This is probably the last year the Chargers’ top pitcher will play in a competitive league, and she’s set her goals high.
Alison Kelble isn’t playing to get a college scholarship.
She’s playing to get a championship.
Kelble is a senior pitcher on the Philadelphia Academy Charter High School softball team, and in all likelihood, this is her final year of playing in a competitive league.
She’s good enough to play for colleges, but next year she wants to focus on her studies.
That makes this year all the more important. This is her final chance to make her mark in the sport she loves at the school she loves.
“I want to win so much this year,” said Kelble, who is the Chargers’ top pitcher in their quest for a perfect season. “We just have a team of girls who are so close. There’s no drama, we just go out and play and have fun. This is the year we really want to win (the Public League championship).”
For Kelble, it would be the perfect way to cap off a great career.
Kelble started playing T-ball with her twin brother, Matt, when they were 5. Both were talented, but she enjoyed the sport more, so she went on to play club ball, which she played until last year.
Club ball is a huge commitment, and she would work hard 12 months a year on her pitching.
Next year, Kelble is headed to Holy Family, where she will study nursing, so she’s decided to focus all her attention on her studies.
“My mom is a nurse, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Kelble said. “I know it’s hard. She had to work hard for it. I just want to focus on that, which means there won’t be any time to play softball.”
If she has to go out, she’s going out in the perfect way. Along with Kelble, there are three other seniors on the Philadelphia Academy Charter softball team who have been working together for years, even before they got to high school, when they were on the school’s younger team.
Catcher Brianna Donaghy, shortstop Hannah Higgins and third baseman Madison Madera have all had the same goal since they started playing together. This is their last chance to make that dream a reality.
“We love playing together and I think that helps so much,” Kelble said. “We just go out and have fun. There’s no drama, there’s nothing but playing together, helping each other and trying to win together.
“We are good friends. We have gotten closer every year and now we’re trying to win for each other. We all want to leave here with a championship.”
The goal has been identified, but it work still has to be done.
The Chargers are one of three teams atop the Public League standings. The others are Central, which Philadelphia Academy defeated early in the season, and Franklin Towne Charter, the defending champs, which defeated the Chargers 7–5 last week. Earlier in the season, Central knocked off Franklin Towne, which gives each team one loss.
“It was great to beat Central because they’re the team that beat us in the playoffs,” Kelble said. “All of the teams are good. We want to win because it would mean a lot to win when there are good teams out there.”
If they do win, it could very well come down to pitching. And Kelble has the stuff to carry the Chargers to victory.
She maintains a 2.24 earned run average and she is also helping herself at the plate, hitting a ridiculous .704.with four doubles and a triple.
“Things are going really well for us this year,” the Academy Gardens resident said. “A lot of players on the team are having good years. That makes it better because we’re all doing our part. There’s pressure to win it this year, but we like playing under pressure.
“We really want to win the championship this year because it’s our last chance, but we’re doing our best. We’re playing really well together.”
Because she’s focusing on school in college, Kelble realizes this is her final chance. But she also knows she could always change her mind when she sees how much work she’ll have to put in at college.
Never say never.
“I could go back, maybe,” Kelble said. “But becoming a nurse is really important to me. I want to work with kids and be a pediatric nurse. I babysit a lot and I love working with kids and get along with them.”
The other reason she wants to be a nurse? She knows how rewarding it is.
“My mom is a great nurse, and she’s able to go to all of my games, she plans her schedule around my games,” Kelble said. “My dad can’t get to every game, he’s a cop, but my mom always is. I think it would be great to be a nurse because that’s what she does.”