By Enrique Cervantes
Being a catcher isn’t always the prettiest of positions, but hey, someone has to do it. And for Cal Poly Pomona, that someone is junior Mike Philp.
“He’s a take charge kind of guy,” said head coach Randy Betten. “He’s always working on his craft, his work ethic. He’s a grinder.”
Philp is a local kid by way of Covina, Calif. He started playing baseball when he was little, starting off playing in the yard and throwing around with the neighbors.
“My mom said ever since I was able to walk, I was holding a bat,” said Philp. “That’s pretty much how it started. From then on, parents were telling her to put me in little league.”
Philp started playing baseball at Walmerado Park in West Covina. From there, he skyrocketed and continued playing. He got started as a catcher for his size, always being one of the bigger kids and getting placed back there.
In high school, Philp transferred from Bishop Amat to Charter Oak after his freshman year. At Charter Oak, Philp shined, capturing the batting title for the Chargers while earning All-Sierra Vista League Second Team honors and All-Glendora Tournament First team honors.
Coming out of high school, Philp had not drawn attention from any college. After an e-mail conversation with Betten, Philp was granted a tryout at CPP. With assistant coach Bret Lachemann watching with Betten, Philp earned a walk-on spot for the Broncos.
“He came in as a freshman,” said Betten. “And now one he’s one of the best catchers in the conference. He’s a stellar defensive player and works well with the pitchers.”
As a freshman, Philp led the Broncos with a .371 batting average with 10 runs and 10 runs batted in. He was stellar from behind the plate, posting a 1.000 fielding percentage with 44 putouts and 4 assists. His shining moment that year was going 3-for-4 in a win against Saint Mary’s on Feb. 4, 2012, which is Philp’s favorite memory overall.
“Being a catcher is one of the hardest positions on the team,” said Philp. “You have to worry about the pitcher, controlling his temper and calling the right pitches. Then you got to hit, and you’re not fast, so you have to hit the balls pretty hard to get there.”
Philp’s sophomore campaign continued where his freshman year left off, finishing the season with a .359 batting percentage. Philp also hit his first career homerun against Cal Baptist on Feb. 9, 2013. He also had a .978 fielding percentage with three runners thrown out stealing.
“He has a quiet confidence,” said Betten. “He’s a steady guy back there.”
This season, Philp continues to post a high fielding percentage of .992 with a batting average of .220.
Philp is striving to be a professional baseball player, modeling his game and style after Yadier Molina, the catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.
“Yadier is a big one,” said Philp. “He can throw down with ease, call a big game. He has all five tools and is just a wonderful catcher.”
Betten continues to have high confidence in Philp, wanting to have him continue what he’s doing and play hard.
“He just has to keep doing what he’s been doing all season,” said Betten. “Go out and give solid, quality at bats and great defense.”
For the Broncos, the quality of the position is exactly what Philp brings.
Alicia Sanchez/The Poly Post
Philp remains viable option for CPP behind dish
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