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June 5, 2023

Lonni Alameda

Michaela Edenfield

Bethaney Keen

Kathryn Sandercock

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Florida State Seminoles

Postgame Press Conference

Florida State 5, Tennessee 1

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Florida State.

We'll start with a statement from head coach Lonni Alameda.

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, just hats off to Tennessee and their season. Ashley Rogers is an incredible pitcher. I know it's hard to be on the other side of that. There are some incredible ball players on that team.

That's a really gritty win for us. There's they're a really good ballclub. Super proud of our team. We've been talking about rugged, dependable and energetic all season. It is showing up at the right time. I'm really proud of us, of all of us. There's so many people that contributed today. It's just really exciting to be in the championship series.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for players.

Q. Kat, after they called the delay of game on you, looked like you chuckled a little bit. You talked about having the "who cares" mentality this year. How good do you think that mentality has been?

KATHRYN SANDERCOCK: Absolutely huge. I have a fairly long routine, so it isn't the first time that it's happened.

It also partially happened because I got on the rubber and I looked at Michaela for the sign, and I thought I had to look to Coach for the sign. I was laughing at myself that I made that mistake.

I knew we were about to throw a drop away. I was really confident in the pitch. It didn't really bother me. I looked at Michaela. We do that all the time, just me and you out there.

Q. Michaela, on your homer, it seems like you reached down, that ball ends up five rows into the bleachers. How confident are you in your strength?

MICHAELA EDENFIELD: It's a bit of a double-edged sword in a way knowing if I swing and make contact, it has a chance of going pretty far, but also at the same time just sticking to the routine, knowing which pitch I want to get my swing off on. It's been a constant battle for years, honestly.

Just wanting to zone in, just being able to talk to my coaches and figure out, like, a true plan. Being able to stick to it is the biggest part.

I know at that point I was down in that at-bat. I think it was a full count, right? My memory's bad (smiling). At that point it's just a matter of putting the bat on the ball. It's as simple as that. Try to keep it as simple.

Q. What was going through your mind with the final pitch immediately after knowing that your career is going to end in the championship series?

KATHRYN SANDERCOCK: I was just so unbelievably grateful just top to bottom. I'm so grateful for Coach and the coaching staff. I'm so grateful that I'm at Florida State. I'm grateful to be here. I'm grateful for the team. I was really just honestly overwhelmed with gratitude.

It's just every athlete's dream to end their career in a national championship game. I always knew that we could do it, so I'm just really, really, really proud of the team today. Like, I just don't think that words could even express how happy. I'm just so elated to be playing one more day and getting to put the jersey on one more time.

Q. Bethaney, with as long as your college career has been, for this to be your first home run in a Florida State uniform, what was your approach in that at-bat?

BETHANEY KEEN: My approach is kind of sticking to my plan. The day after super regionals I was focusing on what I needed to focus on, knowing nothing else mattered before then. Just wanted to make sure whenever I get my opportunity now for these moments to be able to capitalize.

Just wanted to get my pitch, stick to my plan, it kind of worked. I just wanted to pass the bat, give everyone else a chance to score some runs. It was a really cool moment.

Q. Michaela, I have to ask about your eye makeup. How long did it take? What was the inspiration behind it?

MICHAELA EDENFIELD: Typically it only takes me, like, 30, 35, sometimes 40, depending. It's like the overthinking to it. I try to keep things as simple as possible. As soon as I start putting colors on my face, I just go for it.

But as you know, it's Pride Month. I wanted to do something just to kind of honor that fact. I was asking around here and there, asking for some opinions. I got a little halfway. I posted my tutorial. Man, people are going to go halfway into this. This is not going to look good (laughter). It's all about trusting the process. That applies on and off the field.

Q. Bethaney and Michaela, Tennessee has three main pitchers they've used all years. You saw all three of them tonight. Can you walk me through the adjustments from one to the next, how you made those adjustments tonight.

