Following in the footsteps of her older sister, Isabella Fiorentino chose to pursue softball, but she didn’t truly love the sport until she saw the hometown baseball team in action.

“When I got about six years old, my dad enrolled me in [recreational] ball,” says Fiorentino. “I didn’t really fall in love with the sport until I was about eight years old and my grandpa took me to an Angels game.”

An incoming senior at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Fiorentino is a pitcher and first baseman for the Eagles and enjoys the athleticism required for both positions.

“In the circle, I love to be involved in every pitch and being able to throw my best every game,” says Fiorentino. “And at first (base), I love being able to make athletic plays and dig out bad throws or just dive after balls.”

It is Fiorentino’s competitive side that keeps her engaged in a sport she feels is 95% mental.

“I think that any athlete can tell you that there’s a drive to win, and if you don’t have that drive to win, you’re not going to stay in the sport,” says the 16-year-old. “That drive really keeps me going, every day and every game.”

Having served as one of the team captains, Santa Margarita varsity softball head coach, John FitzPatrick, is looking forward to seeing what Fiorentino will do in her final season with the Eagles.

“Bella possesses the ability to bring our team together through her leadership and hard work both on and off the field,” says FitzPatrick. “In addition to being an excellent student, she is also our team prayer leader, writing many of the prayers we say at the end of each practice and game.”

As a younger player, Fiorentino was often passed over for teams and positions, experiences she uses as confidence builders.

“Sometimes it could really affect my mental game and make me think that I wasn’t good enough,” says Fiorentino. “But over the years, I realized this is what I wanted to do, and that I was going to work and fight for everything.”

Fiorentino’s faith plays a large role in her mental and physical preparation as she leans on God as her “backbone” off the field.

“I definitely think God helps me prepare,” says the Rancho Santa Margarita resident. “I’m using that mental strength and that physical strength he’s given me to do my best.”

Fiorentino is committed to play softball for the University of Pennsylvania, where she will study physics in preparation for a career in the aerospace industry. And it is the women in her life who have helped to guide her to this point.

“My mom and my grandma have constantly supported me and have given me tools to succeed in life,” says Fiorentino. “[They] taught me that life isn’t easy, and if you want something, you have to fight for it.”