Athlete of the Week: Allee Noble

Allee Noble started playing softball at age 7. (Allee Noble/Submitted)

Sometime around Labor Day, Allee Noble will learn about “indoor facilities.” That’s because the senior leader of the Canyon Del Oro softball team will attend Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, on an athletic scholarship.

The weather in Muncie will quickly turn cold after she arrives in Indiana. While she and her Dorado teammates were getting ready for the start of the season by practicing in unseasonably cold Tucson temperatures in the high 50s for this season’s play, Ball State students were “enjoying” a high of 38 in February. The average low temperature doesn’t get above freezing until April.

Noble doesn’t mind.

“That’s OK,” she said in an upbeat manner. “They have a really good indoor facility.”

Noble is the catcher on a loaded Dorado team that is looking to get back to the state championship game again this year. (They lost in a slugfest, 10-7, to archrival Salpointe in last year’s title game.) She said that she has always played catcher, going back to when she started playing softball at age 7.

“I was the only one willing to wear all that catcher’s equipment in the 110-degree heat, but I figured if I was the only one, I would get to play all the time and never get subbed out.”

Being a star catcher has other perks, as well. She makes a little money on the side giving catching lessons to younger players.

Around age 13, she became a slap hitter, taking advantage of her being a left-handed hitter and her wheels. (In a broad generality, catchers in both baseball and softball are not known for their foot speed, but there are exceptions.) “I’ve really been working on getting out of the (batter’s) box and getting down the baseline fast.”

The two-word phrase that is holding most of her attention is “state championship.” Her squad came tantalizingly close to winning one last year and she would like nothing more than to end her high school career with a title. The Dorados were clearly one of the best teams in the entire state last year. They lost an early season tournament game to Class 6A power Desert Vista. They then went 16-2 in the regular season, but both losses were to Salpointe (by a combined score of 21-4).

They advanced to the state tournament and won their first four games by a combined score of 42-7. (Three of the four games were shortened due to the mercy rule.) It all came down to the state championship game at the UA’s storied Hillenbrand Stadium.

“It was really frustrating,” she recalled. “We had so many chances to take control of the game. I mean, we scored seven runs. Every other game last year where we scored at least seven runs, we won.”

While she and her teammates don’t like losing to Salpointe, they do enjoy the intensity of the matchups. “There’s just this incredible feeling in the atmosphere when we play them. It’s like the best against the best. I look forward to playing them again this year and this time coming out on top.”

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