BETHANEY KEEN: Yeah, so we, like I said, really stick to the plan of what the pitcher is throwing for strikes and whatnot. Kind of going from the first pitcher to the second, one is kind of firmer, going to more of a choke-and-poke mentality, getting barrel to ball any way we can.

That was the adjustment from that piece. Because kudos to Tennessee's pitching staff. They're here for a reason, they're really good. Just kind of doing whatever we can to really make contact, to put barrel on the ball, especially with three main pitchers was my philosophy.

MICHAELA EDENFIELD: 100%. I think just as an offense, like, you want to get the starting pitcher off the mound as soon as possible. Knowing Tennessee has a great pitching staff, you have to read up on what they do, what they throw, have an idea of how to execute.

I think we all had a pretty good plan on those three. We were prepared. Even if they were to bring in any other pitcher they haven't typically used, just being able to stick and follow the plan was always the goal.

Q. From the pitcher's perspective, the way things were going in the game, McKenna had the four illegal pitches called on her, delay of game call as well. At the same time in executing, what does that say about the pitching you have, the ability to execute?

KATHRYN SANDERCOCK: Was that for me?

Just kind of what we said before. Like all year we've had this "so what, who cares" mentality, just "next pitch" mentality.

The illegal pitches, I think Kenny has had one called on her all season long, so it was crazy she was getting them now all of a sudden. She is such an incredible freshman. She does not look like a freshman out there. Her ability to so what, keep pitching, keep doing her thing. So unbelievably impressed by her.

Kudos to Kenny. I'm super proud of how far she's come.

With the delay of game, I was up 0-2, I was confident in the next pitch, so it doesn't really matter. It's just a "so what, next pitch" mentality. We work on that a lot in practice, in games throughout the entire season. I think it's great that it's showing up for us now.

Q. Lonni scheduled Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in the regular season. How much did those games prepare you for facing No. 1 Oklahoma now?

BETHANEY KEEN: Yeah, I think that was like a really test for our team, kind of what we're made of. Coming in there in what was kind of like the beginning, middle of the season, whatnot, we learned a lot about us, kind of what we're made of, what we need to do.

I think that allowed us to really prepare ourselves kind of going on later in the season, kind of going in these moments right now. Just kind of preparing ourselves.

I think, yeah, we did a really good job (smiling).

MICHAELA EDENFIELD: Definitely I think our coaches pride themselves on making such a great schedule for us. It's one of those things if you want to be the best, you have to play the best.

Those are all great ball clubs. Just being able to start off our season against teams like that, it allows us to make great transitions and being able to learn more about ourselves. That way, when we get three quarters, close to the end of season, we're really bonded and gelled. I think that's definitely showed up today and here while we've been at OKC.

KATHRYN SANDERCOCK: Yeah, what Michaela and B.K. said. It was a great job making our schedule. Kudos to T-Wil on that. They're tough games. We go out there and we wanted to play them, spring break. A long road trip, it was tiring for the team, it was tough on us. I think we went 1-3. We learned a lot about ourselves. I totally believe we wouldn't be where we are now if we hadn't had that experience. It's nice to have a little bit of information, having already played them, so...

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Coach Alameda.

Q. It seems like you are playing complete team softball, given up two runs. How proud are you of the complete team effort?

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, I mean, it's the ultimate goal when you get here, is can you have everything firing on all cylinders. There's no book written on how to do that.

You have to go from your previous experiences, your upperclassmen, what you think they can consistently bring, how you can grow your young ones.

Alluding to our games here in Oklahoma mid-season, we had to figure out what we could do with our pitching staff. We knew what Kat was capable of doing. How could we get outs from our pitching staff. Putting them in those situations helped grow Makenna and Ali and Mack.

It's just been really cool to know you're planting these seeds that hopefully this thing comes to fruition.

I'm really happy for them. This is their moment. Of course, it's my career. My passion is coaching, and I love it. But they're only going to be able to do it for four times. Maybe B.K. seven or eight, whatever it is for her. They're going to have that for the rest of their life. It's super cool to see them earning that.

