Pittman Phillips has taken on many different roles in the past year - which he saw himself transition from Second Base to Shortstop in the middle of the season, put on 20+ pounds of muscle in the offseason in the weight room, and improved on the mound - has put himself in at #5 on Oxford's Dandy Dozen. While he still has fun off the field, he has certainly matured on the field in the big games that matter.
Phillips without hardly much question is the best defensive starting player Oxford is returning next season. He has become a solid player at Shortstop when Coach Chris Baughman seemingly could not find anybody to take the position early in the year and not make several mistakes during the game. On the mound, outside of Jason Barber exploding on the scene, he had to be the most improved pitcher of anyone on the staff from the 2012 year to this past season.
Phillips led the team in ERA with a flat 1.00 last season - that includes any pitcher Oxford had last season that pitched at all. His brightest moment on the mound last season was on the road against Saltillo where starter Steven Whitfield had trouble with his command and was pulled in the second inning in favor of Phillips. He delivered putting up 5 straight 0's on the scoreboard and allowed Oxford's offense to come back to win that game. It was his longest outing in his high school career having to go 5.2 innings to win that game.
At Shortstop, Phillips did make the occasional error while adjusting to the position having to throw a farther distance than he was used to throwing having played solely at Second Base prior to the move. Once he was used to the position, he hardly made an error - when he throws it to first base.
(There's an inside joke related to that)
While Phillips made the lineup because of his defensive presence he brings - his bat still needs to be worked on. Phillips was the only player on the team that regularly bats to finish below .200 on the year at the plate. The one pro he has at the plate is being able to lay down the sacrifice bunt - he led the team in that department with 4 such takes.
If Oxford is going to be successful next baseball season, his defense and pitching is going to play a key role - it is not every year you can find a reliable shortstop and a guy that can come in from the pen if needed all in one person.