Leaders lead in different ways.
Some are demonstrative dictators who show people exactly what they need to do.
Others try to make everyone around them happier and looser in order to alleviate pressure on their teammates.
Mya Diorio is the second kind of leader.
Diorio is a junior first baseman on the Archbishop Ryan High School softball team, and she loves to watch her teammates succeed. One of the team captains, she also loves to laugh, and when she’s on the field working with her friends, she makes sure they’re not only putting in the effort to improve, but doing it with a smile on their face.
“I’m really fun to be around, I’m pretty funny, and I try to keep the energy up,” said Diorio, who lives in Bridesburg. “I think it helps that I really care so I want to make sure we are all on the same page. It’ll translate. We are close, we are all really good friends, so I think that plays a huge part.”
Diorio was a fine softball player before she got to Ryan, but since arriving, she has grown into becoming a great leader. There are a lot of reasons for that, including the work she puts in at the gym and on the field. But she is quick to credit the girls on Ryan’s team two years ago, when the Ragdolls last won the Catholic League championship.
That team was full of seniors, and they did more than just help the team on the field.
“I learned so much from them, all they wanted was for everyone to get better and they helped a lot,” said Diorio, who wasn’t a full-time starter as a freshman, but did get some work at designated hitter during the run to the championship. “It means that I get to lead the team hopefully in the right direction and set a good example. Work hard, keep energy up and always try to do my best. We only have two seniors, we have great juniors and sophomores, and our seniors are really important to our team, too. We have a great team.”
A great team that is competing in a very tough Catholic League.
There are a handful of upper-echelon teams in the PCL this year, and Ryan is certainly among them.
Diorio is one of those reasons.
The power hitter already has smashed a home run and this year she’s already belted two triples on the young season. She spends a lot of time in the gym, grinding to make sure she adds to her power.
She also has worked hard on her defense and has worked herself into one of the better first basemen, defensively, in the Catholic League. Last year as a sophomore, she earned Second-Team All-Catholic honors for her play in the field and at the plate.
“I’m starting to show a lot of power, I’m working on it,” Diorio said. “My goal was to hit 10 home runs, but starting the season, two triples, so we’re going for triples now. I’ve always been a pretty good hitter, even when I just started in 10-U, I would hit the ball pretty far. I was always a power hitter, and I love hitting. It’s my favorite thing about the game.
“My job is to definitely make sure I’m able to make all my plays and keep balls in the infield, hit, get on base, start rallies. Create plays. Defensively, I like to call the plays every batter, every out, every batter, every pitch. Overall, we work really well as a team. And I try to make sure everyone stays up and ready.”
There’s plenty of work to do.
Archbishop Wood and Conwell-Egan return loaded teams. Archbishop Carroll, which downed Ryan in a one-run game in the Ragdolls’ PCL opener, is a tough out. And St. Hubert should be among the elite.
But the Ragdolls should be in the mix, and Diorio believes this team will be a contender if they do the work needed.
“We can be great,” Diorio said. “We need to clean up the defense a little bit and string a couple hits together. But we have the potential to do really well this year. We have power. We hit a lot of home runs. We have a lot of extra-base hits and we have great pitching.
“We have two sophomore pitchers. I just try to hype them up and let them know they’re doing great. If we play clean behind them, they’ll be great. I like to boost their confidence, and I know they’ll throw good.”
Away from softball, Diorio stays quite busy.
She’s in Athletes Helping Athletes, an ambassador, is ranked in the top 10 percent of her class, is a Diocesan Scholar, and next year will take classes at Chestnut Hill College.
She also plays a lot of softball, both with the Ragdolls and her travel team, Rock Gold in Southampton, and puts in time in the gym.
But paramount on her list is leading the Ragdolls, and she plans on helping both on the field and in the kitchen. The Ragdolls often have parties before big games, and Diorio will be cooking.
“I make really good brownies and homemade mac and cheese,” Diorio said. “I haven’t cooked yet for the pasta parties, but the mac and cheese will definitely be making an appearance (this year).” ••