How does a softball player compile a ridiculous .582 batting average and .636 on-base percentage? One successful at-bat at a time, when it comes to Friendswood’s sophomore shortstop Tricia Yarotsky — the 2019 Galveston County softball player of the year.
“I didn’t really know about it; I just kind of hit to have fun,” Yarotsky said of her numbers. “I just kept with who I am and what I can do.”
Anchoring the ever-important leadoff spot in the Lady Mustangs’ lineup, Yarotsky did the first and most important thing a player can do in that role, and that’s getting on base, which she did at an obviously high rate.
“It’s nice when you’re a coach to have a kid that you can trust to do the right thing,” Friendswood head coach Christa Williams said. “Sometimes she can be overly critical of herself, but when she just lets it fly and plays the way she’s capable of playing, there’s hardly anybody as good as she is.”
In compiling her sky-high batting average and on-base percentage, Yarotsky was as skilled hitting for power — with 17 extra-base hits, including six home runs — as she was laying down a bunt for a single. Deciding which approach to take requires a keen eye, Yarotsky said.
“I definitely look at the third baseman to see where she’s at, and if the pitcher is a bigger pitcher, I notice that too, and also the speed of the pitcher,” Yarotsky said. “If she has a good changeup, you can put a good bunt on it.”
When on base, the speedy Yarotsky proved to be quite active as she swiped 33 bases and scored 52 runs in 29 games played. Yarotsky also had 22 runs batted in, impressive considering she started every game batting first.
Yarotsky said she was helped by the good chemistry she had with her third baseman teammate KK Esparza, whose .510 batting average and team-best 40 RBIs created quite the one-two punch on the top of Friendswood’s lineup.
“There were points in my season where I was in a rough patch, but then I’d have my friend KK, who helped me get out of the rough patch,” Yarotsky said. “We just helped each other push through the season and get each other to our best potential.”
Yarotsky was a key cog on the most successful Friendswood softball team in recent memory. The Lady Mustangs were District 22-5A champions with an unblemished 14-0 conference record, and they ventured three rounds deep into the playoffs.
“When she went, we went, which was most of the time,” Williams said. “What makes her so good is she can hit super-hard, but she can also sneaky-bunt it. She’s also super-fast. She just led us offensively. She was our little Energizer Bunny.”
In a one-game regional quarterfinal series, Friendswood was edged by Barbers Hill, 2-1, in a game where a solo home run from Yarotsky accounted for the Lady Mustangs’ only run.
“Hitting that home run was the best feeling in the world,” Yarotsky said. “And our (district) games against Santa Fe were huge. Getting those two wins were among the biggest points of our season.”
Going forward, Yarotsky — who says her softball idols are former Team USA and Oklahoma Sooners slugger Lauren Chamberlain and All-American Washington Huskies shortstop Sis Bates, and who without hesitation says her favorite Houston Astros is Alex Bregman — said she hopes to improve her defensive skills and to continue to grow as a player as part of a young Friendswood team with a promising future.
“My goals are to just keep being myself and keep improving,” Yarotsky said. “Just keep getting better and better, and hopefully go off to college.”