By Jashvina Shah

Last year, before the Bordentown Regional High School softball season started, Amelia Ditolvo sometimes couldn’t practice because of tendonitis and shoulder pain.

Watching her teammates on the field while she was stuck on the bench was frustrating for the then-freshman.

“That was the biggest challenge for me because I never had been deprived of the game I love because I had to sit out, watch practices sometimes in ice,” Ditolvo said. “It’s just hard because I wanted to be out there and practice, so it was a good mental challenge.”

But challenges are not an issue for Ditolvo, Bordentown head coach Hillary Allen said.

“She doesn’t let a challenge get in her way. Any challenge, she finds a way to overcome them,” Allen said.

Ditolvo returned to the team that season, where she took 69 at bats and finished with a .377 average, 26 hits and 10 RBI. Ditolvo’s 10 RBI ranked fifth on the team, and she was the only player with a home run last season.

She practices now as a sophomore with that same mindset, which has helped her to a career-high .492 batting average, which ranks second on the team this season. Ditolvo also racked up 30 hits, second on the team, and 19 RBI, which leads Bordentown.

“Her freshman year she was just incredible [and] she hit really well last year, but her hitting this year has been incredible, throughout the whole entire season,” Allen said. “And she’s been batting great for us … she’s been really successful. I really loved to see her growth in her hitting, especially this year.”

Ditolvo focuses on taking quality repetitions, sometimes practicing the same skill hundreds of times after practice.

“She just always wants to do better, it’s like if she dives for a ball and misses the ball by an inch, she’s going to practice that for 100 more [times] where she has the opportunity to practice getting the extra ball,” Allen said.

As a pitcher, Ditolvo is one of four Bordentown players who frequents the mound. She’s pitched in 37 innings this year, with 44 strikeouts and a 5-0 record. She’s allowed a team-best two earned runs.

“She has unbelievable control as a pitcher, no matter what pitch I call I know she’s going to hit that spot, and her composure on the mound is incredible as well,” Allen said.

But because Bordentown rotates its four pitchers, Ditolvo often plays elsewhere on the field, including shortstop.

“She can play anywhere, which is incredible,” Allen said. “If you were to move her all over the field, she can hit, she can play shortstop, I think that that about her is amazing. She is such a team player that she’ll do whatever it takes for the team to be successful. I think those qualities in Amelia makes her so successful, so willing to do anything for her team. She’s just a really great athlete.”

Ditolvo has pitched seven or more innings in four of the seven games she’s pitched in. In two games against Burlington Township, Ditolvo struck out 13 and 14 batters over seven innings in each game.

“She’s really excited when she’s on the mound but she’s also really excited when she’s in the field, so there’s no hesitation whether she’s pitching, whether she’s at shortstop,” Allen said. “She’s just happy to be there with her team and to help her team any way possible.”

Ditolvo is vocal on the field, especially at shortstop.

“You’ll see her help the others on the field, she’s really a vocal person on the field,” Allen said. “And then pitching-wise as well, you have the ball in your hand so you kind of set the pace for the whole entire team. She takes on that leadership role as well, so her composure through her positive attitude throughout the game.”

Her positive attitude extends off the field, contributing to the team’s chemistry this season. Allen said she always has a smile on her face that rubs off on her teammates.

Ditolvo is the same away from the diamond, too.

“Off the field she really pushes herself in her academics and has a lot of friends from softball, too,” Allen said. “The whole team chemistry is awesome because all of them are not only friends on the field but they’re friends off the field as well.”

Ditolvo began pitching when she was 10 years old, joining the Bordentown Bandits. She can still remember what she ate the morning of her first tournament and the ritual of putting on her uniform. But her strongest memory was from a tournament when she was 10 years old.

“One of my teammates, her shoes were melting and it was so hot,” she said. “I bunted the ball and I ended up getting either a triple, I think it was … a home run off of the bunt because there were quite a few errors but I was happy because it was my first home run.”

Not long after, Ditolvo was introduced to the pitcher’s mound.

“I love the intensity of softball in general, but the intensity when you have really tough situations on the mound,” Ditolvo said. “It’s great to be able to be in control of them. That’s what I like most, when you have a 3-2 count, two outs and you need to strike some girl out, and especially when you do, it’s just a great feeling.”