Athlete Spotlight: Seniors Jodi DeHart and Jacob Philpot


Senior Jacob Philpot makes a catch at the edge of the infield. Senior Jodi DeHart fields the ball to get a runner out at second base.

Colleen Starkey, Editor-in-Chief

The batter swings and makes contact with the ball. It bounces into the infield, where the player fields it. He takes the ball from his glove and throws it to first base with accuracy in one quick motion, getting the runner out in the process.

Seniors Jodi DeHart and Jacob Philpot have led their teams while they have been in high school. Both began playing when they were 4 or 5 years old.

Jodi and Jacob are great athletes and great people because they are doers,” athletic director Mike Maddox said. “They show up early and stay late to be the best they can be. They both love what they do and are extremely competitive.”

DeHart started playing softball around the age of 5. Originally, her dad signed her up to play.

“I take pride in playing softball,” DeHart said. “My dad signed me up for t-ball then all my friends started playing select ball so I wanted to do the same.”

Head softball coach Meredith Grant selected Jodi for this spotlight because of her leadership. She was also picked for her ability on the field.

“Jodi has been a leader in our program for four years,” Grant said. “As a freshman she stepped into a leadership role and never looked back. Jodi is a clutch player and when the game is on the line you want a kid like her up to bat. She is confident and handles pressure well.”

DeHart plans to continue playing softball after graduation at Tyler Junior College. She wants to pursue a job in the medical field.

“[My favorite part is] the competitiveness and the fact that if you work hard you get better,” DeHart said. “It shows in your performance on the field.”

Like DeHart, Philpot also began playing baseball at a young age. According to his parents, he always had a ball in his hand.

“[I’ve played baseball] since I was four years old but even before that there’s pictures of me as a newborn with a baseball next to me,” Philpot said. “My parents said that ever since I’ve been able to pick up a baseball that’s just always what I’ve had [in my hand], so I’ve just always been playing baseball.”

Head baseball coach Rich Sanguinetti chose Jacob Philpot for his work ethic. His ability this season was also a factor.

Jacob really stepped up this year on the mound,” Sanguinetti said. “Our top two pitchers got hurt and when things started to look bleak, Jacob took the ball and led our team. [He] is a quiet, reserved kid that works incredibly hard and competes with everything he has. When Jacob is on the mound he turns into a fierce competitor.”

Jacob was recently named the Pitcher of the Year for District 15-5A. He has signed to play college baseball at Eastfield College in Mesquite.

“I played everything in junior high,” Philpot said. “Once I got to high school I just stuck to baseball as my main focus because I knew that’s what I wanted to do in college.”

Both the varsity softball and varsity baseball teams advanced to the playoffs this season in part from the leadership and abilities of DeHart and Philpot, respectively. The softball team fell in the first round to Hallsville, while the baseball team made it to the second round of the playoffs.

“Jodi is gritty and takes time to do the little things that turn into big things,” Maddox said. Jodi brings calm in a tense moment in a game and at the same time can bring the energy that lifts her teammates to play at a higher level. Jacob is a true leader. His competitive nature comes forth every time he is called on in a crucial situation.”