Cambria Salmon said she learned to throw every pitch with determination in her sophomore season.
Salmon impressed in her first campaign with the Beaumont High School softball team last season, but even she admitted to being more of a pitcher than a pitcher in her first season at the high school level. Salmon was determined to make the full transition this season.
“I thought about the end of last season and didn’t like it,” Salmon said, referring to a 3-2 loss to Etiwanda in the first round of the playoffs. “I missed a shot and it ended up being the difference between us winning or losing.
“Every pitch counts. You can throw 99 perfect pitches, but that missed pitch can turn things around.”
The Salmon has rarely missed this season and delivered one of the most dominant seasons by an inside pitcher in recent years. She was 19-4 inside the circle and finished with a .54 ERA and 309 strikeouts in 160 1/3 innings. Salmon also hit .338 with five homers and a team-high 19 RBIs.
For these reasons, Salmon was selected the IE College Softball Player of the Year.
Salmon must have been at the top of her game, as Beaumont found herself in a number of nail biters throughout the season. The Cougars played 10 games that were decided by one run and four other games were decided by two or three runs.
Salmon’s four losses were 1-0 losses, and she allowed 11 combined hits in those games. Salmon hasn’t given up a point in 13 appearances and has only allowed more than two points in a game once.
“There was a lot of pressure in so many close games like this, but you just have to trust your stuff and keep doing the job you’re supposed to do,” Salmon said. “Softball can be a game of chess, but if you do your part to the best of your ability, you can come away with your head held high.”
The Salmon has an impressive pitching repertoire, including a fast rising ball that often has opposing hitters chasing the air. However, she kept the batters guessing this season and increased her hitting total by mixing up her other pitches. Salmon became the first Inland pitcher to reach 300 strikeouts in a season since Yucaipa’s Brooke Bolinger accomplished the feat in 2015.
“I think I got smarter as a pitcher and learned to hit my spots more consistently,” Salmon said. “You can’t rely on a single pitch when you’re up against good hitters. They will eventually make all the adjustments and catch up. This season I wanted to improve my spin and movement and make my off-speed throws as strong as the uphill.
Beaumont has had success on the softball field in the past — the Cougars made back-to-back CIF Southern Section Finals appearances in 2011 and 2012 — but the program isn’t well known outside of it. Inland Empire. That changed this season, as Salmon and the Cougars held off some of the state’s top teams in the prestigious Michelle Carew Classic.
“We want to put Beaumont softball on a bigger map, and I believe we’ve started to do that,” Salmon said.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Smith guided the Mustangs to new heights during his five-year tenure with the program. Roosevelt won the Big VIII League title for the first time and also won his first CIF Southern Section crown.
The Mustangs did the latter in exciting fashion, scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh to stun Los Alamitos and claim the Division 1 championship with a 5-4 victory. Smith made history with the win, becoming the first softball coach in section history to lead three programs to titles (also Chino Hills and Chino).
The Mustangs also advanced to the CIF State Division I Regional Championship Game and nearly earned another victory from behind before falling to Oaks Christian. Roosevelt set a program record with 29 wins.
First IE university team
P: Giselle Bentley, centenarian, Sr.
P: Caylea Rains-Campbell, Murrieta Mesa, Jr.
P: Salmon Cambria, Beaumont, So.
P: Brooklyn Shroyer, Bonita, Jr.
P: Jada Villegas, Cajon, So.
C: Jasmyn Burns, Murrieta Mesa, Jr.
C: Alexia Lopez, Roosevelt, Sr.
IF: Samantha Bland, Chino Hills, Jr.
SI: Kaylynn Jones, Roosevelt, So.
IF: Kayla Lyon, Roosevelt, Sr.
SI: Emma Martinez, Yucaipa, Sr.
IF: Ramsey Suarez, Great Oak, Sr.
IF: Jailey Wilson, Etiwanda, Jr.
FROM: Abby Dayton, Norco, Sr.
FROM: Taelyn Holley, Murrieta Mesa, p.
FROM: Regan Shockey, Chino Hills, Jr.
FROM: Alayah Toscano, centenarian, Sr.
UT: Paige Cowley, Upland, Sr.
UT: Priscilla Llamas, Roosevelt, So.
UT: Mya Perez, Norco, Jr.
Second IE Varsity Team
P: Ovionna Hayes, Don Lugo, So.
P: Bri Garcia, Riverside Poly, Sr.
P: Selena Gallegos, San Jacinto, So.
P: Miali Gauchino, Grand Chêne, So.
C: Saige Alexander, Yucaipa, Sr.
C: Elle Komara, Etiwanda, Jr.
C: Brooklyn Lee, Western Christian, Jr.
SI: Melody Acevedo, Hillcrest, Fr.
IF: Mercedes Alba, Cajon, Jr.
SI: Jaeya Butler, Thomas Aquinas, Jr.
SI: Alyssa Doucette, Bonita, So.
IF: Katlyn Gifford, Ramona, Sr.
IF: Alyssa Hovermale, Norco, Jr.
SI: Ci’ella Pickett, Redlands East Valley, Fr.
FROM: Jaden Colunga, Grand Terrace, Sr.
FROM: Jaelin Haynes, Citrus Valley, Sr.
FROM: Ashleigh Mejia, Santiago, So.
FROM: Mariah Vargas, Rancho Cucamonga, So.
UT: Jenna Peters, Temescal Canyon, Sr.
UT: Cassidy Shaw, Heritage, Jr.