Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Derry’s Isabella DePalma

Sunday, December 4, 2022 | 2:49 PM

Last season, Derry’s softball team turned in one of the more memorable performances of the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

After struggling to a 3-10 overall record in the regular season, Derry nearly knocked off a Southmoreland team that went 14-5, losing by a score of 5-4.

“We knew we put up a good fight,” catcher Isabella DePalma said.

DePalma, who recently signed a letter of intent to play at Pitt-Johnstown, is the daughter of John DePalma, the team’s coach.

She has hit over .500 at the plate the past two years (.564 and .515, respectively), along with 29 total RBIs during her sophomore and junior years. Last year, she hit four home runs.

In recent history, Derry’s program has struggled with numbers, but DePalma has no issue with the size of the team’s roster.

“I’m glad we have those 15 or 16 girls who make that commitment,” DePalma said. “There were some who didn’t want to follow up with it.”

Though DePalma is a proven player on the softball field, she was also a standout outside hitter for the volleyball team, getting chosen to play in the inaugural WCCA All-Star Girls Volleyball Match.

The selection is not an honor DePalma takes lightly.

“I felt honored that people knew the hard work I was putting into that sport,” DePalma said. “I was really proud of myself to get that achievement and to be part of the first-ever match.”

DePalma also has a 4.0 GPA and was part of the homecoming court. She talked about how hard she works outside of the sports realm.

“I’ve always been a good student, and that’s one of the main things I focus on,” DePalma said. “Academics always come first.”

Before her final season starts, DePalma took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get started with softball?

I started when I was 8 or 9 with rec (recreational league). I really enjoyed it, so I started with a local travel team and really excelled. I started going to bigger organizations, and I’ve traveled and I really started to love it.

What do you hope to see out of the team this season?

I’m expecting better. We have some good freshmen coming up, and our offense will be way better. I’m hoping we can pull through, get that playoff spot and, hopefully, advance further than last year.

How do you think you’ve done the last few seasons, and do you have any goals for the upcoming one?

Some goals I have is that I want to hit over 10 home runs. That’s always been a goal of mine. I want to be that good-hitting catcher. I always want to be a great leader to the team. I’ve always wanted to be that good senior that helps people and that people love. I want to be a good helper to younger girls to make sure they keep with the sport and help better the program even if I’m not there.

What kind of emotions are you going through, knowing this will be your last season under your dad’s coaching?

It’s going to be hard. From what I could remember, he’s always been my coach. He’s always been there. It’s going to be an adjustment, but I think it will be a good adjustment for me. He has my sister coming up, so he can have fun with that.

What went into your decision to attend Pitt-Johnstown?

All the stress was off my shoulders pretty early. Pitt-Johnstown, I thought, was the right fit for me. It had a great nursing program, and it allowed me to do both. Most colleges don’t let us do both, with both the nursing program and softball, because the program is so demanding and time consuming. I’m glad that the coach allowed me to do both, and there’s other nursing majors on the team. I’ll be able to reach out if I need help, and I can be comfortable, to make sure I can do both.

What is one thing that people may not know about you?

I love to read. I’ve never been a reader, but over the past year, I’ve picked up reading. I love it, and I do it during the free time that I have and it relaxes me. My favorite has been the Harry Potter series.


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