Cantillo Makes A Difference With Softball

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM RT Cantillo
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
RT Cantillo
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

April 17, 2014

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. — March 31 was a big day for RT Cantillo. It was the day of the Rebels’ Choice Awards and the 2014 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft, which both started at 7 p.m. CT.

Her older sister, Chelsea, who played softball at Georgia, called her about five minutes before the draft and told her she would be following the draft and let her know.

Pick after pick passed, and after 11 picks had been made Cantillo turned her phone over and her attention toward the program, resigned to the fact she was not going to get picked.

And then, with 19 of the 20 total picks in the books, she had five new messages from her older sister, the last one informing her she was selected by the Chicago Bandits with the 20th and final pick of the draft

“I couldn’t really say anything because Rebels’ Choice Awards was going on, so I was just sitting in my chair excited,” Cantillo said. “I tapped by best friend next to me and said, ‘Be happy with me because I can’t right now.’ I couldn’t really celebrate as much.”

“We knew there was an interest, but you never know,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “With only 20 softball players across the country getting drafted, it’s really tough to determine who is going to get picked by these teams. We definitely knew she was talented enough and we knew that she would be an asset to any team who chose her.”

Cantillo, who ranks in the top 10 in school history in 12 different statistical categories, including first in on-base percentage (.484), second in batting average (.362) and third in runs (121), will leave as one of the most accomplished players in Ole Miss history.

“There have been so many memories, just thinking about it,” Cantillo said. “It all starts with when I was 4-years-old hitting off a tee with a helmet that was too big for me, and it just kind of built from there. It’s a bittersweet thing. I’m getting my college degree, but at the same time, I’m going to start a new chapter, meaning I have to leave. I have made so many friends here at Ole Miss. It was my dream come true.”

“She’s been roaming center field every year for four years,” Thees said. “There will be something a little bit different when you look out and don’t see RT Cantillo in center field for Ole Miss softball. That’s going to be strange. She has left a mark that will last for decades. It’s not just the stats that she has put up, but she shows up and she wants to win and she works hard every game to be the best athlete she can be.”

The Santa Ana, Calif., native remembers when she thought she would never leave her home state, and when she was in high school just trying to get to college.

Now, she’s less than a month away from the first day of practice with her pro team on May 15 and the season opener two weeks later on May 29. The new chapter for Cantillo also includes a coaching position at a Division I school, where she will pursue a master’s degree in sports administration.

“I’m looking to have fun and constantly be learning new things,” Cantillo said. “It’s going to be the same concept but maybe a different way to do it or a different way to explain it because I want to coach and have my own organization when I’m older. If anything, I’m expecting to learn new coaching styles or a different way to go about changing something, or even how to communicate with kids.”

Since the summer after her sophomore year, when she worked at Georgia’s softball camp, she has wanted to coach younger kids, and she wanted to do it where the sport is not as developed. Both playing professionally and coaching collegiately, Cantillo said, help her in this goal.

“Even when I was in a slump, or had the worst possible day, whether it was softball or otherwise, whenever I would go over and coach these kids, it was like falling in love with the sport all over again,” said Cantillo of coaching younger kids out of Hernando, Miss. “It reminds you of why you started playing, so I would love to coach little kids.”

For Cantillo, it has been a dream come true, from Ole Miss, to the start of her professional career, to the start of her coaching career, as she continues to give back to the sport that has given her so much.

“It’s probably the best feeling ever,” Cantillo said. “I would talk about what I want to do with my roommates. When I met one of their friends, they introduced me as, ‘This is my roommate RT, and she wants to change the world with softball.’ I never realized that I sounded like that, but it means a lot to me because that’s what it’s done for me. It’s given me so many opportunities. It changed my life for the better, and that’s why I want to do so much with it.”

