Philadelphia Academy Charter riding Riley Walker’s arm to success

Since Riley Walker walked in as a freshman, she has served as the starting pitcher on the Philadelphia Academy Charter softball team. Since then, the team has only had one regular season loss.

Since she walked in as a freshman, Riley Walker has been the starting pitcher on the Philadelphia Academy Charter softball team. During that time, she suffered one regular season defeat. PHOTO: EMMA CLARK

When Riley Walker entered high school, she was hoping to have a good softball career.

The Philadelphia Academy Charter School senior came in as an accomplished pitcher, and she was given the ball as soon as she got there.

She was confident in her ability, but still, a freshman pitching against varsity competition could face some growing pains. Still, she expected some success.

Even the biggest optimist wouldn’t have expected what her team has done over the past four years.

“Since I’ve been here, we only lost one regular-season game,” the Oxford Circle resident said. “I really didn’t expect this. Nobody would expect that. We won the championship as a sophomore and had a really good year last year, but lost (in the championship). It’s really been a fun experience.”

A lot of the credit for the Chargers’ success goes to coach John Petrie, who has kept the team focused throughout its run.

The Chargers have talent all over the field, But arguably the biggest reason for their current run has been Walker’s arm.

On the year, in guiding Philadelphia Academy Charter to a 10–0 record, Walker has surrendered just one run.

She’s also been a factor at the plate, hitting .400 on the season.

“I think pitching is my favorite because you control the game,” Walker said. “Softball has been my life since I was 7, and I still love it. I love pitching, I love playing. I play all summer with my club team, but high school softball has been great.”

Walker has been just as good off the field.

She is on student council and works in community service for the school. She also is involved in something that helped her pick her course of study for college.

“We have a special education club where we work with children,” said Walker, who hopes to continue her softball career in college, possibly at Kutztown or East Stroudsburg. “Next year, I want to study special education because you can really help kids. I have fun when I’m helping them. You can teach them a lot and help them have fun at the same time.”

If she goes that route, she’ll almost certainly stay involved in softball.

“I would love to coach somewhere, either high school, rec league or even a club team,” Walker said. “I used to play basketball, but I gave that up because softball is my life. I want to be involved as long as I can.”

Now she’s just working hard with her teammates to prolong her career with Philadelphia Academy Charter.

Winning in the regular season is nice, but winning in the postseason is even nicer.

During her sophomore year, Walker experienced the highest of the high when she and her teammates celebrated the Public League crown. Last year was another strong year, but not winning the final game was tough for the seniors.

This year, Walker is one of the few seniors on the team, and she doesn’t want her final time walking off the field as a Charger to be a bad memory.

She also wants to honor those who proudly wore Philadelphia Academy Charter jerseys before her. Those players will never have the opportunity to hoist a Public League plaque again, but they can be part of a championship.

“I want to win for us, but I really want to do it for the girls who didn’t get a chance to win one last year,” Walker said. “A lot of those girls helped us get better, and if we do win this year, they will have helped us get there. They will have helped us win.

“Winning was the greatest feeling. We had such a great team last year, but we didn’t win. I want to have that feeling again.”

Even if the Chargers don’t get the opportunity to win another one, Walker is proud of what she and her teammates accomplished.

“My four years have been amazing,” Walker said. “We’ve done so much together, and we’ve had so much fun. I think we’re all proud of what we’re doing, and we want to go as far as we possibly can.”