Editor’s note: Today, Gig Harbor Now launches its Prep Outlook, an occasional feature on standout high school athletes from the area.
To say that pitcher Alli Kimball has had a phenomenal season is still somehow an understatement.
The junior from Peninsula High (17-1) compiled a 13-1 record with three no-hitters, two perfect games and a 0.52 earned run average. She recently was nominated for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award. In her career at Peninsula, she has faced 581 batters and struck out half of them.
She can hit, too. She owns a .492 batting average, a .569 on-base percentage and has four home runs and 23 RBI this year.
Peninsula’s Alli Kimball has a 13-1 record with three no-hitters, two perfect games and a 0.52 earned run average on the season. Bryce Carithers
But with all of those accomplishments, she remains very down-to-Earth, preferring to give credit rather than take it. She says her family — parents Joe and Shari Kimball and brothers Cody, 23, and Joey, 19 — helps keep her grounded.
Kimball’s love of sports and appreciation of team dynamics started when she was a child, watching Cody play football for Peninsula. It was nurtured by her father, who owns Kimball’s Hands-on Detailing in Gig Harbor.
“He always encouraged me and taught me that nothing in life is guaranteed, to work hard for your goals and to stay humble,” Alli said.
Shari has been a constant supporter of her daughter. Alli Kimball credits her with “always being behind me and giving me confidence.”
One of the biggest inspirations in Alli’s life has been her brother Joey, who has autism.
Alli Kimball of Peninsula High School Bryce Carithers
“He’s the best big brother a girl could have, he’s at every game of mine and brings such joy to my life,” Alli said. “When I see how happy he gets when we win, he’s always rooting for us.”
Alli jumped at the chance to play alongside Joey on the Seahawks’ universal basketball team. She was inspired by how well he did, how hard he played and how competitive he was during the season, especially knowing first-hand how difficult life has been for him.
In the pitchers circle, Alli has a calm yet determined demeanor. She’s not going to pump her fist and yell when she strikes out a batter or hits a home run.
Asked about why she likes pitching she said: “ I like to be in control of the game and I like the exact moment of getting the victory.”
She credits three people for her on-field demeanor.
Her father, Joe, taught her confidence and command, often reminding her to “run the whole field, every single game, every single pitch.”
Her youth instructor, Mark Anderton, began coaching Alli when she was 10 years old and stressed the importance of having a high softball IQ. Anderton taught her what she needed to be thinking about before every pitch and at-bat.
And third, her current Seahawk coach Mike Paul.
“Coach Paul always is behind me, for example when I gave up a home run last week, he told me it was his fault for calling the wrong pitch,” Alli said. “It was my fault because of where I located the pitch, but he still tried to take the blame. He believes in me.”
Paul raves about Kimball’s ability.
“She’s by far the best pitcher I’ve had here as either an assistant or as the head coach,” he said. “I have to catch for her in practice sometimes and her movement on the ball is incredible. It’s difficult to catch her because she throws so hard and can move the ball left or right, high or low and if you’re not quick you won’t catch it. If I drew a dot on the catcher’s mitt she could hit it 9 out of 10 times, she’s that good.”
Gig Harbor head coach Jim Peschek said of Kimball: “Alli is an elite pitcher. I have had the opportunity to watch her pitch over the last few years, in both travel ball and in high school, and she is a fantastic pitcher and all-around player.”
Alli Kimball credits her parents and several coaches with helping her achieve success at the plate and as a pitcher. Bryce Carithers
Kimball didn’t want this article to be “all about me.”
She deflected praise onto several teammates, including senior Aislinn O’Reilly, who shares the team lead with 24 RBI and hit a three-run home run to beat Gig Harbor last week.
Kimball also praised sophomore Malia Coit, who leads the team with a .534 batting average, 31 hits and is a “stud outfielder.” And freshman Ava Miranda, who also has 24 RBI.
Reminded that we’re doing a feature on her she says: “I know, but we should all get the attention.”
One moment that briefly stopped her from praising her teammates was when she was asked about being nominated for the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award. She had been unaware of the honor.
“My gosh, I had no idea,” she said when told of the nomination. “This season has been so unbelievable, with the SSC championship, the perfect games and now this, I can’t believe it …. I’m grateful.” Finally after a long pause she said quietly, “I’m proud.”
Someone else who is grateful is Western Washington University fastpitch coach Sheryl Gilmore, who landed a verbal commitment from Kimball to play ball for the Vikings after high school.
When you throw no-hitters, perfect games and are nominated for national awards, big Division I programs find you and compete for your services. But the Division II Vikings offered Kimball exactly what she was looking for
“Coach Gilmore was very welcoming and made me feel part of the WWU family right away,” Kimball said. “Being valued is what’s most important to me and that’s how she made me feel.”
It doesn’t hurt that Gilmore is an up-and-coming young coach who graduated as a Viking and majored in the same area that Kimball wants to study: kinesiology.
What if a team from the Pac-12 or SEC offered her a scholarship?
“I would listen but I would still go to Western,” she said. “It’s beautiful, has my major choice, is close enough for my family to see me pitch and their coach values me, that’s all I need.”
Kimball and the Seahawks are the top seed in the District 3/4 Class 3A fastpitch tournament, scheduled to take place May 19 and 21 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
The Seahawks’ first game is set for 2 p.m. Thursday, May 19. Gig Harbor, the No. 8 seed to districts, opens against Bonney Lake at noon on May 19.
Alli Kimball of Peninsula High School is 13-1 on the mound as a pitcher, but she contributes at the plate, too. Bryce Carithers
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