Capuchino High’s Jamie Navarro likes to stay busy. The three-sport athlete played an important role in the Mustang girls soccer program’s dynamic Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division season in the winter. Now she has led Cap’s softball team into the thick of the PAL Bay Division title race as a catcher with sizzling speed and plenty of pop.
The leadoff batter and her teammates are fresh off over defending champion and league-leading Hillsdale, and the second-place Mustangs enter the final two weeks of the regular season eying a league championship and then take aim at their first Central Coast Section title since 1997.
San Bruno Patch caught up with Navarro, who will play softball at College of San Mateo next year, to learn what’s on her mind with a month left in what has been a standout prep career.
Patch: Congratulations on your team’s huge 2-0 win over Hillsdale on Thursday. Tell us what that victory means for the Mustangs.
Jamie Navarro: It was great. The game before that we weren’t hitting too hot. Usually we always play neck and neck with them. We played clutch defense and two hits were enough to win it, so that was great. … It gets us closer to CCS, which is exciting. It just kind of shows what our team can do.
Patch: You led off the game with a double off Jordan Richwood. Impressive stuff considering she’s a Division I pitcher. How do you prepare yourself to face a pitcher of that caliber right out of the gate?
Navarro: Well, it’s not easy. It’s a really big mind game. I always have trouble against Jordan. I pretty much just got lucky. I waited on a change-up and I just hit it.
Patch: Is Cap more focused on winning a PAL Bay championship or a CCS title?
Navarro: I think we’re focused on both. But I think we’re more focused on a CCS title since we came so close last year. We’re going for CCS. We’re trying to do that.
Patch: You were closer to winning a CCS title than a league crown last year – falling in a heartbreaker to Valley Christian in the Division III final. Is it easier to win the PAL Bay or CCS?
Navarro: Ooh. Huh. I don’t know. Last year we worked really hard throughout the season, and we got to CCS and we were so pumped. I think they’re both really a challenge because you have to take both one game at a time and hope everything works out.
Patch: You’ve seen Cap softball rise from a being PAL Bay doormat to a powerhouse in your four years. Describe the transformation.
Navarro: It’s really crazy how much we’ve grown because I’ve seen where we were at with my sister (Kaity). … We’ve always had the talent but we’ve never worked together. … Right now, I think we’re all working really well together.
Patch: You’re leading the PAL Bay with four triples. … You have a combination of size and speed that’s pretty rare for a high school softball player. Do opponents underestimate just how fast you are?
Navarro: Sometimes, because they don’t really expect it from me. I don’t think teams realize. When some teams see a catcher, they don’t think they can run. Sometimes my coaches at first (base) say, ‘You should see their faces.’
Patch: Last year, Cap struggled a bit at the start of the season and then came on like gangbusters, reeling off a 17-game win streak. This year, your team again endured some early-season woes – including that sloppy 6-0 loss to Hillsdale – but after Thursday’s win, everyone knows what the Mustangs are capable of. What is it with the slow starts?
Navarro: I don’t know. I guess it takes time. We got another three new players from different schools. It takes a while to get adjusted.
Patch: You don’t get a break in a busy athletic year – volleyball, soccer and now softball. What type of strain does that put on your social life?
Navarro: Not much. I still go out on the weekends. And usually I’m playing a sport outside of school – a different sport, of course. I still go out with my friends, do stuff, shop. It doesn’t really bug me.
Patch: Volleyball, soccer, softball. Is one of those sports your favorite?
Navarro: I also did golf for two years. … I would say softball and soccer are my two mainstays. If I had to choose softball or soccer, I don’t know if I could do that. That would be tough.
Patch: And which one has been the most rewarding for you?
Navarro: For soccer at Cap, we finally got to CCS after finishing in second for like five straight years. And in softball, we got to CCS and came close to winning close the whole thing. So I think they’re both rewarding. In both experiences, the whole team grew and we learned how to compete at that level. So I think both.
Patch: Your soccer team went 13-1 to win the PAL Ocean title this year. Last year, your softball team went 11-3 and finished second in the PAL Bay. Which feat was tougher to accomplish?
Navarro: Definitely softball. ‘Cause (in) soccer we’re in the lower division. We always got stuck in the lower division. There were always one or two teams that are always our toughest competition. … Otherwise we don’t play that many skilled teams. But in softball you can’t just go, ‘Oh, this (team) is easy.’ You have to take them one game at a time. So definitely, I’d say softball.
Patch: Are most athletes in your school very aware that playing in the Bay Division is more prestigious than the Ocean, or even Lake? Or does that not even enter the thought process?
Navarro: I think the students that play sports are more aware of the different divisions. But if they don’t play sports, they don’t really know. They’re like ‘OK, cool.’
Patch: What are you most proud of in your athletic career at Cap?
Navarro: I’ve been saying CCS a lot but … I would say probably making it to CCS for soccer this year because we haven’t been able to do that for a long time. And beating Mills in soccer -- that was pretty nice. In softball, I’d have to say CCS, too, because that was my first time being in CCS in any sport, so that was really cool.
Patch: You’re heading to CSM to play softball next year with two of your teammates (Michele Pilster and Jacey McDaid). How different will the JC game be? And what do you need to do to prepare for it?
Navarro: I’m not too sure because I’ve never really gone to see one of their games. (Laughs.) I probably should’ve. I hope it’ll be pretty challenging and I hope it’ll be a lot of fun. I don’t know what else to expect. … I guess in the summer I’ll do training with them and do softball stuff. I haven’t gone to one of CSM ‘s practices yet, but I’m sure the coach won’t let me slack off. I’m sure I’ll be running a lot.
Patch: Some softball players are pretty superstitious. Do you have any unusual rituals?
Navarro: We created a song for every time (Pilster) comes up to bat, kind of like a cheer. In the (most recent) Hillsdale game, she hit a home run, so now we have to do it. … I have to sing her song for her. I’m not really a superstitious person, but if it works, I might as well join in on their superstition.