Editor’s note: The interview took place before Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order to close New Jersey schools.
Kaitlyn Parkin is ready to exchange red and black for green and gold.
Seeking a way for her to continue developing her softball skills and meet new people, she joined the Phillies Urban Youth Academy in 2018 and has been a pitcher since then.
The youth academy was established for children and teens to play either softball or baseball, competitively, without barriers regarding cost of play. According to the Phillies, thousands of youth in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware sign up for the seasonal and year-round programs at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia.
Parkin, a Cherokee High School senior, signed her National Letter of Intent to Mercer County Community College on March 4. She was joined by players Scott Bandura, of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy; Natasha Torres, of Central High School; Myles Eaddy, of Concord High School; and Jared Sprague-Lott, of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy for the youth program’s first signing day.
“When I met you, you said you wanted to go to community (college) and do your two years there and transfer,” Parkin’s coach Carla Hudson shared. “You know your plan and have done nothing but that.”
The Marlton resident had her immediate family members, dad Rick, mom Kathy and younger sister Jennifer as her college plans became official.
The 18-year-old realized a future in elementary education was perfect for her after working in a day care center for the past two years.
“It’s a good experience for me to know what I would be dealing with when I get to college,” Parkin added.
The senior, who is also a member of Cherokee’s chorus, wished she could have participated in more clubs at the high school, but her packed schedule could not allow for other extracurriculars.
Parkin has played on softball travel teams since age 12, motivated by meeting other players and the challenges the teams would present.
“I started playing travel for Marlton and then I realized it was something I wanted to do and got into more professional club teams who would travel farther,” Parkin continued. “Then I realized it was something I enjoyed and I stuck with it.”
The softball player has traveled to North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and other states with her teammates for both tournaments and regular games.
Fostering a love hitting with composite bats, calling the moment “love,” Parkin has a few tricks up her sleeve to throw off opposing hitters.
“I try to throw (curveballs) if I know they’re working that day,” she said. “I always know that my pitches come with who is up to bat and what their strengths and weaknesses are. I base my pitches on how strong or weak the batter is.”
When she is not pitching, Parkin plays midfield, shortstop or second base, adding those positions keep her constantly moving and hustling.
“I feel like it came so fast,” Parkin noted. “I’ve been living in the moment and I’ve — It’s all coming together now and I’m very excited.”