Britney Salinas will never forget the final moments of her softball career at Knox College.
Well into her senior season, which concluded this spring, Salinas had been enjoying arguably the most productive campaign of her four-year career with the Prairie Fire, hitting well over .300 and starting every game in the outfield. But some of her most memorable moments came during the team’s two-game homestand and season finale against conference rival Monmouth College.
Salinas was one of several seniors honored during the Senior Day matchup on April 28, which lasted 18 innings with Monmouth College outlasting Knox College 5-4. Despite the loss, Salinas went 5-for-8 with one double and one RBI in the game. The former Rochelle Township High School softball standout went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base in the season finale on May 2, leading the Prairie Fire over the Scots 5-3 and catching a fly ball for the final out of the game.
“I’ll never forget making the final catch for the final out in my final game,” Salinas said. “That was a special moment for me. I loved the team environment at Knox College, especially this season. I met some of my closest friends on the softball team and I always felt like I could relieve my stress and be myself. Knox College always emphasized school first, so I never felt like I had to choose between school and sports. It was a good balance and we had a lot of fun as a team.”
Salinas started all 31 games for the Prairie Fire this season, setting career-highs in several statistical categories. The center fielder recorded a .375 batting average while leading the team with 36 hits and 21 RBIs as well as a .430 on-base percentage and a .490 slugging percentage. Her five hits against Monmouth College were the most in a single game in her college career.
“I was really proud of how I performed this season,” Salinas said. “I loved our team chemistry this season and I felt it was the best it had ever been. We always picked each other up and kept our energy going. I wouldn’t change how my final season went or the people I shared it with.”
Salinas caught fire over the final month of her senior season, closing the season on a 12-game hitting streak while totaling 22 hits and a .537 batting average during that span. Her success at the plate helped her earn Second-Team All-Midwest Conference honors as well as the team’s Most Valuable Player Award this season. The awards were special for Salinas, who struggled with a shoulder injury during her junior season and worked to rediscover her confidence.
“The support from my teammates and my family was amazing,” Salinas said. “I struggled last season with my hitting as well as a shoulder injury and falling into a slump. I wasn’t sure how I would come back this season. I worked hard over the offseason with my former travel team, Express Fastpitch, and I built my confidence back up. I broke my swing down again and when I returned to Knox, I continued to work with my coach until I felt my swing was smoother.”
Salinas started 101 games throughout her four-year softball career, finishing with 82 hits, 60 runs and 35 RBIs. Salinas, who received her bachelor’s degree earlier this spring, intends to enroll at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, where she plans to continue her education for the next three-plus years before working under a practicing chiropractor. Salinas majored in biochemistry and minored in psychology during her time at Knox College.
“I always enjoyed the sciences, so I knew they were something I wanted to study further,” Salinas said. “Once I began exploring the biochemistry path, I realized that it combined my interests into one major and one that would greatly help me for my future at Palmer. With psychology, I always enjoyed learning about how the mind works and how it affects our thoughts, memories, emotions and behaviors. Psychology has interested me since high school.”