Baylor pitcher Whitney Canion has taken a lot of friendly ribbing from teammates over the course of the season. And she takes it well.
She joked earlier in the week that players referred to her as the team mom last year, when she was a fifth-year senior. As a sixth-year senior this season, she said she’s the team grandmother now.
After two trips to the Women’s College World Series and two major knee injuries, Canion’s college softball career ended with a 5-3 loss to Florida on Sunday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium — ironically, the same team she faced in her first career game in 2009.
Q: You looked sharper on Sunday than you did in Saturday’s game against Kentucky. Did you feel better?
A: I've been struggling a little bit with not getting my rise ball where I wanted. I thought I came out and really used my other pitches a lot. Used my screw ball, drop curve and change-up and relied on those and got a lot of foul balls and pop-ups and ground outs because of that. I was trying to work ahead and get them to foul pitches off and get them to chase after that. My body felt better and just felt like, at the same time, toward the end of the game, I was really just going off adrenaline and knowing that this team, we could come back and score six or seven runs in the last inning. So I just had to keep the team in it.
What have you learned about perseverance in your six years at Baylor, and how have you translated it to the field, pitching in tough situations?
Yeah, I feel that word is capitalized, in all caps for me, just through all the adversity and knowing my knee was the toughest thing I've gone through. So that was probably really when I learned what that was.
I've been in a lot of jams, I’ve left a lot of runners on base. I kind of feel like sometimes I get more amped up once they get on base. That's how I've been my whole career. You kind of see me — I may throw a little harder when runners are on base. I just feel like I’m always trying to leave them on base no matter what happens. I'm going to give up hits here and there, I'm going to walk some people and everything, but really just trying to leave ’em on.
Coach Glenn Moore has talked this week about how much you’ve meant to the Baylor program. What has the program meant to you?
I've absolutely loved playing here. I've loved this coaching staff. This is my life and I've been here six years; like you said, it's a joke. But I have absolutely loved playing here, loved my decision to come to Baylor. Each team, I have great memories; still have friendships I will have forever at Baylor. I love Waco, everything about this team. This team this year was special and what a way to go out my senior year. So very happy in my career.