Coach Jim Liggett built a softball empire at Carlmont High School, and his legacy includes seven Central Coast Section championships to go along with five runner-up finishes.
But in 2010, Liggett’s team snuck into the CCS playoffs with 15 wins and was ousted in the first round. Liggett said it was the worst his team had ever done.
“The community expects softball to be fighting for a championship,” Liggett said.
Ligget has been at Carlmont since 1967 and coaching softball since 1976. But after all that time, his coaching philosophy has not changed much.
“We still believe in fundamentals, working hard, making sure the kids are prepared,” said Liggett, although he has changed his approach as the generations have gone by. “I’ve gotten a little more lenient over the years.”
The Scots (14-4, 6-1 Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division) got an infusion of young talent for the 2011 season and it has paid immediate dividends.
Five underclassmen have made huge impacts.
“We knew we had young pitchers coming in and knew they’d be good if we gave them support,” Liggett said.
Freshman pitcher Danielle Giuliacci has a team-high six wins with a 1.56 ERA in her first 10 games. Not to be outdone, sophomore Taylor Yzaguirre took over the starting catcher duties and is carrying a .300 batting average.
Freshmen Gabriella Pons, who leads the team in RBIs, and Rebecca Faulker have also made major
Carlmont last reached a CCS championship game in 2007. They followed that season by reaching the CCS semifinals in 2008.
Then the Scots were dropped in the quarterfinals in 2009 before being routed 10-0 in the first round last season.
The lackluster finishes over the past couple of years has resonated within the returning juniors and seniors.
Janelle Shiozaki, Kelly Robinson and Megan Hansen are all hitting above .300. Hansen, one of only two seniors on the team, is carrying a 1.017 on-base plus slugging.
Junior Aurora Stottler picked up her game and has been clutch out of the bullpen with a 1.91 ERA.
Aragon, Hillsdale and Capuchino all finished ahead of the Scots in the PAL Bay last season and, despite its hot start in league play this year, Carlmont has work left to do.
Hillsdale is Carlmont’s biggest competition for the top spot in the Bay.
Hillsdale won the Bay with a 12-1-1 mark in league last year and took its 20-3-3 record all the way to the CCS Division III semifinals.
Capuchino raced to the CCS Division III championship game after finishing third in the Bay last season. The Mustangs gave Carlmont their first loss this year Thursday.