Terry Bernal/Daily Journal
This is how stacked Carlmont softball’s lineup is this season.
On the heels of their eighth straight conference win — and 12th straight dating back to last season — the Scots have five players within two hits of the team lead. Sophomore Kelsey Ching paces the squad with 26 hits, while Rebecca Faulkner, Gabriella Pons and Mariko Kondo each have 25.
Leadoff hitter Jacey Phipps thrust herself into the picture last Thursday with the best game of her varsity career. The sweet-swinging lefty went 4 for 4 with two triples in a 7-3 against Woodside to run her season hits total to 24. And it’s because of the sophomore’s outstanding performance March 24 that she has been named the San Mateo Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“I think we’re really stacked,” Phipps said of the mighty Scots lineup currently hitting for a .376 team batting average. “From one to nine we shouldn’t see any change in pitching because we can all hit the ball well.”
Phipps has started every game in the leadoff spot this season save two, after moving to the top of the lineup midway through her freshman campaign last year. Amid a 2013 season in which she proved a triples machine by pacing the Scots with five three-baggers, Phipps started the year hitting in the No. 8 spot. And that’s where she really got cooking.
“When you hit eighth, you get a lot of pitches to hit,” Phipps said. “So I started doing fairly well. Then they decided to move me up. They tried me in the leadoff spot and I started performing as they thought a leadoff hitter should perform.”
Already having matched her 2013 total in triples, Phipps is really powering the ball this season. She only has one double because she evidently refused to stop at second base when running the bases, having totaled five triples and two home runs thus far. She currently ranks second only to slugging cleanup hitter Pons among Carlmont hitters with a .672 slugging percentage.
“She’s left-handed and she runs well,” Carlmont head coach Jim Liggett said of the reasons why Phipps bats leadoff. “She doesn’t strike out, she makes contact and she’s got some pop in her bat.”
Phipps could very well be leading the team in hits if not for missing three games earlier this season with a concussion. At the Live Oak Tournament March 8 against Gilroy, Phipps took a fastball to the helmet.
“I kind of just fell down,” Phipps said. “She was a fast pitcher and I didn’t have time to react.”
Even though Phipps remained in the game, she experienced dizziness later that evening. Forty-eight hours later, she was diagnosed with a concussion and did not return to the lineup until March 20 for the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division opener at Hillsdale.
“I was actually back for the start of league,” Phipps said. “But I don’t like sitting and watching my team because I feel like I can’t contribute.”
Phipps immediately dispelled any worry of lingering effects from being concussed by promptly contributing, going 2 for 4 in a dramatic 3-1 win over the Knights.
Even though Phipps entered into the 2014 season dreaming of someday playing for Cal, the sophomore committed to San Jose State in February. Phipps said the straight-forward coaching appealed to her.
Now the prolific leadoff hitter just needs to find her missing socks. Phipps showed up for practice Monday wearing a smiley-face sock on the left foot and a heart-patterned sock on the right.
“I don’t have time to match my socks,” Phipps said.
And so long as Phipps keeps racking up multi-hit games, she shouldn’t have to.