Sehome softball coach Jim Emerson remembers a specific comment Gabby Gorosave made during her first few weeks with the Mariners' softball team last year.
Gorosave moved from Arizona a few years back and was a highly touted freshman entering Sehome's program. Emerson was getting to know his young prospect.
"I'd seen her play a couple games during the summer, and she was playing third base," Emerson explained in a phone interview. "She had great hands, and could really hit the ball really well. She made a funny comment to me. In Arizona she said she was a really good fielder but not really a good hitter."
There's a reason Emerson remembers that comment. Gorosave turned into a real good hitter, real quick.
She recorded a .522 batting average and led the Mariners in hits and RBI. She also hit five home runs. Not too bad for a freshman. Her efforts landed her an All-NWC second-team nod and an All-Whatcom County selection.
So how did a first-year varsity player learn to hit like a seasoned, fourth-year player?
"I think what she learned to do was use all fields," Emerson said. "A lot of these kids want to be pull hitters, but I tell them to use all fields. Gabby works on hitting the ball all directions."
Emerson was pleased with Gorosave's production, but he said he wasn't totally surprised.
The Sehome coach got a certain "feeling" about Gorosave during the few games he saw her play prior to last year.
"Sometimes you just get this feeling with them," Emerson said. "I said to a couple of our coaches, 'This kid is a player. I think she is really going to help us out.' And she did."
Gorosave played on select teams growing up in Arizona, and Emerson credited her commitment and knowledge to the game for her ability to thrive from day one of her varsity career. She also plays for a local travel team.
Given her early production and young age, Gorosave could be the next standout softball player to come through Sehome's program. She has the potential to be listed with some of the greats.
Emerson even loosely compared Gorosave's freshman season to the first year two-time All-Whatcom County MVP and University of Hawaii freshman Austin Wilkerson had at Sehome.
Both were tremendous hitters, but Gorosave doesn't yet have the power Wilkerson displayed early in her prep career.
"Gabby actually finally hit a home run, and that was the first one she had ever hit," Emerson said. "She'd never been a big power hitter, but she ended up having five (homers). (Gorosave) isn't there as far as overall power, but they are comparable with how they play the game."
Maybe even more important than Gorosave's hitting, and what she considers her forte, are her defensive abilities.
Gorosave's natural position is a spot along the left side of the infield, either at third or short. The Mariners have a "pretty good shortstop," joked Emerson, in Rachel Albert, so Gorosave shouldered much of Sehome's catching duties last season.
She worked well with Sehome ace Meagan McIntyre, but Emerson said Gorosave can play anywhere in the infield.
That luxury provides Emerson tremendous flexibility.
"I preach that to a lot of the kids," said Emerson of being able to play multiple positions. "Some can't play more than one, but we have some kids who can play a couple different positions."
These next three years, Gorosave has the ability to define herself as another top Whatcom County softball talent. The Mariners are a mix of veterans and youth this season, but Gorosave has three seniors in Hallie Messenger, McIntyre and Albert who can show her what it takes to be a great player.
"I think in watching some of these older kids like Rachel, Hallie and Meagan, their work ethic has really helped her as much as anything," Emerson said.
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