Makayla Frias was shut down a mere six games into her first varsity season with the Colusa High softball team a year ago.
Frias, who was putting up gaudy numbers at the time, batting .385 with five runs batted in, said when COVID struck it was “devastating” because she knew any subsequent opportunities were going to be limited.
“(The) recruiting process was 10 times harder than it normally is,” Frias said.
But she was eventually able to get noticed through an innovative online approach, not to mention playing weekends for her travel softball team, CA Yard Sharks, out of Sacramento.
Frias will continue her softball career at the College of Idaho, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics university.
During the recruitment process, Frias said it’s important to put together an online presence through appropriately penned emails to a variety of college coaches.
Frias highlighted a few approaches to her recruiting emails.
“Attracting their attention by being confident in yourself and your abilities,” Frias said. “Presenting yourself in a positive light will go much farther than how you do on the field. They’re looking for someone who can be coached.”
On the field, Frias was able to get about five or six games each weekend the past year through her travel ball team.
She said there were no fans in the stands and everyone who entered the facility had to stay beyond the outfield fence with a mask on.
“When you don’t have fans to look out to it feels like practice,” she said.
On the other hand it can relieve some mental stress, she said.
For Frias – who was also a volleyball player last year during Colusa’s section title run – when she’s at the plate she rarely notices anything outside her comfort zone.
“I have to cancel out everything and not think at all,” Frias said.
Currently the catcher and third baseman is practicing three days a week with Colusa in hopes of a possible 2021 season to begin at some point in March or April. The state and section have both said that competition within counties and with neighboring counties can begin once they are in the red tier of the state’s blueprint system for reopening.
“We’re trying to do all we can to ensure we are able to play,” Frias said.