During the offseason, the team, consisting mostly of sophomores and juniors, was separated into cliques. “Great split,” Yoo said. At first, Yoo, wanting to please his teammates, gave up. But that became too much as the division infiltrated in January, weeks before the start of the season.
“We had to push each other out of our comfort zone,” Yoo said. “Talk to each other and build those relationships. I’m not the kind of person who will be really loud. But in the end I was just finished everything.”
Yoo started to take initiatives. She hosted team dinners at her house. She encouraged the team to gather at someone’s house before games to prepare.
“We were going to do everything together,” Yoo said. “It was difficult for me to speak and say something because I don’t want them to be afraid of me. I like to lead by example. But I have expectations for us as a team and I know they have the same for me.
Mustangs have since met and exceeded high expectations. Just like Yoo.
Cy Ranch (25-13) is back in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2018. A big why is Yoo.
The two-way talent is 17-8 in the circle with a 1.51 ERA and .174 batting average. But what jumps out like the elephant in the room is Yoo’s incredible 9.7 strikeout ratio, 223 punches for 23 walks.
She said her command and loathing of free passes came from playing for her 16U team when a pitcher was called out if they walked two batters in a game.
“I hated getting shot, so I worked really hard not to walk with anyone,” Yoo said. “I really don’t like to lose. Each at-bat is like a mini-game in itself. I just focus on the hitter I’m up against and what I need to do to beat them.
Yoo is a left-handed pitcher, a rarity in softball.
“As a hitter, you’re not used to seeing the ball come out a different side,” she said. “It may get into your head a little. Most lefties also have a lot of weird moves. I never understood it. But I can throw a fastball and it will move.
And Yoo also knows how to hit. She’s not just the Mustangs ace. Yoo leads the team in RBIs (51) and home runs (four), and hits .371 with a .431 on-base percentage.
But it’s the pitching that has its heart.
“It’s my bread and butter,” Yoo said. “It’s a game within a game. One day you can throw as hard as you can and the balls will break. And the next day, things don’t go your way. I like the challenge of working and improving myself. I always have something to improve. »
Cypress Ranch senior Molly Yoo.VYPE Media
Since the Mustangs have come together as a team… “We’re not just teammates now,” Yoo said. ” We are a family “. After a tenuous start to the season, Yoo said she was more relaxed. She credits her game on the pitch to what she helped bring out of it.
“I know we have what it takes to bounce back from anything,” she said. “I’m capable of playing loose.”
Yoo is stronger and faster this season. The rotation and speed of his throws are better.
Yoo has always had a nasty curveball, but now the rising ball is just as dangerous. What was once a “fighting ground,” she said, is now one of her best.
“I know we all want to work on the things we’re good at, and I do too,” Yoo said. “But I also try really hard to work on the things I’m not good at.”
This list is not long. In the box, Yoo does best by keeping things simple and not always trying to swing for the fences. In the circle, she became adept at studying a batter’s body language.
Are their shoulders slumped? Are they excited? Where are they standing in the box? Can she pin them inside with a curve ball or does she have to go higher and out?
Whatever Yoo does, it works. Now she wants to make it to the regional finals next week, where Cy Ranch hasn’t been since 2015.
Lake Ridge stands in the way. But Yoo has expectations for these Mustangs. And they have expectations for her.
“It was amazing,” Yoo said. “The circle is sort of complete. When I was a freshman, we got to the fourth round, but I was on the bench and didn’t see much of the field. Now I’m kind of in the middle of it all and it’s crazy. It’s so exciting.”