MUSKEGON – Andrea Romero-Serrano’s zest for life is apparent anywhere you see her. The Oakridge High School senior’s smile lights up a room and she brings positive energy to almost any situation.
Of course, as a big sister to brother Arturo Romero-Serrano III, some mother hen characteristics might creep in from time to time.
“I love it because I get to boss him around all the time,” she said with a laugh when asked about her younger sibling, an Oakridge junior who is a prolific goal-scorer in soccer. “No, I’m just kidding. It’s nice because I get to watch over him. I feel kind of like a mom with him. I’m very protective of him. He’s my little guy — that’s how I think of it.”
Andrea Romero-Serrano is the lone senior on a tough Oakridge softball team. She holds down the all-important catcher spot, which would appear to be an ideal position for somebody with her traits.
A three-year starter at catcher – she was a varsity player as a freshman, but that season was canceled because of COVID-19 – Romero-Serrano has been a fixture in the Oakridge program.
Oakridge has been the benchmark for West Michigan Conference softball, as well as in the Muskegon area, for several years. The Eagles have won six straight conference championships and they’re well on their way to a WMC Lakes Division title in the first year of the expanded league.
On Saturday, Oakridge (15-5 overall) advanced to the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association Tier 1 title game for the seventh straight year before the Eagles ran into a Ravenna buzzsaw and fell 13-2. Romero finished a combined 6-of-10 from the plate with a double and three RBIs in three games on the day.
Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
“She’s a bright light. Anybody she meets has the same reaction. She lights up the room with her charisma and her enthusiasm and her smile. Always positive and she’s a great leader for us because she carries that and it permeates throughout the team,” Oakridge veteran head coach Joe Coletta said.
“She’s our only senior, so I think she tries to do too much at times because she knows she’s the only senior. But she’s just a great young lady, who’s going to be an asset to anybody once she gets out of school. Whatever she decides to do, she’s going to be great at it.”
Romero-Serrano has been really good at the plate this season. She made it a point to improve her hitting and it appears her hard work is paying off. She’s batting a career-best .426 with four doubles, two home runs, 22 RBIs and nine runs scored.
As a junior, she hit .319 with four doubles, a triple and two home runs to go with 29 RBIs. As a sophomore, she batted .377 with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs and a whopping 56 RBIs.
Romero-Serrano, 18, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, the southern part of the country. She estimates that parents Arturo and Karina Romero moved their family to Muskegon when Andrea was around 5 or 6 years old. Andrea Romero-Serrano is proud of her Mexican-American heritage.
A three-sport athlete who also plays basketball and volleyball, Romero-Serrano started playing softball around the T-ball years. She was instantly intrigued by the catcher’s equipment.
“I remember playing, I think it was, third or first base and then I just was like, ‘Wow, I really like that catcher’s equipment. Can I try that on?’” she recalled. “I asked my coach and he was like, ‘Yeah, sure, try it on,’ and I just started catching and I started loving it. I’ve been doing it ever since.
“I love it because, like, you’re in control of the game and at the same time, people look up to you for that spot. It’s just like not controlling, but you set the pace for everything. There’s a lot of roles in that game, but I feel like that’s one special role because if you miss a ball on a dropped third strike, that could cost the game. Or, like, there’s a passed ball, runner on third, boom, lost the game, so I feel like there’s just a lot of mental pressure on you. I just like that spot because of that.”
Romero-Serrano, who carries a 4.1 GPA while taking Advanced Placement courses, intends on playing two years of softball at Muskegon Community College. Her long-term goal is to become a pediatric nurse.
Aside from softball and her other sports, another passion for Romero-Serrano is art, be it painting, drawing or doing ceramic work. Her proudest piece of art is a ceramic mask molded from clay, which was displayed at the Muskegon Museum of Art.
According to teammates, Romero-Serrano does not hide behind any type of façade. What you see is what you get.
“She’s the kindest person that you’ll ever meet and she’s so sweet and she’s always willing to help a girl out,” Oakridge junior Madison Clark said.
Added sophomore Brenna Cabrera: “She always has a great attitude. She’s just really nice. You can tell just from looking at her that she’s always in a great mood.”
Oakridge feeds off that positive energy.
During a key WMC sweep of visiting rival Ravenna last season, Romero-Serrano’s grand slam to left field keyed an 11-run outburst in the fifth inning as Oakridge wiped out a 5-0 deficit in Game 1.
Romero-Serrano’s emotion while rounding the bases was evident, punctuated by a fist pump and scream, before she was greeted at home plate by a mob of fired-up Eagles.
“It just hyped us all up,” Cabrera said.
Romero-Serrano is as steady as they come behind the plate.
Coletta said it could be 90 degrees and Romero-Serrano will never complain about having to catch three games during a Saturday tournament. He said it’s a credit to her mother and father for raising her and her brother that way.
“She’s a leader throughout the school; not just in her athletics, but her teachers across the board say the same thing about her,” Coletta said. “I’m sure that her employee over at Olive Garden says the same thing about her. She’s just what you see; that’s authentic – authentic Dre. She’s a beautiful kid. Really, really special.”
Those characteristics seem to be shared by her brother. However, like any teenage siblings, the Romero-Serranos exhibit competitiveness with each other.
Andrea Romero-Serrano said that when her brother cops an attitude, she puts him in his place.
“My dad will take me to go hitting at the field and then my brother’s like, ‘I wanna go.’ I tell him, I’m like, ‘No, because you’re going to make it a competition.’ And then I’m, like, ‘You know what, let’s try it. Let’s go.’ I win every time,” she said with a laugh.
If girls soccer weren’t played in the same season as softball, then you might see another Romero-Serrano tearing it up on the pitch.
If and when sister and brother square off in a friendly 1 vs. 1 competition on the soccer field, who do you think would win?
“Oh, me. Absolutely,” she said with a laugh. “No, I’m just kidding. Definitely him. I’m never playing him in soccer.”
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