Getting to Know…Hilary Phillips
We recently wrote about JSU freshman softball pitcher Hilary Phillips’ performance in the UAB game…pitching in relief and striking out 3 straight batters with runners on 2nd and 3rd base. This week, we got a chance to sit down with Hilary to get to know her better.
Before beginning the conversation, it would be good to take a brief look at Hilary’s high school career. Hilary was named Alabama’s Miss Softball in 2009 after finishing her career as the state’s all-time leader in wins (194), strikeouts (2,463), no-hitters (34) and shutouts (94). She was 28-3 as a senior, striking out 308 batters in only 168 innings. Ten of those 28 wins were shutouts, and two were perfect games. On top of that, she was an honor student and was valedictorian of her class at Ider High School.
Q: How did you decide to come to JSU?
A: I decided my junior year of high school that this is where I wanted to go to college. I wanted to be able to stay close to home. I knew JSU would be close and my family could see me play. When I took a close look at the softball program here, saw how successful they were, and how great the coaches were, I decided that this is where I wanted to be.
Q: What is the biggest difference you’ve seen from high school to college softball?
A: The biggest difference I’ve seen is the strong line-ups we face as pitchers. You can’t miss your spots. The line-ups are strong all the way down the line-up. Anyone can hurt you if you’re not focused.
Q: Did you play any other sports in high school?
A: I played basketball and volleyball. I was a setter in volleyball but I quit volleyball to focus on softball in 10th grade. I was a point guard in basketball. We had a good team that went to the state playoffs.
Q: What is it like being on this softball team?
A: We’re a very close team. Everyone gets along great. We spend just about all of our time together. I definitely spend more time with the team now than my family.
Q: What’s the high point of the season so far for you?
A: Probably the UAB game last week when I pitched in the last inning. It was a close game.
Q: UAB had runners on 2nd and 3rd base, and no one out. What were you thinking when you came in to pitch?
A: My pitching coach told me “Don’t look nervous”. I was trying not to look nervous and just focus on the hitter. Having runners on 2nd and 3rd just made the situation even better. That’s the high point so far as an individual. Team goals are more important though. When we win as a team means even more.
Q: That was a great game. You appeared to be very focused. What is your best pitch?
A: Probably my fastball. I’ve been able to hit the corners, and location is as important as speed.
Q: Ashley Eliasson has pitched in some big games for JSU. Have you learned from her?
A: It’s great having Ashley as a teammate. I’ve learned a lot from her. She’s faced other teams in our conference and helps me by telling me about their batters. She helps a great deal by helping me with pitch location to batters. She’s a great teammate.
Q: You’ve pitched to your teammates in practice. Who is the toughest hitter for you?
A: It’s hard to say. They are all great hitters. I’ll just have to say that they are all tough.
Q: Have you decided on a major yet?
A: Not officially, but I would really like to major in nursing.
Q: What is something about you that most people may not know?
A: (After a long pause) Most people don’t know that I have an obsession about tags. (What kind of tags are you talking about, I ask.) It’s the tags in the back of shirts. I have to rip them out. It’s just an obsession for me.
We are looking forward to seeing Hilary pitch the rest of this season and for the next 3 years. She’s a great example of the student-athlete at JSU. We wish you success at JSU and beyond, Hilary. We hope to talk with you again soon.
Special thanks to jsufan.com for the photo. Everyone should go to his website to see all the pictures he takes at JSU events.