May 25, 2002 - by
Leslie Malerich Diary – Day Four

May 25, 2002

Day 4 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:

It was great to finally be able to sleep in today. I woke up at around 10 am, which seemed to be the average wake up time for everybody. Breakfast was on our own, but we all met at Panera of course, as a team for lunch. Panera was crazy; it seemed like everybody staying at our hotel was eating there.

The other day at the softball stadium, a reporter from the Daily Oklahoman asked me what I liked best about Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I told him that it was the Panera Bread Restaurant right next to our hotel. They have them back home in Indiana, but unfortunately Tallahassee doesn’t one. So, it’s been great to eat there everyday. The reporter posted what I said with my picture in the paper the day before. Evidently, the manager at the Panera Bread read what I said and when he saw me he thanked me for the nice compliment. I just love that place!

After lunch we all had to meet to leave for the field by 12:45. We had a team picture taken outside the ASA Softball Hall of Fame building around a statute. Then we headed to the practice fields for our usual pre-game warm-ups. We shared the field with California, but this time we were on the other side of the field, being the home team for this game. Our team still seemed pretty relaxed and the attitude by the players was the same as yesterday when we beat UCLA.

As Kimmy and I headed for the main field to begin warm-ups in the bullpen, I was surprised to see my uncle, who had driven from Indiana through the night to get here for the start of the game. I was so excited to see him. I almost cried because it’s been such a long time since we saw each other. But I am so glad he was able to come and see me pitch.

As game time rapidly approached, that revenge factor was definitely in our minds. We wanted to get back at Cal for what happened last year in the regional at Tallahassee, when they came back to beat us in extra innings to go to the College World Series. Unfortunately, we came up a little short. We lost 1-0 to the Golden Bears. I was so upset with myself that I gave up a homerun that ended up being the decisive run in the ballgame. After the game, all the girls told me I pitched really well. It was nice to hear that from them, but I’m such a big competitor and it is just part of a pitcher’s mentality to feel at fault for a team’s loss.

On top of that, I also had my first embarrassing television moment of my collegiate career. As I was about to deliver a pitch, I threw the ball right off my knee leaving a really nice bruise on my leg. It stung for a while, but I was so embarrassed.

During the game, Becky Brock made a great attempt on a foul ball that was going towards the dugout. She was watching the ball the whole time and finally ran out of room before she could catch the ball. She was so determined to catch that ball that she almost did a complete flip over the fence into our dugout. She has been nursing an ankle sprain for a couple days, but looked great on that attempt. Becky is definitely looking like her old self again.

After the game, we were all down a little bit, but we know how important it is to bounce back. We all feel that we are very capable of beating either Nebraska or Michigan. We just need to remain relaxed and stay confident in ourselves that we can do it.

Everyone was on the own for dinner. So my family and I all went to the Mickey Mantle Restaurant in Bricktown, which is located in downtown Oklahoma City. Although the meal was very expensive, it was so nice to spend time with my family and catch up on things. It was great to just visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins whom I haven’t seen in awhile too.

At the restaurant, our waiter was taking our drink order and when he saw me he stopped. He looked at me and told me he just saw me on television. He goes, “you’re the girl who just pitched for Florida State.” I was a little hesitant, but then I told him it was me. There were a few other people who saw me and wished the team luck. I was really surprised at how many people recognized Florida State playing in the College World Series. It was amazing; these people really follow softball up here.

I am really excited about tomorrow because more of family is coming to watch the team and I play. I also found out that my other aunt, uncle and two cousins are coming down from Indiana. Then I found out that Robbie, my boyfriend, is going to be able to come to the game on Saturday, as well. I was so excited when I heard he was coming.

When I got back to the hotel, the team seemed very relaxed and you could tell that they were in good spirits. I was walking down the hall to my room when I was scared to death by Mo (Monique Marier). She was coming out of her room and she was wearing this mud mask that took me by surprise. It was a little startling, but definitely a good look (laughing).

Saturday morning the team is going to the Oklahoma City National Memorial at 11 am. I am looking forward to seeing it for the second time. The last time I was there a lot of what was left from the building was still standing. It was a pretty scary sight. I really feel the team is looking forward to getting back on the field and get another victory.

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