Athlete of the week: Karlie Walker brings stability on offense and defense for the Cavs

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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After enjoying a breakout 2022 campaign with the Callaway softball team, Karlie Walker has followed it up with a strong encore in her junior year with the Cavaliers.

“We just have such great team chemistry,” Walker said. “I’m able to play well when everybody else is playing well too.”

Walker hit .491 with 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored in 27 games a season ago. Through nine games this season, Walker is hitting .391 with nine RBIs. As the Cavaliers start playing a less strenuous schedule over the next couple of weeks, expect Walker’s batting average to climb even higher.

Walker transferred from Manchester to Callaway going into her freshman year of high school. First joining the softball field with her new team was a bit nerve-racking.

“When I first got here I had no idea how things were going to go,” Walker said. “I was scared at first, obviously, but the girls here helped me get used to the new school, and this really feels like the right place for me to be.”

She eventually settled in her freshman year which allowed her to eventually breakout during her second year as a Cavalier. 

Walker was named to first team all-region for region 5-2A last season as well as being named the co-defensive player of the year, a shock to the young Cavalier.

“I about cried,” Walker said, laughing. “I was so proud of myself because I put in the work and the time and it just felt so good to be noticed for that.

“I was shocked that I got it because we came across some good teams with good defensive players and good catchers in our region.”

Walker went from an unknown commodity in her freshman year to one of the most important Cavaliers during her sophomore season. Now as a junior, she is more than just a good player, she is a leader.

“It’s a very big role because when I got here as a freshman I had those leaders to look up to like Chaple (Butler),” Walker said. “She was a real leader for the team, and I want to be just like she was.”

Crouching behind home plate is the only position that Walker knows on the diamond as it is the only position she has played since she started playing rec ball. It is one of the many reasons she is so adept at the position. 

Walker provides the Cavaliers with some real stability behind the plate. Her chemistry with both starting pitchers — Mackenzie Toney and Kaitlyn Williams — is one of the reasons the Cavaliers made the playoffs a season ago and have high aspirations again this year. 

“We want to make it to (the elite eight in) Columbus,” Walker said. “Maybe win a region title too.”

Her chemistry with Toney has been one of the defining relationships on the Cavaliers the last two seasons. Williams is also a junior like Walker, but Toney was just a freshman last season and Walker was the biggest asset for Toney to adjust to the rigors of high school softball.

“They are really good, and I love them to death,” Walker said. “They have really helped me stay locked in and focused during the games.” 

When she is not suiting up for the red and black of the Cavaliers, Walker is playing travel ball. 

Walker eats, sleeps and breathes softball and has now plans to give it up anytime soon.