A senior co-captain and a standout pitcher/shortstop/third basemen for the Churchwomen softball squad for the past three seasons, Volatile batted .367 last spring with three triples and 17 RBIs, receiving first team All-Inter-Ac honors and first team All-Main Line selection. She is also a two-time Carpenter Cup selection. Next fall, she will be heading to Penn State University.
Q: What do you think has been the most important thing you’ve learned recently regarding hitting?
A: Recently, I’ve been learning to not be so hard on myself in terms of my at-bats. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to my performance at the plate, since how I do affects the whole team in the long run. Additionally, I’ve been making little adjustments, like keeping my head on the ball, punching with my front elbow, and fully locking my knee, to polish my swing.
Q: What are your thoughts (as of March 30) about the delay of the spring softball season because of the coronavirus situation? What were you hoping to achieve this spring?
A: The delay on our season is definitely not ideal, considering how excited the rest of the team and I were for spring training in Orlando and for the season as a whole. It’s also frustrating since there’s nothing the team can do about quarantines and school closures. However, the team and I are optimistic about EA reopening and our season going on as planned. The team has been keeping in touch over the break and my co-captain, Jackie Miller, and I plan on organizing some activities to do as a team to make up for lost time. When our season starts up again we want to win the Inter-Ac title, which I believe we have a very good chance of doing. As always, we want to play at the highest, most competitive level possible, but it’s also important to us to not only be close as teammates, but also close as friends.
Q: What aspect of your game did you work on the most in the off-season?
A: A large portion of my work in the off season was dedicated to hitting, since it can be tough to find an indoor place to work on fielding. I did mostly tee work or soft toss so my swing was nice and polished for the spring season.
Q: Tell us a little about your start in competitive softball. Who have been your biggest softball mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you about softball?
A: When I was eight, my mom signed me up for a team as a part of the Lionville Youth Association. After my season there ended, I joined a travel team called the Chester County Stars. Around that time I decided I wanted to try pitching, so I started to see Coach Maria DiBernardi, who was the head coach at Villanova University at the time. She taught me a coach’s critique is actually a compliment. If the coach gives you feedback, it is because they’re watching you often and feel that you have promise. Coach Maria also said to me that sports “…should be about building these kids [young softball players] for the future by giving us confidence and the mental tools to face success and failure”. Coach Maria was the first of many influential coaches I had through my softball career. The next was Coach Anthony who coached my 12U travel team. He taught me to have confidence in my abilities, how to pick myself up and be resilient even when the world feels like it’s crumbling at your feet. And third is my Coach Dustin, who was one of my 14u travel coaches. He taught me the nuances of the game as well as how to play polished and precise. Coach Dustin also served as a reminder to believe in myself and my abilities even when it feels like no one else does. Lastly, he taught me “ how you practice is how you play”. I take this lesson with me on and off the field. Each of these coaches taught me how to play the game and be a better player, but what I feel is most important are the lessons I learned while teaching me how to be a better person.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience as an EA softball player – can you share it with us?
A: In my freshman year, we were coming back to our hotel on the shuttle from Epcot around midnight on the last day we visited the Disney parks. Our games had a late start the next day so we decided to stay in Epcot until the parks closed. Almost everyone was asleep, heads resting on the windows, with backpacks and Mickey Mouse ears still on. I was the only freshman on the spring training trip so, naturally, at the start, I felt incredibly intimidated. I wasn’t sure how the upperclassmen and the rest of my teammates would react to me being there and I was worried about getting left behind when we did trips and events together as a team (since they’d all been playing together for a while). The reason I remember that bus ride back from Epcot so vividly is because when I looked around at my teammates, I thought back at the whole length of our trip and realized that all my anxiety surrounding the team and the season had disappeared. I realized I’d become part of something truly special and unique to EA softball, and that is a real sense of family.
Q: What do you think you might like to major in at Penn State? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: I’ve always loved English and creative writing, like poetry and fiction, so that is definitely something I want to pursue. I’m also interested in journalism as a major as well as psychology and behavioral science. I’d love to be an author or journalist for a major publication in the future. I also have a small passion for fashion and I thought about pursuing a career in the fashion industry after speaking with Melody Kahr, the former editor of Glamour magazine, over lunch this time last year.
Fun facts – Belle Volatile
Favorite book: The Bluest Eye.
Favorite author: Toni Morrison.
Favorite TV show: Derry Girls.
Favorite movie: Mean Girls/Shark Tales.
Favorite athlete: Jason Kelce.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Jungle by X Ambassadors and Goosebumps by Travis Scott.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite pre-game meal: Wawa breakfast sandwich.
Family members: parents Rob and Jennifer.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)