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Friday, January 21, 2022

Baseball

Picture captures one senior’s legacy


The picture used by the NCAA to show that UH had advanced to the Super Regionals shows a young man in a red jersey with an albino numeral 1 below the italicized word Cougars. A Nike Swoosh runs up his shoulder, lost in the emotional intensity of the outfielder’s face as he crossed homeplate, scoring in his team’s 12-2 victory over LSU.

He’s clearly smiling, though it’s a little lost in what looks like a primal victory roar. This moment, his moment, is easily the greatest senior portrait that outfielder Landon Appling could ask for.

“It was pretty cool, I’m not gonna lie,” Appling said with a laugh. “It was just awesome. Of course it was.”

Appling has had several memorable moments for UH, including an over the shoulder, on the run catch of a deep fly ball to centerfield last year that head coach Todd Whitting still calls one of the best catches he’s even seen.

Several of his better catches resulted in colliding with the centerfield wall at Cougar Field, which he admitted is probably still home to a few dents.

“I have some good memories playing on this field,” Appling said.

When not flashing leather in the field, such as smashing into the outfield wall at Alex Box Stadium during UH’s 5-4 Sunday victory over LSU, his moments with the bat have been well-timed, such as knocking in two RBIs in UH’s 12-2 victory over LSU to clinch the Regional Championship.

Head coach Todd Whitting, whose return to UH directly overlapped with Appling’s arrival, observed that his tenure had allowed him to enjoy one of the the more sentimental aspects of coaching college baseball.

“I love it. One of the reasons you do this is to see people have great success,” Whitting said. “It’s rewarding to me to see guys like Landon, who’s been here for four years, since the day I walked in here.”

Of Appling’s freeze-framed moment of glory, Whitting agreed with the consensus that it was the perfect timing of player and moment.

“It was an awesome picture,” said Whitting. “I love seeing guys have success and he’s had some serious ups and downs, some injuries in his career, but I’m really proud for him.”

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