Higgins reflects on memorable PACs career

Higgins has been making things happen her entire career, and Philadelphia Academy Charter has been rolling along because of it.

Hannah Higgins was one of the best hitters in the Public League this year, batting .545. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Hannah Higgins says she was lucky.

Anyone who watched her play at Philadelphia Academy Charter High School the past four years would say luck had nothing to do with it.

Higgins was one of the top softball players in the Public League this year, and she’s been contributing to the Chargers program since she entered the high school four years ago. As soon as she arrived, they found a spot for her. And she was a key player right from the start.

“When I was a freshman, a lot of the freshmen would play just a little, but I was lucky enough to play center field,” said Higgins, who recently graduated from the school. “Then my second year, I played a little at third base and I played catcher for most of the year. Then they put me at shortstop.

“They had a really good shortstop when I was a freshman, but I was happy to play there when she graduated. That’s my favorite position because you get to be the leader of the infield and make things happen.”

Higgins has been making things happen her entire career, and Philadelphia Academy Charter has been rolling along because of it.

This year, the Chargers advanced to the Public League semifinals. They also qualified for the PIAA state tournament in the Class 2A bracket, where their season came to an end following a 13–0 loss to Minersville.

The end of the season was sad for Higgins and her teammates, especially the seniors who carried the program the last four years, but not because they were upset they lost. Sure, it would have been nice to graduate with a Public League crown and it would have been just as cool to leave with a state championship, but the reason the girls were sad was because it brought the end of a great era of softball at the school.

Sure, the team will be good next year and be in contention for a championship, but Higgins and her fellow graduates will not be there.

“I’m going to miss everything about this team, we were so close, we are all best friends and will be, but it will be hard not playing with them,” said Higgins, who hit .545 with eight doubles and two home runs. “I knew this year was going to be really good because the seniors worked hard to get here. The other girls did, too. But I’m really proud of what we did. We wanted to win, but every year we had to fight to get better. We never gave up, and we did it together.”

The Chargers clearly had a lot of talent. Led by the seniors Higgins, Brianna Donaghy, Alison Kelble and Madison Madara, known collectively as the “Fab Four,” Philadelphia Academy Charter came into the season on the heels of two straight appearances in the Public League finals. But what drove them to play hard wasn’t the thrill of winning. It was the thrill of winning together.

“We wanted to win, more for each other,” Higgins said. “The school is so close, we are all friends, but my best friends are on the softball team. We’ve gotten close by playing together.

“I’m going to miss everything about the school, but the thing I’ll miss the most is the people. The teachers and the coaches, all of them really care about us. I think we all cared a lot because they cared so much. We wanted to do well because we wanted to do well together, as a team and as a school.”

Next year, Higgins will take that attitude to the University of the Sciences, where she will continue her softball career. Playing softball at that level will be a challenge, but that’s something Higgins enjoys.

She’ll also challenge herself in the classroom. She intends on majoring in pharmacy and plans on leaving the school in six years with a doctorate in pharmacy.

“Chemistry is one of my favorite subjects, I love chemistry and science,” Higgins said. “And I really like to help people. I thought about being a doctor, but I just can’t deal with broken bones. And chemistry helped me decide on pharmacy.

“Pharmacy is tough, but it gives you a chance to help people and make a difference. I thought about it and it seemed like the perfect fit.”

The school was a perfect fit, as far as academics go.

It was just as perfect in terms of softball.

“They have a great coach and last year they were very young,” Higgins said. “They have a lot of good freshmen coming in, too. I was excited when I talked to them. I think it will be a great place for school and a great place for softball. It was a perfect fit.”