May 22, 2002
A day-by-day look at Seminole Senior Pitcher Leslie Malerich, as Florida State prepares for their 6th appearance in the Women’s College World Series:
Day 2 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:
Our second day in Oklahoma City started with a 7:30 am wake up call for our 8:15 team meeting in the hotel lobby. We got everything packed in the cars and were ready to head to the fields for practice when we realized we were missing a few people. Monique (Marier), Jackie (Hirschfeld), and Bryttani (Lindheim) were a little late getting to the vans after grabbing some breakfast at Panera Bread. And may I add that the team has unanimously chosen Panera Bread as the official team restaurant of the Florida State Seminoles for the 2002 College World Series. While we are on the subject of Panera Bread, I have to recommend the cinnamon crunch bagel, it is simply to die for. I think I won some of my teammates over after they tried a bite of mine this morning. It is so GOOD!!!
Anyway, once we gathered up everybody, we got to the fields a half-hour early to do some stretching before our 9 am practice time. It took some time getting used to the weather once we were at the stadium. It was amazingly windy at the fields and it didn’t help us any with all the dust and sand blowing all over the place. The first 15 minutes of our infield/outfield was a little shaky, you could definitely tell we were taken back by the weather conditions. But after that, I think we really settled down and had a great practice. We were thinking about stealing some of the practice balls at the stadium because they were all marked with the 2002 WCWS logo, but don’t worry we didn’t. Becky Brock threw batting practice to the team for the first time this season and made the comment of how she can relate to us pitchers after throwing batting practice. She told me how tired her arm was afterwards. This was actually a good practice for me. It was the first time I picked up a ball since Sunday at the Regional in Tallahassee.
After practice, we spent a couple hours in the ASA Softball Museum taking care of some things for television. We all had to fill out these questions pertaining to interesting fun facts about us and then we got our pictures taken for TV. Brandi (Stuart), Coach Graf, and I were selected to talk to ESPN, which was pretty exciting. The one question that I remember them asking me was about Sunday and collecting three victories in the regional. I totally forgot the next question that one of the interviewers asked me. So I just made up something that sounded good about us being in the College World Series. After I was finished, Michelle Tafoya from ESPN asked me about my birthday landing on a Leap Year. I told her that I celebrate the day before, but was fortunate enough to have my 21st on my actual birthday.
The museum was filled with so much history. It was neat watching everyone’s reaction as they walked around looking at all the pictures and old-style uniforms hanging all over the walls. I was real intrigued with Jessica (van der Linden). They had one portion of the museum dedicated to the 1996 USA Softball gold medal team. They were showing video clips of the series and Jess was watching that video so intensely. I don’t think you could have paid her to walk away from that screen.
After we finished at the museum, it was time for lunch. And you know what that means…MORE PARNERA! I just can’t get enough of that place. Anyway, we all rested up after lunch and then watched a motivation highlight video that Campo made for us for the WCWS. It was really good and you could tell he put in a lot of time making that video. During our down time, Jackie finally found a butter knife so she could spread the caramel on her apple, which she got from basket of goodies that were given to us complements of the WCWS. Ever since she got that apple, she was so determined to find a knife to spread that caramel so she could eat it. It was funny watching her look all over the place.
The best part of day came when it was time to get ready for the banquet. We all had our doors open on our floor and were helping each other get ready. It was so much fun helping each other look great! The banquet was filled with great food, lots of pictures, video highlights of all the teams and some reminiscing of this year’s most memorable moments. Kimmy and Coach Graf got up to represent FSU and shared those moments with the rest of the crowd.
Of course the most memorable moment from this year was when Coach Graf fell to the floor in telling Mo to slide in at third base. It was a sight to see Coach get on the ground to get her message across, but hey it worked Mo was safe on the play. But Coach Graf defended herself saying, “We don’t get to third very often, so I have to take advantage of every opportunity we get.” Coach got a good laugh from the crowd. Brandi (Stuart) collected First Team All-American from FSU, and may I add that she was one of the smallest girls up there on stage. Some of those girls were pretty big.
After the banquet, it was time to wind down for all of us and get ready for tomorrow. We know we can beat UCLA and that’s the most important thing. We have just has much of a chance as the other seven teams in this tournament to win the whole thing. I can sense that we are still laid back, but at the same time pumped for the opportunity to beat the Bruins. No one is giving us a chance to beat them, which is a great position to be in because there is no pressure on us. I look at us to pick up that same mentality we had headed into this past Sunday on the final day of the Regional in Tallahassee. I think we are all excited about the opportunity to take the field tomorrow morning for the opening game of the World Series.