Stepping into the batter’s box, the softball player evens out the dirt and covers some of the front line to edge closer to the pitcher, who stares in at the catcher to get the sign. The pitcher shakes off a few signs, then decides. In comes the pitch, she swings and connects with the ball, sending it sailing over the fence. This scene is quite familiar for freshman softball outfielder Giselle “Gigi” Jimenez and her teammates.
Jiminez leads the state in three statistical categories with a batting average of .660, eight home runs, and 37 RBI’s for a team that is currently 14-3 and ranked No. 10 in Northern California.
She started playing softball when she turned seven and credits her father, Raul Jimenez, with her success.
“I look up to my dad. He has played baseball his whole life, and everything that I really know is because of him,” Gigi said.
Her coach attributes her success to all the hard work and practice that she puts in.
“Gigi is a special athlete, because the kid comes and works hard every single day,” head coach Lisa Delgado said. “I never have to tell her to put her ‘game face’ on. She just shows up ready to go.”
Her teammates have fond memories of Jimenez.
“Everyday is a favorite moment with Gigi, she always has her energy up and she is such a great player to play with,” infielder Sara Dodge said.
The greatest strength Jimenez possesses is the encouraging energy she brings to the team.
“The greatest attribute is her ability to smile, like all the time, and, no matter what, she always has that positive presence, because even when she’s struggling, you don’t ever know,” Delgado said.
She came to ARC after playing at Christian Brothers High School.
“I had an opportunity between Sac City and AR,” Jiminez said. “They were both looking at me to play, and I came here and liked how they form the team like a family.”
Her future plans include transferring to a four-year university, nowhere in particular, when she is done with her time at American River, so she can finish pursuing her nursing degree.
So far, she has loved her time playing for ARC.
“I feel like the coaches are really positive. They try to do everything they can to help you,” Jiminez said. “The teachers are great, and I’ve met a lot of great people.”