Cherry Hill West grad Bella Sylvester excelling for McDaniel softball

by Marc Narducci | Apr 26, 2023
Cherry Hill West grad Bella Sylvester excelling for McDaniel softball
Bella Sylvester started hitting as soon as she began her college softball career and hasn’t stopped since. Sylvester, a Cherry Hill West graduate, is a sophomore at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.

 Her team competes in the Division III Centennial Conference, against the likes of local teams such as Swarthmore, Haverford and Ursinus.

A catcher and a third baseman, Sylvester burst on the scene last season as a freshman, batting .409, with 47 hits.

She began this week hitting .303 but has been a bigger run producer, with 20 RBI, compared to 12 last season. She had started the first 31 games this season for the Green Terrors.

“It’s a great environment here,” Sylvester said after her team split a weekend doubleheader at Swarthmore. “The coaches challenge us to the best of our ability, and I have great teammates who push me to be my best.”

Growing up, she played virtually all positions in softball, with the exception of pitcher, but she wasn’t very familiar with third base.

In a short time, she has excelled on defense at third and also behind the plate. Frequently she will play third base in one game and catch another when her team plays doubleheaders.

McDaniel coach Phil Smith said his staff scouted Sylvester while she was playing summer ball. He said he had high expectations for Sylvester as a freshman and she exceeded them.

“She had 47 hits last year, we didn’t expect that,” Smith said. “She is a smart player, makes good contact and she is working on things to be even a more complete player and she is also a really good base runner, very intelligent.”

What Smith likes most is her work ethic.

‘She works so hard and is one of those kids who is the first one in and the last one to leave.” Smith said. She is always working on her game.”

Sylvester was a three-sport athlete at Cherry Hill West, also playing field hockey and basketball in addition to softball.

She was able to earn 12 varsity letters. “Playing multiple sports helped me in my softball game,” she said. “It helped me keep focused.”

McDaniel began the week 10-21 and 3-9 in the Centennial Conference, but the Green Terrors have been part of some tough losses. Three of its conference defeats have been by two runs or fewer.

Smith bats Sylvester second in the lineup behind speedster Katy Newton. Sylvester is the prototypical No. 2 hitter, who makes contact but also shows some pop in her bat. This season she has seven extra-base hits, six doubles and a triple.

“I love hitting second, I could bunt, hit, just to move (Newton) around the bases and then I have a great hitter Evie (Craig) behind me who I really trust.”

The offense has been strong this season. The Green Terrors began the week with a .298 batting average and Sylvester, with a .361 on-base percentage, has certainly done her share to make the offense click.

More importantly, she loves being part of a college program and a key contributor. Less than halfway through her career, she has 80 hits and with eight more regular season games, plenty of time to add to her impressive offensive totals.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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