LOS FRESNOS — Samantha Campos has known since she was 10 years old that she wanted to play college softball.
She started playing the game at 5, and soon after she was traveling to places like Florida and Utah with various select teams, sometimes playing up to six games in one day. All the time, money and hard work Campos and her family put in led to the Los Fresnos catcher reaching her goal.
On Thursday, Campos signed to play with Oklahoma Baptist University in the Great American Conference at the NCAA Division II level. She thanked a plethora of coaches that were all present to celebrate her milestone, her teammates, friends, family and especially her dad for their help, support and encouragement throughout the years.
“It feels great. It’s such a relief to finally sign and finally know where I’m going, because for a long time I didn’t know where I was going,” Campos said. “All my coaches, thank you so much, because everyone played a big role in me going to the college level. I want to thank my parents for taking me to all those tournaments and providing all this money for me to play. A lot of it, most of it, pretty much everything has to do with my dad.”
Campos played shortstop and catcher throughout her four-year varsity career at Los Fresnos and received all-District 32-6A honors every season. She was tabbed the sophomore of the year in 2019. This year, along with accolades for her on-field performances, Campos made the Texas Girls Coaches Association academic all-state team.
As a senior, Campos had the trust of her coaches and teammates to do something not many high school catchers get to do: she called the pitches during every game.
“We really worked with Sam about reading batters and calling the pitches, and this year I just turned her loose,” former Los Fresnos coach Traci Blackman said. “Me being a control freak and all, that was very hard for me, but I had enough faith in her and her pitchers had enough faith in her that we let her call the games. She did an amazing job; look at how far she got us. I’m super proud of her.”
Campos said having the responsibility to call pitches made her a better player. She had a vital role in the Lady Falcons team that won a co-district championship and reached the Sweet 16, and the lessons she learned this season will help her in college.
“The calling pitches part really helped a lot. … Going so deep in the playoffs, playing such good teams really helped a lot, too,” Campos said. “(Calling pitches) made me feel trusted and like a leader. I felt really confident in what I was calling. We did have a good season, and I’m not saying that was all me, obviously not, but I do take a lot of pride in that.”
The future Bison will be competing primarily for playing time at catcher at OBU, but she might get some looks at shortstop, too. She’s looking forward to playing for coach Sam Maples and being part of a school she called “super welcoming” and a good environment.
“I was talking to maybe two or three other schools, but at the end of the day it was about communication,” Campos said. “Coach Maples was always communicating with me even though I would struggle to communicate sometimes. Other coaches didn’t really communicate as much, so it didn’t make me feel like they wanted me on their teams. The fact that Coach Maples was really interested in me, that’s what made me want to go there.”