 

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 28-May 4, 2015)

      Monday, May 4, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 28-May 4, 2015Baseball - The Rebels started the week defeating the Bulldogs, 11-1 in the annual Governor's Cup. The 10-run win for the Rebels marked the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history... read more

    • VIDEO: Rebel Road Trip 2015

      Monday, May 4, 2015 - Athletics

      Rebel Road Trip 2015 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • More on Steelers' Selection of Golson

      Friday, May 1, 2015 - Football

      Welcome to Pittsburgh...and welcome to #SteelersNation, @Quez_G! #SteelersDraft pic.twitter.com/oY8wZc10Kk-- Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 2, 2015 Congrats Senquez Golson! Drafted 56th overall in the 2015 #NFLDRAFT by the Pittsburgh Steelers. #HottyToddy #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/EPGayDNOu7-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) May 2, 2015 Ole... read more

    • Six Rebels Among Inaugural Scott County HOF Class

      Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - Athletics

      Six men with ties to Ole Miss were part of the inaugural class of 25 athletes and coaches inducted into the Scott County Hall of Fame this past Saturday at Roosevelt State Park in Morton. It is believed that this... read more

    • Freeze, Tuohy Conclude Play at Charity Golf Tournament

      Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - Football

      In a tie for 7th place at 7-under, @OleMissFB takes home $30,000 in charity and scholarship. #CFAPBGolf pic.twitter.com/qd0JzilyYR-- #CFAPBGolf (@CFAPeachBowl) April 28, 2015 The Ole Miss team of head football coach Hugh Freeze and Sean Tuohy turned in a strong... read more

    • Tennis Teams React to NCAA Tournament Selections

      Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - Men's Tennis

      The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis team learned their postseason destinations, as the men's and women's NCAA Tournament fields were announced Tuesday. The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are the No. 14 overall seed and will be... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 21-27, 2015)

      Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 21-27, 2015Baseball - During the five-game homestand, Ole Miss went 3-2 with a midweek win over Central Arkansas as well as claiming a weekend series over Alabama.  - The Rebels recorded 68 hits throughout... read more

    • Freeze Wins Long Drive Competition

      Monday, April 27, 2015 - Football

      With a distance of 287-yards, the 2015 #CFAPBGolf Coaches Division Long Drive Champion is @CoachHughFreeze! pic.twitter.com/ProCdgbbg9-- #CFAPBGolf (@CFAPeachBowl) April 27, 2015 Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze took home the long drive title at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- April 26

      Sunday, April 26, 2015 - Athletics

      Hugh Freeze and Ross Bjork embarked on the Rebel Road Trip, the baseball team claimed their weekend series over Alabama that featured the largest crowd of the season and the football program's NFL presence is expected to grow with the... read more

    • Bramlett Helps Rebels Complete DH Sweep, Clinch Series

      Sunday, April 26, 2015 - Baseball

      Ole Miss swept a doubleheader Saturday, defeating Alabama 10-2 in Game One and 4-0 in Game Two. As a pitching staff, the Rebels allowed just one earned run and scattered a combined 12 hits with 17 strikeouts compared to just... read more

    • Freeze, Tuohy to Rep Ole Miss at Charity Golf Tournament

      Friday, April 24, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze will team with former All-SEC basketball player Sean Tuohy to represent the Rebels for the fourth straight year and compete for a share of the $520,000 total purse in the ninth annual Chick-fil-A... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Football Season Tickets Promo

      Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - Football

      read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Baseball Stars Wars Night Intro

      Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - Baseball

      read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 14-20, 2015)

      Monday, April 20, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 14-20, 2015Men's Tennis- Ole Miss downed No. 22 Vanderbilt 4-1 to advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the 16th time in program history.- The Rebels rallied to take the doubles point and then got... read more

    • Rebels Continue Push to Host in NCAA's

      Thursday, April 16, 2015 - Men's Tennis

      With a split of road matches at South Carolina and No. 8 Georgia, the Ole Miss men's tennis team moved up one spot to No. 13 in the nation entering the Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Championship this week in College... read more