winningest coach in program history, gaining his 200th ThunderWolves victory in 2011 on his way to 244 career victories.

Under Showalter's direction, the CSU-Pueblo program became a consistent contender in the Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, finishing second in his last season while being named RMAC Coach of the Year. In his last six seasons, CSU-Pueblo qualified for the RMAC Tournament each season, finishing second twice (2006, 2007).

He coached an All-American, two RMAC Players of the Year and the league freshman of the year during his stay. Along the way he also mentored eight all-region, 44 all-league and 10 all-conference tournament selections.

In 2009, the program qualified for the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the first time in school history. The ThunderWolves earned an at-large bid that season and eventually played its way into the Central Regional Championship game on the way to earning the program's first-ever national tournament wins.

Prior to serving as the ThunderWolves' head coach, Showalter held the same position at Division III Colorado College (1999-2002), a non-scholarship program in Colorado Springs. Before arriving at Colorado College, he was an assistant coach at his alma mater Adams State (Alamosa, Colo.) from 1996-98.

Off the softball field, he served as assistant grounds keeper from 1999-02 for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Colorado Rockies Triple A affiliate.

Showalter earned both his bachelor's (Sports and Exercise Management) and master's (Exercise Physiology) at Adams State.

He has a daughter, Maison.

Shan McDonald, Assistant Coach

McDonald comes from an illustrious college and international playing and coaching career. McDonald was the Head softball coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for 17 years, leading the ‘Runnin Rebels’ to the college world series in 1990, 1993 and 1994.

McDonald came to UNLV in 1987 from Texas A&M, where she both played and coached softball for the perennial power and legendary coach Bob Brock. The 1983 Texas A&M Player of the Year led the Aggies to back-to-back national titles, an AIAW title in 1982 and an NCAA crown in ‘83. McDonald also played for the Canadian National team, leading them to the 1983 Pan American Games Championship, the first ever for Canada.

McDonald was a coach with the 1996 Canadian Olympic team, Canadian Junior National Team Head coach from 2001 to 2005 and assistant coach with the Junior and Senior Canadian teams from 2005 to 2012.

Upon leaving UNLV, she went on to be Head Softball Coach for the 2004 Chinese Olympic Team which finished fourth.

Currently a Physical Education teacher in Middle School, Clinician/Facilitator for Synergy Team Concepts, Co-Head Softball Coach for the only 18U Gold team in Nevada and private softball instructor. Continues to have extensive involvement with the development of softball as a coach and clinician for the International Softball Federation.

Graduated from Texas A & M with Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and minor in Biology in 1983. Has a Masters degree in Technology in Education.

Candida Cerri, Assistant Coach

Candida Cerri joins the Greek National team after coaching and playing for the Italian National Team. Certified as a national team coach and pitching coach. Cerri was the pitching coach and bench coach of the Italian U13 team that won the European Championships in 2009.

A valued clinician and speaker, Cerri has lectured at the Italian Softball and Baseball Coaches Convention and conducted camps throughout Italy and Europe. Cerri introduced innovative team building and culture developing into the Italian National Team Program.

Cerri began her coaching career in 2001 with the Legnano Softball Club, leading them to an Italian B series national championship and promotion into the A2 league in 2003. Cerri also led the Valmarecchia women’s B team to promotion to A2 in 2013. Cerri was named as the pitching coach for the Italian U19 National team in 2013.

Cerri played for the Italian National Team from 1984 to 1991, pitcher and first baseman, winning the 1988 European Championship competing in the1986 ISF World Championships in Aukland, New Zealand and again the 1990 ISF World Championships in Normal, IL. Cerri also competed for the Bollate, Legnano, Bologna, Forli and Valmarecchia teams winning national or regional championships.

Cerri has a diploma in Graphic Design. Cerri has three daughters, Emma, Susanna and Dora.

Babis Trigonakis, Assistant Coach

Babis’ athletic career started in 1976 as a track and field athlete in Panionios Club.  He was Greek National Champion in the high jump and a member of the Greek Track and Field National team.  After his career as an athlete, he became the track and field coach at Panionios Club.

