The players on the East Boston Little League Astros team might not know how spectacular Krysten Hunt was as a softball player, but by now they know how much she loves the game.
Krysten Hunt can’t disguise her enthusiasm for the sport or hold back on her knowledge of the fundamentals. She fell in love with baseball at a very young age and has remained close to the diamond ever since.
After excelling in East Boston Little League, she took her dynamic skills to the East Boston Senior Girls Softball League founded by Robyn DiMeo. There she helped her teams win multiple championships and emerged as one of the best players in the city.
At East Boston High School, Krysten was a Boston City League All-Star shortstop and a major contributor to three of coach Tom Elliott’s state tournament teams. She continued her career at Curry College for two seasons, becoming the Colonels’ starting centerfielder.
She transferred to the University of Massachusetts/Boston where she received a degree in Psychology. She currently works for East Boston Social Centers as an infant toddler teacher and teaches skating and ice hockey at the Porrazzo Rink.
Krysten, 26, will marry her high school sweetheart, Giovanni Buccella, in June.
Despite the busy schedule and upcoming nuptials, she’s finding the time to help Eastie kids experience the fun and joy that she did as an athlete. She has reunited with John Forbes Sr., her former Little League coach, as a coach of the Major League Astros.
“When John picked my two brothers [John and Nick Festa] for his team, he asked me if I would be interested in helping him coach,” said Krysten. “John was my Little League baseball coach before I joined the East Boston Girls Softball League in 2001.”
Krysten said she always had good coaches while growing up in East Boston “and that’s something I wanted to give the kids today – that they’ll remember their coaches forever, just like I remember Mr. Forbes.”
While no one was better fundamentally than Krysten Hunt as a player, she said her teachings extend beyond running the bases and throwing to the right cutoff man.
“I’m trying to teach the kids the love of the sport, know how to respect it and how to play it,” said Krysten. “I am teaching them how to hit, field, and throw. I teach my players to stay in front of the ball and catch it with two hands. When you’re in the batter’s box, stay close to the plate and learn from your mistakes and fix it the next time.”
The Astros are the defending Major League champions and hope to make another run at the title. “Hopefully we’ll be just as good this year,” said Krysten, whose competitiveness matched her greatness in her playing days.
Looking back at her childhood and her formative years as a student-athlete, she said she’s grateful to some of the East Bostonians who set a solid foundation in her life.
“The DiMeo family, Robyn and Richie, coached me for numerous years and I learned a lot from Richie as a coach in the league as well as travel teams and they did a lot for the kids of East Boston,” said Krysten.
“I want to thank Jodi Festa and her late husband, John – they did a lot for me. They took me in and gave me everything.”
And today with that support and guidance from Jodie Festa and the late John Festa still with her in mind and spirit, Krysten Hunt is giving back to her community on the fields of East Boston.