Former Dunmore High School All Region pitcher Josh Zilla has a dream—to pitch in the big leagues. And he’s spent most of this summer in Florida working on making that dream a reality.
Son of Robert and Donna Zilla, Dunmore, Josh will be entering his sophomore year later this month as an Information Technology major at Keystone College, where he is a pitcher on the baseball team.
Josh Zilla, a Dunmore pitcher with a dream of playing in the major leagues, is currently playing at Keystone College.
Josh spent most of this summer pitching in the South Florida Collegiate League. His team played a 32-game schedule while Josh worked on developing a third pitch—a splitter.
The sophomore hurler played three years of varsity baseball at Dunmore High School, where he played four total years of baseball and four years of football. He was an all-star football player as well as a baseball all-star as a junior. He was an All Regional pitcher as a senior when he was named the Lackawanna League Division III Player of the Year. Josh was 7-0 with a minuscule 0.52 earned run average (ERA) as a senior pitcher. He fired a no-hitter and threw 24 consecutive scoreless innings at one point in the season. He struck out 61 batters.
Zilla pitched 14 innings in his freshman season at Keystone. He had a 2-0 record and impressive 1.90 ERA. He has a 3.0 grade point average at Keystone.
His coach at Keystone, Jamie Shevchik, recommended he learn a third pitch, and that is when Josh made his decision to play in the South Florida Collegiate League.
“He wanted me to work on a new pitch, a splitter,” said Zilla. “I worked on getting movement, getting it down and throwing it for strikes. I had a nice experience there learning a new pitch.”
Josh said he learned a lot from Shevchik in his freshman season.
“He teaches me to stay competitive and remain focused on the mound. Keep my mind straight and be more fluent with my delivery.”
The righty pitcher said coach Mark Finan and his assistants also taught him a lot at Dunmore.
“Coach Finan and his assistants were always telling me to be focused and keep my head in the game,” said Zilla. “They kept my mind straight and focused.”
Josh has been playing baseball since age five right up to Legion and now collegiate baseball. He loves the game and is spending the final month of his summer pitching for the Dunmore entry in the Dunmore Freedom collegiate summer league (formerly CSBL). Home games are played at Dunmore’s Sherwood Park.
“I want to keep getting better as a pitcher. I want to work on my control and velocity. I want to pick my grades up and work on getting my Information Technology degree, but that is a backup plan,” said Zilla. “My ultimate goal is to get drafted and pitch in the MLB. I want to pitch in the big leagues.”
Two Dunmore High School alumni, Alee Bevilacqua ‘11 and John Glinsky ‘13, both went away for school to pursue their dreams upon graduating.
Bevilacqua enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia to further explore her love of the Spanish language. Glinsky traveled to Hyde Park, New York to earn his associate’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America. Two very different paths indeed, but those paths eventually crossed in a magical way.
Both DHS alum ended up finding employment with a little company started by a man you may have heard of before. Does Walt Disney ring a bell?
Bevilacqua moved to sunny California to take on an global publicity internship with Walt Disney Studios, and Glinsky took on an externship position as a prep chef in a famous boardwalk restaurant at Disney World in Florida.
Online editor Emily Fedor caught up with both of the mouseketeers in the making to chat about their big moves, their impressive gigs and, of course, the wonderful world of Disney.
Alee Bevilaqua is currently working as a global publicity intern at Walt Disney Studios as a part of Disney’s professional internship program. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)
Emily Fedor: Let’s start from the beginning. How did finding a job with Disney first come into the picture?
Alee Bevilacqua: I was looking for [jobs with] advertising and digital marketing agencies—things of that sort. I just threw it into the mix. They had a public relations position open with Lucasfilm (Disney owns Lucasfilm). I applied for that, and the woman who gave me a phone screening told me about the position I have right now. She said, “We didn’t post it on the website yet, but based on your interests, I really think you would like this one.”
EF: And what are you doing in this position?
AB: I’m a publicity intern. I work on a team that does publicity with Disney Studios, and I worked on a team that does global publicity for live action films—so anything along the lines of Marvel, Lucasfilm.. I’ll help out at premieres and any other publicity events for the movies. I handle a lot of different odds and ends.
EF: You graduated from Temple with a degree in Spanish. Does that come into use at all?
AB: On the publicity team, we have some hispanic media outlets. So my Spanish does actually come in handy.
EF: So working in the publicity field in Disney, nonetheless, wasn’t ever a part of your plans?
