Q: Kelly, tell me about Amanda, what she’s meant to this program, your relationship, how it’s grown. Amanda, could you also talk about what Kelly has meant to the program?
KELLY BARNHILL: “Amanda has made an impact on this program since day one. She loves softball so much. But what she loves more is her teammates. These last four years, getting to know Amanda, it’s been interesting. We’ve learned a lot about each other. I think this year is the best relationship we have, especially having her there on the infield. She knows where I was at head-wise. She would come over and be, I’ll take a breath with you right now. She’s just one of the catalysts behind this team. We don’t do a lot of things we do without Amanda Lorenz. It’s going to be very, very sad not playing with her anymore. Going to be even worse when I have to pitch against her.
AMANDA LORENZ: “Kelly has been amazing since the day she stepped on campus. I think she’s always had a really high standard for herself, the people around her. I think we’re a lot different, so we’ve both grown so much since stepping on campus. Our relationship has grown so much. I’m thankful to have been able to witness a lot of the amazing things that Kelly has done throughout her career. I’m proud to be her teammate. “I’m proud of the relationship that we have now because we’re two totally different people. We’ve really grown to know each other, know how to talk to one another, know how to get the best out of one another. I’m really thankful for her time here. I love the fact that she’s a perfectionist just like me. We feed off of that, off of one another. That’s why I chose Florida, to have teammates like Kelly Barnhill who push me every day to get better. I’m thankful, proud of her. Yeah, it’s going to be weird not playing with her anymore, for sure.”
Q.What went wrong in the first inning against Alabama?
BARNHILL: “Well, just didn’t come out having my best stuff. Looked pretty good in bullpen but got out there in the game and Alabama was on it. They took some good swings. I didn’t make my best pitches.”
Q. After the first inning, when you got to go out and throw the last pitch, did you know it was going to happen?
BARNHILL: “Yeah, coach came up to me and he asked what I kind of wanted to do. Just kind of a moment to honor what I’ve done at Florida wearing the orange and blue. He told me that I’d throw one pitch, he’d take me out. It was just a really special moment for me. I love all of my teammates. They’ve supported me and they’ve been there for me.”
LORENZ: “It was awesome (Barnhill’s pitch). I was really trying not to get emotional until the last out was made. When I saw coach came out there, give her a hug, I was crying in left field. That’s not fun. I’m in the middle of a softball game, I don’t want to be crying, but I was crying. It was just really special, to hear all the fans cheering for her, honoring her, just having one more smile and happy memory as she’s leaving the field. That is just so special. I’m glad she had that moment. She’ll remember that for the rest of her life. Really special.”
Q. Is there a way you can put into words what your experience at Florida has meant?
LORENZ: “Getting the opportunity by Coach Walton, I’m just so thankful to have played for him, to have learned under him. I’ve grown so much as a softball player, but most importantly I’ve grown so much as a person. I know I’m definitely not the same person as when I first stepped on campus. I’m just most thankful for that and my teammates, “It was by far the best four years of my life. I didn’t know it was possible to love orange and blue this much, this university, these people, my teammates. Just means the world to me. Everyone has become my family. Gainesville is home. I wouldn’t have grown as much if I chose any other school. I’m just so thankful to be here. The only thing I’m sad about is the fact I didn’t help give Florida another national championship. I came here thinking that was it. But the lessons I’ve learned here are immeasurable.”
Q. KELLY, what do you think you’ve learned the most about yourself during these four years?
BARNHILL: “I think one of the things I learned about myself is I’ve learned that you just need to tune out outside expectations and other people’s opinions because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. All that matters is being true to who you are. Those other people, it doesn’t matter what they think. It doesn’t matter what expectations they have for you. They expect you to pitch a no-hitter every single time, five for five. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you’re true to yourself and you love who you are.”