Florida State coach Lonni Alameda sat down with the media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Thursday’s game against UCLA (9:30 p.m. on ESPN) as well as right-hander Kathryn Sandercock, FSU’s veterans and more. Here are some highlights of Alameda’s thoughts on five topics.
Thoughts on UCLA
Similarities, Rachel Garcia. Pretty good. Hitters pretty good. Got a lot of tradition. UCLA is a great program. Always has been a great program. I think the key is making sure that we can get away from the long ball and big swings and really have some consistent quality at-bats against them. That’s something in 2018 against Rachel that we really worked on is she does what she does, she strikes people out. She’s a tough pitcher and if you can make sure to have quality aat-bats, maybe in the later innings someone can get an opportunity. And that played well for us at that point. Quality team and excited to play them … It’s always an amazing game and amazing opportunity.
Kathryn Sandercock’s development
Super proud of her and her recognition today, an All-American. Kat is very driven. She’s always been very driven. She’ll come into my office and asked me, ‘I want to be this kind of pitcher. I want to be part of the legacy of Meghan King and Jessica Burroughs and Lacey Waldrip.’ People that have been here that leave this pitching rubber, leave this bullpen better for someone else. And it’s so awesome to know that someone’s hungry to do that and put the work in. Weight room is huge, making sure she was strong so she could get through an entire season. She went back, her and her dad really put the time in on their own, developing other pitches, making sure that she has different sequences. Kat’s a student of the game. She loves studying the game. Even on the way over here I saw her looking at the spray charts and and getting an idea for UCLA. She understands herself quite well. But then she really takes it to the next level of understanding who she’s going against. And then I would say lastly, I think what’s really elevated Kat’s game is the connection she’s made with her teammates. She’s a pitch to contact (pitcher) even though she does earn her fair bit of strikeouts. And when you can eye up your teammates and they trust that you’re giving the best in the circle, then they can give their best for you. And she’s built those relationships over time to make sure that they’re ready to play behind her. Really proud of her. And so excited that we have a couple more years with her.
Impressions on this team’s grit
“I love that they’re having fun with it. I think it’s so important that we enjoy this time of year. We trust each other. I think when you’re really comfortable as a person, as a team, you can enjoy big pressure moments. We always talk about you’ve earned these moments, you have earned big stadiums, people yelling. You have an opportunity to be here and enjoy it. I really get excited, we as a coaching staff get excited when our players are enjoying, smiling and loving moments.”
On having 2018 WCWS veterans back in 2021
“I don’t think this week changes anything from the last weekend or the weekend before. You get here and you do you do. You continue to enjoy softball. The stage doesn’t change anything … If anything, Syd Sherrill, (Elizabeth) Mason, Anna (Shelnutt), just relax and have fun and do what they do. And just make it as simple as we’re playing some softball, and we get to play. We get to play and enjoy it.”
On the prospect of softball replay
“Always a fan of making the game better. And the more that technology gets in our game, it’s definitely making the game better. The one thing I just want to make sure that we’re really thorough on is not slowing the game down. I think the pace of play is something that’s been really awesome for our game and has really elevated our game. I know a lot of people love how fast the game of softball is. So if you’re stopping it quite a bit to watch replay, you’re going to slow it back down again. So I just want to make sure we’re diligent on what the percentages of replay situations are that would benefit the game vs. having replay on a ton of things. And I know in the ACC tournament we had it. It was outstanding. And it was twice that we had the thought to use it. I don’t think it slowed too much down. The umpires were great with it. The SEC obviously has it in their tournament too. So as we are the guinea pigs in this and we build this, I think we could give a quality opportunity for the World Series and just regular-season games. But definitely don’t want to slow our game down. I think for TV it’s been outstanding for us to have a good pace of play.”