Never mind the sing-song cheer, the braided ponytail, the accompanying blue and yellow ribbon that bounces with every step.
Jolene Henderson will yank your heart out with a gleeful snarl.
Henderson, a senior softball pitcher for Cal, competes with the mentality of a defensive tackle pinned against the goal line. No wonder her jersey bears No. 54. It's a tribute to her father, Joe, who wore the number as a lineman at Idaho State in the 1980s. Joe Henderson introduced his daughters to softball and coached them with one prevailing theme: Stay tough.
In 2011, Henderson heeded the advice. The Sheldon High School graduate gutted out her sophomore season as the Bears' leading pitcher. The stress fracture in her hip was so excruciating, she winced with every windmill delivery, and when she wasn't pitching, she was on crutches. She waited until after her All-America season to rest and recover, deeming bailing on her team a leadership failure.
This season, Henderson has missed just one game after suffering a concussion, a reminder of her football mentality.
"Dove into a girl in a game and smashed my head into the ground," Henderson said with a grin, reveling in the memory. "It was brutal. But that's how I play - all out. You have to. That's what I learned from my dad. I hated to sit out. With the stress fracture, it killed me to not be in games. It was the hardest thing for me, not helping my team. Not the stress fracture - I could handle that."
Henderson entered Cal a bit overwhelmed by the jump in competition, but she has settled in, becoming the Bears' greatest pitcher ever. On March 24, Henderson surpassed Michelle Granger, the softball coach at Granite Bay High, as the program's winningest pitcher with 120. Now Henderson is working toward her third Pacific-12 Conference Pitcher of the Year award and a return to the Women's College World Series.
Henderson said she never felt better than she did Saturday. She struck out a season-high 15 for victory No. 121 and 1,031 career strikeouts to lead No. 4 Cal past Sacramento State 1-0 at Shea Stadium.
Young softball players and fans flocked to Henderson, who signed autographs and posed for photos - her right arm and shoulder encased in ice, yet another football-like scene.
"But I don't get sore," Henderson said with a smile. "It's a mindset."
Later Saturday, Henderson's dad and mom, Mickey, hosted the Cal team for a barbecue at their Elk Grove home. It's no ordinary suburban back yard, not when it features a regulation softball field with 200-foot fences Joe installed 12 years ago.
The field was a great place to learn the game for Jolene and younger sister Danielle, Cal's slugging third baseman.
"My dad's been great," Jolene said. "My whole family has been awesome. I learned the most during my freshman year at Cal. I wasn't consistent as a pitcher. I talked to my dad a lot about it. It wasn't the physical jump to the college game; it was the mental jump. I read a lot of books on the mental part of this, and I got better."
Henderson hopes to be drafted today by a National Pro Fastpitch team. She's also considering playing professionally overseas. Eventually, she said, she wants to coach.
"I've done camps and clinics, and what I've seen, the confidence level and passion is what they need the most," Henderson said. "I worked with so many who don't have confidence. Sometimes they just need some attention. I want to inspire them. I believe in people so much, and I want to teach them that you have to have the mindset that you're stronger than the one you're playing against. The moment you think you can be broken, you'll be broken."
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.