Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
Legends and Legacy Softball has the honor of interviewing Isabella Melley, an elite 2025 graduate who plays on the Tampa Mustangs - Torres team and is a member of the Peruvian National Softball Team.
We caught-up with Isabella, the rising star middle infielder and outfielder, when she had a break from her busy schedule and she was very gracious in answering our questions.
Good evening, Isabella. Welcome back from your team travels to Peru and the surrounding regions. We appreciate your time and kindness in allowing us to share your story. What readers enjoy knowing is the background of the person. So lets learn a little about you.
How long have you played softball/baseball?
Isabella: I started playing boys baseball when I was 6 years old and then started to play softball when I was 7 years old. I played both sports until middle school and then continued playing softball only.
Why do you play softball?
Isabella: I play softball because I love the game and I love competing. I also love the social aspect of it, especially the friendships that I have been able to make throughout the years in all my teams. It’s like a big extended family. It has also opened up so many opportunities and experiences for me, like traveling to places I would normally not have an opportunity to go to.
Who is your role model or hero and why?
Isabella: My role model and hero is my dad, because he always puts his family first and tries to do everything he can to make us happy. He has also been a very important part of my softball journey, always taking me to my practices, lessons, and tournaments, and making sure I have all the tools I need to succeed.
Favorite softball or baseball player?
Isabella: My favorite softball player is Kirsti Merritt. I first met her at a Gator Camp when I was 9 years old. She was always so positive and full of energy and I loved the way she always played the game with a smile on her face. My favorite baseball player is Ichiro. He always played the game 100% and had an amazing arm.
What is your softball dream/goal?
Isabella: My softball dream and goal is to one day play in the Women’s College World Series.
How and why did you become a player on the Peruvian team?
Isabella: My mom is Peruvian, so my parents thought it would be a great opportunity for me to connect with my mother’s heritage and country, while also being able to compete against some of the best players in the world at events like the Pan-American Games and the World Cup. My mom sent some video of me to the Peruvian Softball Federation and they contacted my mom and told her that they liked what they saw and if I would be willing to come to Peru to train with the team. So, in January 2020, we went to Peru and practiced with the U18 Team and they offered me a spot on their roster. After playing my first tournament (Mexico Cup) with them in Mexico City, they invited me to play at the 15U Sudamericana Games in Ecuador, which I just finished, the Pan-American Games in Barranquilla, Colombia in November 2021, and the World Cup in Lima-Peru in December 2021.
How were the personalities, camaraderie and sportsmanship for your team and your opponents?
Isabella: In Peru, softball is a sport that they are trying to build and grow to be able to compete with the dominant teams like United States, Canada, Japan, etc. My teammates on the Peruvian Team are the most welcoming and passionate players I have ever been around. Everyone involved in that program is 100% invested in elevating the game of softball in Peru. My teammates play with such passion and emotion that they are almost always the loudest cheering team on the fields. There is great comradery and sportsmanship between my teammates. The sportsmanship between the teams we have played so far, has also been amazing. I have even met several players from the United States that play for the Mexican and Colombian teams and they have been very supportive of each other.
How was the food, lodging, travel, and Gameday atmosphere?
Isabella: On my trip the food and lodging were a great experience for me because I got to see the different types of foods that other countries eat and how they live. They have the teams stay, eat, and travel together, which is a great way to learn about other cultures. The gameday experience at the fields were some of the best experiences I’ve had. The local people were so friendly and welcoming to all the teams and players. They were constantly singing and cheering and playing music during all the games.
What was your favorite game memory?
Isabella: My favorite game memory was when we beat Brazil and became the champions of the Sudamericana (South American Games).
What were your favorite memories of the trip? What will you miss the most and cherish always?
Isabella: My favorite memories of the trip were interacting with all the local people at the fields every day. Even though a lot of them didn’t have some of the things we have here in the United States, they were such a friendly and happy community. They cheered us on, got us to try their local foods, and basically created a party atmosphere at the fields every day. The thing I’ll miss the most and cherish always, is the friendship I made with a seven-year-old little girl that lived across from the field. She came every day to watch my games and gave me a big hug after each game. On the last day she brought me a gift and we exchanged necklaces. I still communicate with her family.
Your stories are very interesting and enjoyable. You are quite an accomplished player at such a young age and your future is extremely bright. We have no doubt you will achieve your dreams. Thank you very much for sharing your story. Stay frosty.
Isabella: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. The trip was such an awesome experience and I am so thankful for it.