Charleigh "Tuna" Esparza; 2025 Nationally Ranked Elite Top 5 Catcher/Top 10 Overall Prospect; 5-Star
Hotshots Fastpitch Organization:
Name: Charleigh Esparza
Nickname: Tuna (Charlie the tuna fish from Starkist)
Hometown: Friendswood, Texas
Grad Year: 2025 Travel Team: Hotshots 16u Esparza
High School: Friendswood High School
Pop Time: 1.7
Defensive Stats: .950
Coaches: Charlie Esparza, Nathan Nelson / Christia Yates
Intended Major: Psychology
The 2025 class is loaded with talented Catchers. However, you're a standout elite Catcher that impressively is ranked by Legacy & Legends Softball nationally as a Top 5 Catcher prospect and a Top 10 overall ranked prospect among a very talented year group. How does that feel? Knowing that I am ranked as one of the nation's top prospects is like a roller coaster ride. It gives you confidence and makes you feel good about yourself but there is always someone that can take your spot and beat you out so it keeps you striving to be better 24/7.
Charleigh during team photo shoot/media day
What do you attribute to your successes? I think a big attribute to me getting to where I am is definitely having my sister, KK Esparza, setting the example and standard for me to be as good or better as she is. I am always being compared to her and it bugs me all the time, so I am always trying to be better than her and trying to shut people up.
My dad, Charlie Esparza, also is is always pushing me to be the best. I love playing one of the top teams in the nation, because I know that as a Catcher, I have the best pitching, best defensive, and best hitting all in the dugout with me. Also, I think I owe a lot of my success to every single one of my teammates and coaches, because I know that without them I would be nowhere. They push me to be the best because they believe in me.
Hotshots Esparza Team Dinner
How does it feel playing on a nationally ranked Tier 1 elite travel team? Being on one of the best teams in the nation, also comes with the best fielding so i know that while I’m catching, if I have a passed ball, bad throw, or anything at all, I have the absolute best people there to back me up and finish the play.
Hotshots Esparza with the PGF Bid
What do you consider is your best strength? I personally think that my best strength as a player, is my attitude. I am able to not let the game control me. Whenever I don't have the best game, I am always able to get back in the dugout or field knowing that my team depends on me and needs me whether it’s hitting, cheering, or fielding.
Besides being an elite Catcher and Third Baseman, you are a feared hitter. What kind of hitter are you? I am a very gap-to-gap hitter. My main focus is not hitting the ball out of the ball park, but is to take it one base at a time and score the run or move the runner. I am very consistent at knowing when its time to swing for the long ball or to put the ball in play and do my job.
Charleigh playing Third Base for Friendswood HS Varsity Softball
What is your favorite softball memory? I don’t really have a favorite softball memory because every moment spent with my team is my favorite.
You have an impressive list of achievements. What is one of your greatest achievement? One of my greatest achievements is being able to play at the All-American games for 2 years in a row.
Framing is an art; Charleigh with the framework ... Okay, I like it. Picasso!
How would your friends and teammates describe you? I think a lot of my teammates and friends would call me loud, funny, friendly, energetic, enthusiastic, and sarcastic.
Charleigh and a teammate
Who is your role model or person you aspire to be like? Honestly, I will never tell her this to her face, but my sister, KK, is who I aspire to be like. KK works so hard for things that she wants. KK is very bold and doesn’t let things or people get to her. KK is super smart, she makes good grades and keeps up with her work in the classroom. And she is such a nice and genuine person, everyone loves KK.
What is your softball dream and/or goals? My softball goal and dream is to be able to play at the next level so I can play under to light in front of all the fans.
What is your ideal softball team? My perfect softball team is full of people with great chemistry and that get along together they don’t always have to be the best on the field but as long has the team gets along we will always come on top.
Charleigh and teammates (Nice uniforms/drip)
What is it you are looking for when choosing a college to attend? When I’m deciding on what college I want to go to, the most important things I look for is academics because I need to be able to further my education so that once I’m complete with softball, I have something to look forward towards.
Academic All-District (All A's throughout the year)
Describe your above and beyond work ethic. I like to hit until my hands hurt and lift until I cant move. Extra work is very important in the game of softball because everyone is just as good so you have to work to be better than others.
How do you decompress when you have time? Some of the hobbies I like to do is relax my mind with reading my favorite book so far which is Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover.
What advice can you share with younger players and peers? I like to tell the younger players to never get down on themselves because the mental side of the game is a very rough side and sometimes it can be hard to stay positive in the game we play.
Who would you like to recognize and/or thank for helping you in your remarkable softball journey? I would like to thank my teammates, family, coaches, and God.
Walk up song: Still Trippin
Favorite food: Chicken and shrimp hibachi
Favorite song: Drops of Jupiter by Train
Favorite music artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Favorite sports team: Houston Astros
Favorite sports celebrity: Yuli Gurriel
Favorite movie: 10 things I Hate About You
Favorite sports movie: Benchwarmers
Favorite TV show: Greys Anatomy
Favorite book: Reminders of Him
Favorite travel spot: California
Favorite quote: “I woke up feeling dangerous” - Will Hawkins
Charleigh "Tuna" Esparza; 2025 Elite Top 5 Catcher/Top 10 Overall Prospect