Reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Year Jill Compton has helped launch the Bulldogs to a Top 25 national ranking. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
Senior softball pitcher Jill Compton is one of the most accomplished student-athletes to walk the halls of Fresno State, but it’s not her individual awards that motivate her.
“I just love softball,” Compton said. “So I think that’s like my biggest motivation is that it’s so much fun to me, and my teammates are my motivators because they’re great people. They’re my friends, so it’s just fun to go out with them and play with them.”
Compton begins her daily routine by waking up at 6 a.m. every day to go to the weight room. Then she goes to practice, has her classes, then goes home to get as much rest as possible, just to wake up and do it all over again.
Born and raised in Oceano, California, Compton credits her parents, Sandra and Bill, and two older siblings, Chris and Jaclyn, for being there to support her when she is in need of advice. But like any other daughte, Compton holds a special place for her father.
“My dad helped me so much with softball, and anytime I would want to go out to the mound or out to the field, he would come out with me,” Compton said. “Regardless of how I was doing, he was always supportive, so I think my dad has been one of the reasons I have been successful.”
Compton’s hard work and dedication on the mound manifested itself in a phenomenal junior campaign in 2015. She was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Year and was the only Bulldog named to the All-Mountain West First Team, posting a 28-11 record and leading the league in strikeouts and ERA.
In addition, she captured All-Region First Team, Academic All-Conference honors and was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week six times, including four consecutive, becoming the first in conference history to do so.
“I owe my success to my coaches and my teammates,” Compton said. “My coach has taught me so much pitchingwise and mentally, and my teammates have my back with their energy – without them I wouldn’t be anything.”
Compton has helped lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated 5-0 opening-weekend record, which propelled them into the nation’s Top 25, a position they haven’t been in since 2011. The ‘Dogs check in at No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 and No. 24 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Softball Coaches Poll.
Compton has continued to hone her skills on the mound and has consistently improved every year. On Tuesday, the senior ace was named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Pitcher of the Week, her first career national weekly accolade.
As the reigning MW Pitcher of the Year, Compton is still adding to her highly decorated career. She appeared in four games last weekend with three starts and posted a 3-0 record along with a 0.33 ERA while picking up her 10th conference pitcher of the week accolade.
During 21 innings pitched, she also struck out 17 batters while allowing only one run and tossing her first complete shutout of the season against No. 23 Utah. She was deemed the Mountain West Softball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness for her outstanding performance in the circle last week.
“It’s an honor,” Compton said. “I have worked really hard for this, but I couldn’t do it without my teammates’ support and how strong they have been on defense. It was really comfortable to pitch because we came out hitting and had good energy.”
Compton’s intense play and focus on the mound may just have something to do with her quirky pregame rituals and routines.
“Usually to prepare for a game, what I do every time I go out to the mound, I draw an “A” with a circle around it in the dirt,” she said. “It just means “attack,” so regardless of anything, all I want to do is attack each pitch and have confidence in that pitch. I have a routine with Whitney [Smith], our shortstop, and she just tells me to attack each hitter, each pitch at a time, and she will tell me funny things to lighten the mood a little bit.”
But Compton was not always a standout player. It took dedication and a little sibling rivalry to up the stakes.
“I was actually very bad at softball,” Compton said. “I wanted to do anything my sister did. She played basketball, volleyball and softball, so I would do everything that she did because I wanted to be like her. I was better at softball, but she was better at all the other things.”
Aside from softball and academics being the center point of her life at the time, Compton loves to be outdoors and just relaxing with her family and friends any chance she gets.
“Well softball takes up a lot of our time, but when I go home, I like to hike, and I just like to spend time with my family members and my friends,” she said.
Compton, who is also a business major, weighs in on her future, understanding that it is difficult to become a professional softball player. But for now, Compton is only worried about what she can control – helping her team reach its ultimate goals.
“As a team, we want to stay ranked in the Top 25,” Compton said. “We obviously want to win the Mountain West and make it to postseason and go to super regionals. I just hope to get us to the regionals and just winning. That’s my main goal. No matter what, I just want to win.”