By RT Taylor Cantillo
Last Line Defense/Outfield Instructor
Cover and Conquer is preparing as many students (athletes, coaches, parents) wanting to know more about the outfield and to go about it.
In high school, I had this coach who told me, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” It has stuck with me to this day but changed meanings a couple of times. Coaching isn’t what it used to be. Coaching used to be instructing and now it has become more of a managing role and you rely on lessons to get the coaching.
Growing up I was naturally athletic. I was just lucky enough to get quality instructors to teach me how to use my gift for the game of softball. Outfielders aren’t necessarily the first people college coaches look at so I want to better prepare outfielders to allow them to be big on their teams and transfer that to being prepared for life after softball.
After graduating from Ole Miss and playing with the Chicago Bandits, it all kind of hit me in a different perspective. Now when I think back to it, I think about how I was given so much quality instruction and how there isn’t much quality instruction for outfielders.
There was a girl who came to one of my clinics in California and she was amazed at how many drills she did for outfield because her coach just hit pop flies and ground balls.
My little sister is a freshman a Mississippi State now but when she verballed, she started to train hardcore. I could never do what she did. So I asked her if she was going to get ready for State and she said that if she wanted to be great then she needed to set herself up. She went on to point out that a lot of the big SEC players were outfielders and went on to name Megan Wiggins, Haylie McCleney, Taylor Schlopy and on. Whether they were always outfielders or moved there in college, outfielders at that level have proven to be game changers.
When I do clinics or whenever I have downtime, I start to think about that. I think about all those outfielders who have been the last line of defense. That’s what Cover and Conquer is, it is spreading knowledge to the world one outfielder at a time.
Cantillo finished her Ole Miss career with a .481 on-base percentage, the highest mark in program history. Her .354 batting average is the second highest. All together, Cantillo is ranked in the top 10 in 14 statistical categories at Ole Miss including batting average, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, runs, walks, total bases, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, stolen bases, hit by pitch and fielding percentage. She also played for the Chicago Bandits of the NPF.
She will be featured in a series of Coaches’ Corner stories giving advice to outfielders and coaches.