Yarbrough finishes strong

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2017

Former Pike Patriot Samantha Yarbrough closed out her junior year with a bang after being named the Coastal Player of the Year.

Yarbrough was a dominating force for the Patriots during the 2016 season. She had a .400 batting average with 15 homeruns and 50 RBIs.

After the season, Yarbrough traded in her red, white and blue jersey for the blue and gold of the Fairhope Pirates.

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“It was awesome coming into a new place,” Yarbrough said. “Everyone was so welcoming. It was so fun because we all worked together and we got along.”

Yarbrough finished the year with nearly identical numbers at the plate by hitting .411 with 15 home runs and 56 RBIs. On the mound she went 28-6 with four saves. She struck out 294 batters in 188 innings pitched and had a 1.34 ERA.

“I think I did pretty well,” Yarbrough said. “I just wanted to do my job, not for myself but for the team. ”

In her one season with the 7A pirates, Yarbrough had to learn on the fly about the differences between AISA softball and the highest level of AHSAA softball.

“It was a big transition,” Yarbrough said. “Last year I felt more confident than I did this year going into AHSAA softball, especially going up to 7A where the competition level went up a lot.”

One of the ways Yarbrough has learned to adjust is staying close to a familiar face in Patriots coach Robert Rollan. Yarbrough and her former coach stayed in constant contact throughout the year and he even made an appearance at the state tournament in Montgomery.

“He taught me so much. He is one of my favorite coaches,” Rollan said. “He has always told me not to try too hard and to do my job. He told me you go up there trying, you’re not going to succeed. You have to trust what you have been taught.”

Although she was three hours away, Yarbrough kept track of her former team and kept in constant contact with not only coach Rollan, but her teammates as well.

“I talked to Danny (Danielle Brown) the most. I would text her about once a month,” Yarbrough said. “Sometimes I would call coach Rollan and tell him I don’t know what I am doing wrong, because I got in a slump this year. He would tell me you know you can do it; you’re an awesome hitter. He boosted my spirits a little. That is what he does best.”

With the season now over, Yarbrough shifts her attention to her senior year. Yarbrough is committed to South Alabama and she hopes her experience playing the state’s highest classification will help prepare her.

“There are three or four girls from around here that are going to South with me,” Yarbrough said. “It’s kind of cool getting to play with your future teammates. It was so competitive, but at the same time Baldwin County is a big family.”