Sydney Sherrill

Our Stories

Family.

It is a word that can mean many things to many people, but to the Florida State softball program, it is a foundational standard.

Along with “Smart,” “Aggressive,” “Competitive” and “Committed,” “Family” is one of the five core values that head coach Lonni Alameda has instilled in the program since her arrival in 2009.

“I feel it is important for players to be comfortable with who they are, in order to perform at their best in every aspect of being a student-athlete,” Alameda said. “By having ‘Family’ be one of our core values, it allows us to visit what makes people comfortable in different environments.

“We want them to know that we care about them as people, as we are their home away from home. The challenge of living that value, and not simply saying it, is in what family means to different people and how we can talk and learn about each other to care about and support each other in the best ways possible.”

For junior Sydney Sherrill, a native of Moore, Okla., choosing Florida State meant leaving a family that had attended nearly every game and practice throughout her childhood, but resulted in joining a new extended family with more than 20 “sisters” that spreads throughout the country.

“Family to me means just having people to go to always,” said Sherrill. “I know with softball, being so far from home, I know I’ll always have ‘Coacha’ (Lonni Alameda), ‘TWil’ (Travis Wilson), ‘TCam’ (Troy Cameron) and my teammates to always be there for me. They are my family away from home. I know my family back home is always there for me no matter what, and I’m glad that I found a family in Florida State to fill in that missing piece when I am away from Oklahoma.”

“I know my family back home is always there for me no matter what, and I’m glad that I found a family in Florida State to fill in that missing piece when I am away from Oklahoma.”

Sydney Sherrill on the FSU Softball family

“Selfishly, I didn’t want her to go and wanted her to stay as close to home as possible. But once she got down there and settled in and was truly happy, I knew that it was the right choice.”

“I only get to go back to Oklahoma maybe two or three times a year, so the family atmosphere of Florida State softball was probably the number one reason I chose to come here,” said Sherrill. “It made me feel so at home, and it wasn’t just all about softball. I knew that the coaches and the staff would have my back through the ups and downs of everything, both on and off the field.

“I had a pretty rough beginning to my freshman year in a bunch of different ways, but they didn’t give up on me just because I wasn’t performing on the field. But they pushed me personally and helped me grow into the person I am today and it was great to have that kind of support.”

At the end of Sherrill’s freshman season, the Seminoles advanced to the 2018 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, and so many of her friends and family were able to watch her play on the biggest stage as FSU won its first NCAA National Championship. Coming up a game short of the WCWS in 2019 kept Sydney and the rest of the Noles from going back to OKC, so when the 2020 schedule came out, the Sherrill family made it a priority to come out to Arkansas for the Wooo Pig Classic on February 28-March 1.

And with the 2020 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family is thankful they made the trip, as the 2020 WCWS was cancelled.

“They would normally just be following along on social media and TV,” Sherrill said. “So to have them watch me in person was really cool and allowed me to reconnect with parts of my extended family.”

Sydney had the second-highest batting average on the team throughout the weekend as the Seminoles earned wins over No. 19 Baylor and No. 21 Arkansas.

“It was such a treat to be able to go watch Sydney, and it was really special to reconnect with different members of our family throughout the weekend,” Michelle Sherrill said. “About 30 of us came over and were able to have dinners and hang out and get together as a family.”

Family dinners and hangouts are scheduled into the itinerary for Florida State softball, as even though road games are “business trips”, Alameda knows the importance of family on the players and parents that make the trips alongside the team.

“When we have family time on our road trips, I’ve made such good relationships with the other players and their families, that I always have somewhere to go or to spend time with,” Alameda said. “It is so cool that of the girls the coaches recruit, they also bring in great families as well. So it is like one big family when we have games or events. So even when my parents and family can’t come to all of the games, there are always other families that will take me out to dinner or hang out, and that’s been really nice.”

“It was such a treat to be able to go watch Sydney, and it was really special to reconnect with different members of our family throughout the weekend. About 30 of us came over and were able to have dinners and hang out and get together as a family.”

Sydney's mother Michelle on coming to the tournament in Arkansas
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“The good moral character of the coaches and of the program that Lonni and everyone has built over the years helped me trust that they had Sydney’s best interest at heart,” added Michelle Sherrill. “They were going to develop her as a person and a leader first, before anything athletically.

“And meeting the families of all the other players lets me know that she is taken care of and that FSU softball is a special place. I know a lot of people in the softball community and when I tell them about how things are at FSU, they are surprised and say that it isn’t like that at most other programs.”

For Florida State softball, family stretches beyond your name or where you are from, and has been an important piece to the success of the Seminoles.

“The good moral character of the coaches and of the program that Lonni and everyone has built over the years helped me trust that they had Sydney’s best interest at heart. And meeting the families of all the other players lets me know that she is taken care of and that FSU softball is a special place. I know a lot of people in the softball community and when I tell them about how things are at FSU, they are surprised and say that it isn’t like that at most other programs.”

Michelle Sherrill on the FSU Softball Family

It is so cool that of the girls the coaches recruit, they also bring in great families as well, so it is like one big family when we have games or events.

Sydney Sherrill