Living in the shadow of a two-time World Series champion can be a daunting task. Still Vaqeuro first-base player Natalie Orosco has found her own niche at City College.
Orosco, 19, is the daughter of journeyman relief pitcher Jesse Orosco.
“To be honest with you, she’s very low key about who her father is,” head coach Paula Congleton said. “She kind of wants to develop her own identity and not, I guess, ride on the coattails of her father’s success and his glory.”
Natalie has played softball since kindergarten and plans on continuing at the four-year level.
“She just grew up playing,” Jesse Orosco said. “She’s played in all the little leagues wherever we lived at, and she’s gone up through the motions. She played travel softball, and she’s just never stopped.”
The Vaquero freshman’s motivation comes from watching her father from an early age.
“I always wanted to make him proud,” said Natalie, a Poway, Calif. native said. “I see his number on the baseball field today, and I’ll look at it as a reminder of why I’m here and why I need to practice hard everyday.”
Orosco’s father may be Hall-of-Fame worthy, but Natalie says he is just like any other parent.
“When he comes back here, he’s mostly just her dad,” added catcher Lauren Larabell said. “He comes out here and takes care of her car and does dad grocery-shopping stuff and takes her to her doctor visits.”
Natalie’s family background has influenced her game.
“Growing up, watching my dad, and then my brother started playing baseball. I just wanted to do whatever they were doing,” she said.
When she not hitting balls or fielding grounders, Natalie says she is either studying in the Achievement Zone or following around dubstep artist Skrillex.
“She’s a huge Skrillex fan,” pitcher Alyse Harris said. “That girl likes Skrillex and that kind of music more than anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Larabell jokingly refers to Natalie as a “Skrillex groupie.”
Natalie also enjoys playing volleyball with the men’s volleyball team and some of her teammates.
Teammates say her skills are apparent as much as she tries to downplay her baseball background.
“She really just wants to put a stamp on her own name, but for me as a coach, you can see she comes from the background of an athletic family,” Congleton said. “It’s very evident. Her swing is very fluid. It’s very strong. She knows the cues that we’re talking about.
“It’s just some of those natural things that come from being a natural athlete or being brought up in that type of a household.”
Her teammates describe Orosco as one of the “vocal leaders” on the squad.
“When it’s pretty quiet, I can always hear her out there, which is good for me, personally,” Harris said.
That personality is something that carries over from the diamond.
“Even when we’re out, if she’s happy and I’m down she’ll definitely pick me up,” Harris said. “Not only does she have this big, bubbly, outgoing personality, but everybody just feeds off of it.”
Natalie was one of City College’s Western State Conference scholar-athletes last fall. She finished the semester with a 4.0 GPA.
“Natalie is very serious about her academics,” Congleton said. “One of the things that we stress is that you have to be a student-athlete.”
The Vaqueros came off their best softball season in City College history, and Natalie is trying to pave her own way. Having a player with the ability to win on the biggest stage engrained in her DNA always helps, even though the team has big shoes to fill— and only one returner from last season.