AB: No, I definitely didn’t have this planned. When Mario [Bevilacqua] first started off with his food truck [What the Fork], I helped him out with that. I started to realize I was really interested in digital marketing. So once I got to school, I had a little marketing internship, and I did a PR internship. Then last semester, I was an intern at a digital marketing agency.
EF: How has the transition of moving to California been?
Alee Bevilacqua made her move to California only a few weeks after she graduated from Temple University in May. (Photo Credit: Alee Bevilacqua)
AB: I live in Burbank, so I’m still in a little residential area. There’s a lot more driving which I didn’t expect. It’s impossible to get around if you don’t have a car because the public transportation is not that great. People out here are much more relaxed, too, and the weather is just perfect year-round.
EF: What do you miss most about Dunmore?
AB: I miss the community feeling for sure. It’s easy to walk into somewhere and see someone you know and start up a conversation. But honestly, I miss NEPA food. The best food you’re going to get here is Mexican food and sushi, because that’s what’s big out here. I could be bias because half of Dunmore is Italian, but I have yet to try good Italian [food] down here.
EF: What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had so far?
AB: I was able to go and volunteer at Comic-Con, which is absolutely incredible. We took a bus down to San Diego, and I got to watch the entire panel at Hall H, which I never thought I would ever do. People wait in line for days for that. There were 6,000 people there. It was insane just being a part of that.
EF: So what’s next for you? Is this move permanent for you?
AB: As of right now, my internship is until December 30th, but it’s up in the air. They can ask you upon mutual agreement to extend your internship for another six months. After that, there’s always a possibility I could get offered a position if there’s a job opening. I have been toying with anything though. As of right now, I’m just rolling with it.
EF: But you’re happy with the decision you made to take the job at Disney?
AB: I’m absolutely happy to be here. I could hop down to Disneyland any day, and it’s a work environment that I think everyone dreams of. I think what I love about publicity is that at Disney, it’s more of a female-dominated field. So I think being around these powerful, goal-oriented women is so inspiring. I can’t believe this is my life.
John Glinsky worked as prep cook at a signature restaurant at Disney World in Florida last year as part of an externship program. He will be returning to work at a different restaurant this month. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)
Emily Fedor: What attracted you to Disney World and made you want to get a job there?
John Glinsky: My family goes to Disney for vacations, so Disney is a big part of my life in general. I wanted to work at Disney so I can continue a family tradition my grandparents started the tradition of going to Disney every year. I was just thinking how awesome it would be to work at Disney and take my future child there and be like “Hey, I worked at this place.”
EF: How was the transition of moving to Florida?
JG: We drove—well, my dad drove—down to Disney straight through without stopping. I would never recommend that to anyone. I’d never been away from home, but it was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. It was like I was meant to be there. It was scary to go down, but I was more excited than anything.
EF: What kind of work did you do while you were in Disney?
JG: I worked at the Flying Fish Cafe, a signature restaurant in Walt Disney World. It was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney at the time. I was mostly a prep cook there. Usually my shift was 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and throughout that time, I would prep for that night cooking wise. It would be a fresh prep every day, which I enjoyed.
EF: You’ve been to Disney quite a few times before working there. How was being an employee versus a tourist?
JG: I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil the magic. There were just moments when I was walking backstage—they use theatre terms like backstage, audience, costumes—and I’d be walking with Woody. But then you’d see another Woody switching out with him. It’s actually really funny.
EF: Do you have a favorite memory from your time there?
John Glinsky’s place of employment, the Flying Fish Cafe, was ranked the fourth best restaurant in Disney. (Photo Credit: John Glinsky)
JG: When I started doing prep work, I almost got transferred to a different location because I couldn’t keep up. But one of the head chefs named James said he would take me under his wing, and he just brought me to a whole different level. I had talked to him about buying a new knife. And when I was leaving on my second last day, he gave me his first knife that he ever bought.
EF: What was the biggest difference between Florida and Dunmore?
JG: There’s more diversity there, and a lot of the people didn’t speak English. But that’s why I like food so much, because language barriers don’t matter. It’s a language in itself.
EF: Now you’re going back to work at Disney. Tell me about that.
JG: I applied back and they greeted me with open arms. They wanted to put me at Victoria & Albert’s which is the number one restaurant in Disney, but there weren’t any openings until November. So I’m working at Artist’s Point in Wilderness Lodge. It’ll be a good experience.
EF: Pick three words to describe your time working at Disney.
JG: Magical, extraordinary, and humbling. Seeing what people go through to make the magic was really humbling. My tier in the totem pole was giving them a meal they’d never forget. That’s the whole reason I do what I do. I want to be a chef because it makes people happy.