Lisa Yamamoto gives true meaning to the term student-athlete. She has shown the unique ability to balance an ultra-heavy academic load and playing college softball.
Yamamoto, the former Carson High softball standout and now a junior at Linfield College in Oregon, was named to the Capital One Division III All-American academic squad recently. The award is determined by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
A biology major, Yamamoto carries a 3.78 GPA. She had a strong junior season on the diamond, too, posting a .320 average with three homers and 24 RBI. She also hit nine doubles and three triples.
Yamamoto follows in the footsteps of Karleigh Prestianni (2012), Jaydee Baxter (2011), Shelly Steinke (2006) and Liz Coburn (2004). All four were named to the prestigious squad.
“I was on the all-District academic team, but I didn’t have any idea about the All-America team,” Yamamoto said in a recent phone conversation. “That is pretty neat.
“It can be tough to balance it (especially during the season). I have two or three labs a week, so I’m getting out to practice late. I do get out to every practice.”
She has earned the respect of head coach Jackson Vaughan.
“Lisa works unbelievably hard, and has done a tremendous job of balancing a rigorous major with all the demands that playing softball at a high level requires,” Vaughan said in a school-issued press release. “A couple of times a week, her lab work overlapped, but she did a great job of juggling her academics while continuing to be a dependable player and a great teammate.”
After finals in the coming week, Yamamoto won’t be coming home to see family and friends. Instead, she will go to Cal-State Monterey Bay for a 10-week summer Ocean Science Research Experiences internship program. She will be studying fish ecology.
“I’ll be staying in the dorms there,” Yamamoto. “My parents thought it was a good opportunity. It will look good on the resume for graduate school.”
After hitting just .200 as a freshman, Yamamoto has been a starter the past two years with averages of .360 and .320, respectively. As a sophomore, she hit 13 homers and drove in 54 runs. She has gone from being a designated hitter to a part-time DH and a first baseman.
Linfield has reached the post-season three straight years. Linfield went 0-2 in regional play this year, losing two one-run games.
“It was disappointing,” Yamamoto said. “We had pretty high expectations.
“We’ll see how it goes next year. We lost five seniors, so we’ll be a little bit younger. We won’t have as much pitching as we did this year. I had a decent year, not as good as last year.”