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Bella as strong as ever

High Schools

July 01, 2011|By Matt Szabo,

The thing is, she can't. She knows it will take the Sailors playing in unison, as a real team, for that to happen. But she takes her role as a team captain extremely seriously. Bella would fit in fine on the Chargers or Griffins, but instead she's on the Sailors, and she's itching for some positive improvement.

"We can be [better] if we not only believe in ourselves but everyone on the team," Bella said. "[You have to] have confidence that when a fly ball is hit to left field, that she's going to catch it. Not only is she telling herself she's going to catch it, but Hattie [Marshall] is pitching and doesn't even have to look, knowing that's going to be caught. That's what we were missing, but I saw a little bit at the end that we were all coming together. We were working more as a team."


Now she has a team of friends and family helping her recover. Bella, who plays travel-ball for the Firecrackers, has a lot of support. During the Women's College World Series in early June, Firecrackers alumni like Jessica Shults and Allee Allen (Oklahoma), as well as Elia and Jamia Reid (Cal), wear armbands or paint Bella's initials on their face in support.

More recently, Bella watched on CBS College Sports Thursday night as the Firecrackers were participating in a tournament in Colorado. Her teammates wore wristbands that said "Strength, love and honor" along with Bella's travel-ball No. 18, as well as ribbons in their hair supporting Bella. They were interviewed during the game by a reporter and explained their support for Bella, said her mother, Tiffany Etchegoyen.

It may not be too long until Bella's back on the diamond. Doctors told Etchegoyen that as long as Bella puts in the work she could be back on a softball field in a matter of months.

"She's getting up on her own and walking, doing things on her own," Etchegoyen said. "We want to make sure on top of that, she does a little extra. The worst thing you can do with a teenager is let them lay around, because they get lazy."

Etchegoyen knows motivation won't be an issue with her daughter. It never has been, in any phase of her life.

When Bella was in the hospital she got a visit from her friend, Cheyanne Tarango of Canyon High. It was a day after the Tennessee-bound pitcher had suffered a brutal loss in the CIF Southern Section Division I championship game. Tarango gave up a walk-off grand slam as Santiago of Corona defeated Canyon, 4-1.

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