Q. With the base running tonight, was that a particular focus or something you told them to be aggressive? Was there anything behind that?

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, I mean, we knew that we could probably run on Giulia a little bit. Probably depended on which pitcher was in there. I think we're very aggressive on the base pass, something we practice all the time. We want the defense to stop us. We will err on the side of aggression.

It was a game plan coming in, for sure. I think Oklahoma may be a little bit different. They've got a little bit more ability in the battery. We're still going to take advantage of our first to thirds and second to home, getting after the defense. That's what we've been living on.

Q. That is so much your identity, the way you manufacture runs. So many runs today off home runs. What does that say about the offense and the different ways to win?

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, again, all season long you talk about how you got to stay in it, stay in it, stay in it. You don't know what can happen. Now B.K. will become a legendary story for us.

As a coach, have you this dictionary of moments that you can share with underclassmen when they came in. B.K. still gets after it in the cages. Huge swing for us today. It's neat to see they really enjoy each other as teammates, spend that time, have that moment and opportunity.

I think Hal came on for a while. She's been a little bit cold, but we know it's in her. That's why you have the sticks to come off the bench and do what they do. Tonight was a good matchup for Hal, too, with her swing.

Yeah, if you just keep the pedal to the metal, everybody, and when your chance comes, you're all in it, something can happen for us. It's big.

Q. On the illegal pitches, from your point of view, what did you see? How impressed were you with Makenna to stay composed?

LONNI ALAMEDA: She was way more composed than I was (laughter). The student teaches the teacher, I guess.

Again, the consistency. All season she's been called one time. It was front foot, back foot, front foot. Like who is talking to who right now. Strategy-wise as coaches, we get in the umpires' ears. It bothered me that was happening, next inning there was nothing.

Makenna, can you make this adjustment? She did great. Really excited for her maturity. She's grown a ton this year already. To be in that situation, not let it bother her, was just outstanding.

Q. You come off your interview with Holly, give Kat a big hug. What you're thinking in that moment and what Kat means to this program?

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, tears will start flowing here (smiling).

I think with Kat in the beginning of the year we sat down and really tried to map out innings, try to figure out how can we get Kat to be the best version of herself at this time. When I presented that to her, it meant a lot less starts, a lot less innings, a lot less comfortable situations.

For her to be the teammate that she is, to be like, Okay, I'll do it, then start doing it. She struggled with it. She really prides herself on being really good in moments. She's worked really hard to be the leader of the team. I'm asking her to be a leader in a different way.

The moment to be like I'm so proud of you, to come into a ballgame, it is hard to come in a ballgame and close it out. You have to rely on your abilities and experiences. She's been doing it more and more. She's starting to get comfortable with it. Everything we thought would be is showing up. It's really cool.

Really proud of her to understand that piece on the strategic side. I would say on the growth side, she was such a young kid coming in, could sit and read a book for three days, not see anyone.

Now she's taking control of a team. She has that sass walking off the field, super confident in who she is. You get proud of her as a person, too. She's able to lead these younger pitchers in those moments.

She's the MVP of our team awards. You can see why. She brings everybody together.

The embrace, I love her to death, so proud of her. We would not be here without her.

Q. We talked about after the last game this team's ability to control the swings of the game. How proud are you of that?

LONNI ALAMEDA: Yeah, I mean, we're so fortunate that our conference continues to get better and better. We had one of the highest home run hitting teams in Virginia Tech. Facing Duke, a good adjusting team. Clemson has a great pitcher.

We are week in, week out in conference being challenged on how we could keep momentum in our corner, how we could stop momentum.

Georgia was an outstanding offense, Tennessee is an outstanding offense, Oklahoma State. It's like we've been going back to we've been here before. How can we stop momentum from happening.

That's going to be a challenge for us with Oklahoma, too. They are an outstanding offense. We have to be good in pitching defense, one pitch minded. We don't look too far ahead and dwell on the past. I'm proud of the defense in pitching. It's defense and pitching together that make things happen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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