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Cambria Salmon drawn to ‘intensity and competition’ at Texas
(Courtesy: Cambria Salmon)

Cambria Salmon drawn to ‘intensity and competition’ at Texas

BEAUMONT, Calif. (BVM) – Cambria Salmon committed to the Texas Longhorns during the fall of 2022, a program that had seen a consistent level of success at the time. 

Less than two years later, the Longhorns have emerged as arguably the top program in college softball, winning over 50 games in 2024 while reaching their second Women’s College World Series in the last three seasons. The success has been fueled by an abundance of talent on head coach Mike White’s squad, a group that Salmon will soon join.

“It’s exciting,” Salmon said. “I can’t wait to be a part of that, I can’t wait to be in the environment with all these girls. They have such amazing players and athletes there and I feel like when I get there, I’ll be in an environment where I’m on a great team, but I will be around people that will push me to be better.

“The support that they get is honestly amazing and I have so much to look forward to.”

During her recruiting process, the talented 5-foot-9 right-handed pitcher took official visits to Florida, Oklahoma State, UCLA and Texas. While each was in the running, the culture at Texas set itself apart, as did the opportunity to learn from White, a former hurler in men’s fastpitch softball.

“When it came down to me making my decision on where I was going to go, the two I that I was thinking the most about were Texas and Florida,” Salmon said. “The biggest thing that made me choose Texas was the coaching and the intensity and competition through their program.”

Cambria Salmon Texas Longhorns NCAA softball Beaumont High School Cougars California
Cambria Salmon chose the Longhorns over a host of other interested schools including Florida, Oklahoma State and UCLA. (Courtesy: Cambria Salmon)

Salmon will continue to grow her game in Austin, but she already brings a pretty impressive softball resume to the table. The senior pitcher began playing the sport around 6 years old and got serious with it in the years to follow.

Throughout her youth career, Salmon played travel softball for Athletics Mercado, a program she has continued to excel with during her high school years as well.

“The organization is amazing,” Salmon said. “Our organization is definitely more like a family, we’re all very close. My coaches specifically, they are definitely the best coaches I’ve ever had.”

Salmon won a national championship with Athletics Mercado in eighth grade, but one of her most memorable moments in the sport, and a time where she truly realized her future in softball, came a little bit before that as she began competing against more experienced players.

“I think the moment I realized that I really had something special in softball, I want to say I was 12, and there was a really good travel team in our organization,” Salmon said. “They asked me to go help them in a tournament and I was younger than all those girls so I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, no way they’re asking me.’ I think from that moment on I just knew that I had the potential.”

At just 14 years old, Salmon was already playing at the 18U level. At the same time, she was beginning what was a special career at Beaumont High School

Salmon made an immediate impact on the Cougars as a freshman despite the adjustment to the different atmosphere of the high school game. The following offseason, she reevaluated everything she had done in her first high school season and sought to get better, leading to a special sophomore campaign that further put her on the map.

In 2022, Salmon went 19-4 with a 0.52 ERA and 309 strikeouts across 160 ⅓ innings, also hitting .338 with five home runs and 19 RBIs. The special season earned Salmon Cal-Hi State Sophomore Player of the Year honors while she was also named a first-team All-American by Extra Inning Softball.

“My sophomore year was definitely a year where I just put my head down and went to work,” Salmon said. “My mindset completely switched. I turned into a completely different player and the way I carried myself on the field was completely different … I knew that if I did all the things I needed to do, I would be able to shut anyone down.”

Cambria Salmon Texas Longhorns NCAA softball Beaumont High School Cougars California
Cambria Salmon was named a first-team All-American by Extra Inning Softball as a sophomore at Beaumont High School. (Courtesy: Cambria Salmon)

While her sophomore year brought a lot of joy, Salmon was ultimately disappointed in how her junior year played out. While her ERA did jump over 1.00, the talented pitcher still put up strong numbers in the circle overall once again.

“My junior season, to me personally, it was not a good year for me,” Salmon said. “I think it could have gone so much better … I just personally feel like there were some things that I could have done better to improve.”

Despite not reaching some of the lofty expectations Salmon had set for herself in 2023, she began to “reinvent” herself as a pitcher, setting the stage for a strong close to her prep career this spring.

“My senior year was very special for me,” Salmon said. “My biggest thing this year was just to leave my mark, go out with a bang. It was my last year, I just wanted to go out and leave Beaumont in a good place, leave my mark on the town.”

Salmon continued to do just that, helping Beaumont win its league for a fourth consecutive year while also leading the Cougars to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinals for the first time in her career. From an individual perspective, Salmon racked up 18 wins and struck out over 300 batters with a 0.86 ERA, impressively hitting over .400 with nine home runs as well. However, perhaps the most meaningful moment of the campaign was accomplishing a milestone feat: reaching the 1,000-strikeout mark for her career.

“I know not a lot of people accomplish that,” Salmon said. “It was just a very good milestone for me … When I hit it, it was very special because I don’t even think I knew I hit it. It was honestly very emotional because to me, all of my hard work paid off.

“This year altogether was a very successful and memorable year. I did everything that I wanted to accomplish this year, and honestly, I think I did even more than I wanted to accomplish, which is amazing.”

The two-time all-state pitcher finished her Beaumont career with a 0.88 ERA, a .132 opponent batting average and 1,006 strikeouts, also hitting .388 at the plate with 27 home runs. While Salmon’s stats will likely always be among the best in Beaumont softball history, she ultimately hopes she left a greater impact.

“I hope I’ve shown not only kids in high school but also the little girls that play in our rec league, that even though we are from a small town, you can make it out and accomplish bigger things,” Salmon said. “I hope that I’ve shown, as hard as you work, it starts to pay off. 

“If you know what your goal is and know where you want to be in life, and know that you have a goal and you’re going to do whatever you can to work toward it, then you’ll be able to accomplish whatever you want … I really hope that other girls can take that from me, apply it to themselves and be able to accomplish great things.”

Cambria Salmon Texas Longhorns NCAA softball Beaumont High School Cougars California
Cambria Salmon hopes to make an immediate impact in Austin while playing for Longhorns head coach Mike White. (Courtesy: Cambria Salmon)

Now, after leaving her mark at Beaumont, Salmon will look to do the same at Texas where she hopes she can make an early impact.

“I think the biggest thing that I can bring there is my competitiveness and my work ethic,” Salmon said. “From the first day I get there, I’m just going to work hard and do what I have to do to earn my playing time and earn my spot.”

Ultimately, Salmon hopes to compete in the Women’s College World Series during her Texas career, but she is also focused on getting better in the circle day in and day out.

“I think my biggest goal is to pitch in a World Series game,” Salmon said. “I also think my biggest thing that I want to accomplish is just growing as a player, not only on the mental side, but also on the athletic side … Each year I’m there, I want to get a little bit better.”

In order to do so, Salmon will use the same mindset and confidence in Austin that she has always had. Her competitiveness and work ethic have not wavered throughout her already impressive softball career, and are part of what makes the future so bright in Texas.

“The biggest thing when it comes to softball is it’s a game of failure,” Salmon said. “A lot of people go into the game and don’t have the confidence, and that’s when they fail … I don’t like to lose and I will do everything in my power to where I don’t lose. I’ll work as hard as I can no matter what and I’ll outwork everyone so I make sure I don’t lose.”

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