On the big stage, in school and softball

Nylah Beauchamps (center) receives congratulations from her teammates after a putout to end the inning in the 18th Annual Carpenter Cup Softball Tournament. Photo/Mark Zimmaro
Nylah Beauchamps (center) receives congratulations from her teammates after a putout to end the inning in the 18th Annual Carpenter Cup Softball Tournament. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

Laura Alfaro and Nylah Beauchamps are up for any challenge.

The two Girard Academic Music Program students were key components of the Pioneers’ softball team this spring, and not necessarily at positions they were accustomed to playing. Beauchamps normally plays first or third base but was called in to pitch for GAMP. Alfaro, who also specializes in the infield, came to the rescue to play catcher when the Pioneers needed someone to get behind the plate. The two players became a pretty good battery for the Pioneers this spring.

“I normally play first and third in travel ball, but during my freshman year, my coach Mr. Henderson said we didn’t have a pitcher,” said Beauchamps, a rising senior who lives in Germantown. “I used to pitch at my recreation ball league so I guess I’d give it a go again. I got back into it and now I’m the pitcher.”

Alfaro had a similar story.

“I had to catch for GAMP, which is nowhere near my first position,” said Alfaro, a Port Richmond resident who will be a junior in the fall. “The year before that I was mainly playing first base, but we needed a catcher. So I guess I got the role.”

Both girls selflessly play where they are needed. Their hard work and dedication earned them each a spot on the Philadelphia PCCAF team in the 18th Annual Carpenter Cup softball tournament that was held at FDR Park in South Philly. Philadelphia PCCAF is a mix of players from the Philadelphia Public League, Friends School League and Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.The tournament took place over three days June 19-21 with 16 of the best high school softball conferences in Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware.

“I was pretty excited about it, personally,” Beauchamps said of getting the call. “I was a little unsure of what the environment would be like but it ended up being really supportive and really easygoing. I was really happy when I got selected for this and I’m proud of myself for getting here.”

Philadelphia PCCAF came up winless in its three games of competition, but players enjoyed the experience of playing with and against the area’s best high school softball players. Beauchamps and Alfaro rotated at first base during the tournament, which provided some familiarity to the duo.

“I don’t care where I play, I just want to play softball,” Alfaro said. “Having the honor to play with a bunch of great girls is really amazing. I’m just really happy I got to be here.”

Both girls are used to the big stage as they are both performers at their high school. Beauchamps recently played one of the lead roles as Tracy Turnblad in GAMP’s production of Hairspray.

“I’m getting used to performing,” Beauchamps said. “I just did the musical this year and I was a lead so that was big. It was a really fun experience.”

Alfaro sings and plays guitar. She chose to go to GAMP two years ago because of its combination of music programs and sports.

“I just really wanted to continue my music education,” Alfaro said. “I was looking for something where I could incorporate music and academics evenly and GAMP was a perfect fit for that. But having a softball team and a basketball team was really important, too. And GAMP had both.”

Beauchamps agreed.

“I chose GAMP because it’s a music school,” Beauchamps said. “I’m in love with singing. But then I found out they had a softball team, which was awesome. I was really excited, because not all public schools have a team.”