Senior Spotlight: Thomas Jefferson pitcher overcame obstacles to become one of WPIAL’s best

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Sunday, May 24, 2020 | 8:00 AM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bella Bucy was born with a rare, congenital hand condition called symbrachydactyly.

The Thomas Jefferson senior has underdeveloped, shorter fingers on her right hand.

As a result, she was introduced to soccer at a young age so she would not have to use her hands.

Bucy went out and surprised them all.

Her quick reflexes and anticipation shone through and she was moved to, of all positions, goalkeeper.

“So, I gave other sports a try,” she said. “Basketball, volleyball and softball.”

Maybe it was prophetic that softball batted clean-up in that list.

Bucy developed into a talented left-handed pitcher and became a team leader at Thomas Jefferson.

“I never let my hand define who I was as an athlete or stop me from doing what other people could do,” she said. “Now I am going to play college-level softball next year and I couldn’t be happier.”

An IUP recruit, Bucy went 8-4 last season with 69 strikeouts in 81 innings as the Jaguars reached the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals and finished 15-5.

Have you come to terms with the fact you did not have a senior softball season because of the covid-19 scare? What helped you cope?

At first I was in complete shock. Everything I’ve been working so hard for and looking forward to for this year wasn’t going to happen. It was really hard … I even cried. Many of my teammates helped me cope with it. We all had a big team Zoom call with coach Heidi (Karcher) where we all talked and laughed, which helped a lot. Also, everyone in the community is being super supportive and congratulating us seniors, which is awesome as well.

What is your best pitch?

My curve ball.

Who is the toughest batter you have faced?

Jordan Pinneri from Elizabeth Forward. She is committed to play at Cal U next year. I just never knew where to pitch her. She could hit almost anything I threw her.

Who is the toughest opposing pitcher you’ve gone against?

Definitely Carolyn Alincic from Mt. Pleasant. She was a beast on the mound and it was tough being in the box facing her.

What was the last live pro or college sporting event you attended?

A Penguins game this season with some of my friends.

Were you planning to go to any concerts this summer?

Yes, I was planning on going to Kenny Chesney with all my friends. I’m super sad he canceled it.

Any new hobbies you have started during the shutdown?

I wouldn’t say it’s so much of a hobby, but I’ve been running a lot to make sure I’m in shape to play next year at IUP.

Any good luck charms?

I don’t really have any good luck charms except my black and gold bow I wore every game since my sophomore year. I have more superstitions, like wearing the same game day T-shirt, eating the same breakfast on game day and some other things.

What TV show have you binge-watched?

I restarted “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Favorite quarantine meal?

My mom’s homemade tacos and my dad’s stir-fried chicken.

Do you have any secret or unique talents or hobbies?

Taking pictures. I got a camera for Christmas last year and I love going out and taking pictures of my friends.

Do you have a job and have you been working?

I just started door dashing. But once other businesses open back up I am planning on working at a daycare over the summer.

Who is that bundle of joy you’re holding in a couple of your Twitter pics?

That is my baby cousin, Kamden. My cousin, Lindsey, just had him two months ago. I love him so much.

He seems to make you light up?

Yes, he is so precious. I absolutely I adore babies and kids. I’m actually considering majoring in early childhood education at IUP.

Best advice from coach Heidi Karcher?

Coach Heidi has been telling me since I was 6 years old to not only hit the crap out of the ball, but also to leave everything you have out on the field when you play. I will miss playing for her next year.

Who is the most inspirational person in your life?

My mom. As a strong, independent businesswoman, my mom has shown me women can do anything and to always follow your dreams.

What do teammates think of first when they hear Bella Bucy?

Competitive. I hate losing anything. Every single game, I leave everything I have out on the field.

What can you bring to the IUP program?

A new dynamic on the mound. With being a lefty pitcher, I can give batters a different look coming from the left side. Also, I feel like I can bring my winning attitude and hard work ethic.

Any funny stories about coming up in softball?

One time I was playing in a (travel) championship game and it rained the previous night. I was playing in the outfield that game and there was a big puddle in between right field and second base. There was a fly ball hit and I ran to go catch it. I ended up running in the puddle to catch the ball, which had caused me to slip backwards. My back was covered in mud, but I caught the ball so it was worth it.

What is one lasting memory you have from playing at Thomas Jefferson?

Not only all the wins and long playoff runs, but more importantly the friendships and memories that will last me a lifetime. From singing on the bus on the way home from games, to practices before school when we had two-hour delays, and to every single practice and game. I will never forget the memories and laughs that I have made with some of my best friends on and off the field.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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