Babis began coaching Softball in 2005 as head coach of the then newly formed Faros Neas Smyrnis Club and developed the team into Greek National Champions in 2013.  He was a member of the coaching staff for the Greek Cadet National Team in 2007, the U22 Women’s National Team in 2014,  that won the bronze medal in the European U22 Championships and the Women’s National team in 2015,  winning gold at the Balkan Championships.  Babis has a University degree in Physical Education from the Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Dennis Horafas, Assistant Coach

A New York City native now living in Athens, Horafas served as the OF and First Base coach of the 2018 national team program. An 18 year veteran of coaching softball, Horafas has coached on the international scene in all age levels from U17 to the senior national team. Winner of numerous European Championships for Club teams and national teams. Horafas developed Greek born players that competed for Greece in the 2004 Olympic Games.  Technical advisor of the Hellenic Softball Federation, Horafas also served as the Technical Committee Member of the I.S.F. at the Softball Pre-Olympic Test Event and at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Horafas served as the Head of the Organizing Committee for the 2007 European Cup Winner’s Cup in Athens.

A physical education teacher by trade, Horafas was a 6 time member of the Greek National Track and Field team in the 400m, 800m, 400m Hurdles and 4X400m relay. Head Clinician in Baseball/Softball Seminar at the 21st International Congress of Physical Education and Sport. Member of the “Iason Keratsini” Field Hockey Team and a member of the  “Iason Keratsini” and “Evryali Glyfada” Baseball Teams.

Deb Sonnenberg, Assistant Coach

Sonnenberg joins the Hellas coaching staff after serving as the assistant coach at Emory University, Mercer University, Kennesaw State University, Auburn University and Delta State. Sonnenberg helped lead Mercer to one of the NCAA’s biggest turn arounds in 2002 winning 36 games and a conference championship as well as leading Kennesaw State to four (4) consecutive NCAA Division II World Series appearances finishing 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th.

A member of the 1996 Canadian Olympic Team, Competed in the 1994 World Championships, 1994 Pan-Am Qualifier, 1995 Pan-Am Games, and 1994 South Pacific Championships as a pitcher, Selected Top Pitcher at Pan-Am Qualifier with a 0.00 ERA

6 Time Canadian National Champion – Gold Medalist, 5 Time Canadian National Runner-up – Silver Medalist, 6 Time Canadian 3rd Place Finisher – Bronze Medalist, Selected 2-time MVP, 3-time Top Pitcher, 7-time All Canadian Performer at Canadian National Championships, Pitched back-to-back perfect games in the 1993 Canadian National Championship Series, Two New Zealand National Champion teams – MVP and Top Pitcher.

Sonnenberg Still holds the NAIA record for most wins and strikeouts for a season and a career. A four (4) time NAIA All-American, Three (3) time player of the year in the Conference (1992-94), Four (4) time all District Team, 3rd place finishes in the College World Series in 1992 and 1994, Last Collegiate win at an NAIA tournament – Perfect game with 19 strikeouts and hit a 3 run home run to win 3-0.

  • Inducted into the Softball Alberta Hall of Fame – 2011 Athlete Category
  • Inducted into Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame – 2004 Team Category
  • Inducted into Softball Manitoba Hall of Fame – 2007 Team Category

Mike Perniciaro, Assistant Coach

Mike Perniciaro is in his second season as the head coach for Indiana State Softball. Most recently, Perniciaro – who is colloquially known as “Coach Pooch” to student-athletes and colleagues alike – was on staff at Indiana from 2015-17.

Perniciaro comes to Terre Haute with two decades of coaching experience at the Division I level, including a six-year head coaching stint at Wichita State, one season in charge of the program at Northwestern State and 4 seasons as the assistant at Auburn University.


 

Marta Pedroli, Physiotherapist

Marta Pedroli graduated in Physiotherapy at the University of Milan in 2010, and in 2012 she holds a Master in Physical Therapy at the University of Pisa. She is currently attending the GSTM Specialist School in Orthokinetics Physiotherapy specializing in manual therapy and neuro-musculoskeletal physiotherapy dealing mainly with orthopedic, post-operative rehabilitation, neuromuscular problems with a prevalent interest in prevention, rehabilitation and conservative treatment. She continued her profession at La Palestra Vanzago from January to September 2011 and at AIAS Milan Onlus until October 2011.

Pedroli has also practiced at the Physiowell of Milan. Certified in NeuroMuscolar taping application in the physical and motor rehabilitation of patients following muscular injuries, orthopedic interventions, scarring and sports and lymphatic activity. Marta currently works for the San Carlo Clinic of Paderno Dugnano at the Milan Outpatient Clinic at Bollate’s Polispecialist Synapse Center and collaborates with Polisportiva Novate Volley, The FIPAV Italian U19 Womens National Volleyball Team and the British Olympic shooting teams. Pedroli has been with the Greek national Team Program since 2017.