Q&A With Kelly Anderson

April 27, 2005

BERKELEY - With a 21-4 record and a 1.25 ERA, California senior pitcher Kelly Anderson is enjoying another solid season in the circle and has helped Cal to a 40-8 record and a No. 3 national ranking. The Woodland, Calif., native posted wins in 10 consecutive starts from March 18 to April 13. Anderson tossed two no-hitters over that stretch - her first no-hit efforts in over two seasons. The senior recently sat down with CalBears.com to discuss her season progress, a future career in law and her long-time association with the Golden Bear softball program.

You've always had great success at Cal but are you doing anything different this season pitching-wise?
Last year, I thought I had an OK season (25-9, 1.43 ERA) so I worked more in the off-season with weights and on my conditioning and I think it's paid off so far. I'm not doing anything different as far as my pitching technique or mechanics are concerned.

You've played on some great teams at Cal. How does the 2005 squad compare to others you've played on?
Each year we've had different people so each year has been a different team. It's great to play on teams that know how to gel on the field. There have been various personalities over the four years I've been here but we seem to leave everything that doesn't deal with softball off the field and just play. I try not to really rank the teams I've been on because they've all been good.

How did it feel to be recognized as a USA Softball Player of the Year finalist?
It's always great to be honored like that, but I try not to worry about those things. It's not that I don't care but it's not like that's the only thing I strive for. I just try to go out there and do what I know how to do. If I win the award, it's great. But really, I don't focus on it that much.

What's it like when you're throwing a no-hitter: do you even notice as it's going on and are there any superstitions like in baseball?
You always know, especially when the scoreboard is up there and you can see what's going on. If the scoreboard didn't have the hits column, maybe it would be a little different. In the one I tossed against North Carolina (March 26), I knew what was happening and I was sort of nervous in the last inning. No one really talks about (a no-hitter) as it's going on. They'll talk to me; that's not a big deal. It's just no one talks about it in the dugout. So I guess it is similar to baseball in some respects.

How much added pressure is there as a no-hitter goes into the late innings?
You try not to think about it but when you glance at the scoreboard for the count and you happen to glance at the zero, it's hard not to notice. It's always in the back of your mind, I'd say.

You'd like to attend law school after graduation. How long have you aspired to do that?
I really don't know where it came from but in the last couple of years I'd thought about going to law school. In the past, I had wanted to be a sports agent and stay in the sports arena but I don't know if I'll go down that path. Regardless of what I end up doing, it'll be good to have a law degree.

What was it like interning in the Sacramento district attorney's office last summer?
It was interesting. I got to work with a lot of different attorneys. Some of them knew who I was from softball because they were sports fans. We were thrown into a lot of different areas so it was interesting to see the different types of law. I got the chance to talk with people and get different perspectives on law school. It was a good experience all around.

Who's the toughest hitter you've faced in college?
I try not to look at who is up there when I'm pitching. If I had to pick, I'd say the UCLA lineup because they've always given me problems. Sooner or later they always seem to catch up to me. I don't really have a specific one in mind, but the Pac-10 does have some great hitters.

What was it like pitching against the U.S. Olympic team during their warmup tour for the Athens Summer Games?
That was fun. I didn't do to bad and I was really impressed with myself. My team got a hit off of Lisa Fernandez before they got a hit off of me. That was an experience. The only players I had ever pitched against were recent Pac-10 players, such as Natasha Watley (UCLA). But going against players like Stacy Nuveman and Crystal Bustos was a little scary. I don't remember what my final line was but I did strike out Nuveman so I was excited about that. I remember she swung and missed a pitch and I thought, `How'd she miss that?' A few of the girls came up and said that they had been watching me and were really impressed. The game was played in Sacramento, close to my hometown so a lot of people I knew came out.

How do you deal with the pressure associated with being a top-ranked team and a national power?
You just have to. When I was a sophomore and pitching a lot more than my first year, I don't remember ever being too nervous. I look back now and wonder how I dealt with pitching some big games. I think I might actually be nervous more now than before. Everyday though, you just have to take it pitch by pitch and not really worry about the big picture. I've always done well dealing with stress and pressure.

Some fans may not realize your long association with the Cal program:
I was the team's bat girl when they would play tournaments in Sacramento and I would do the same when I'd come up to Berkeley to watch them play. Coach Ninemire obviously couldn't talk to me in high school but she'd come and watch. When I signed and got here, I remember coach joking with me that she had never recruited a bat girl before. I had strong intentions on coming here and staying close to home was important. Plus, Cal's a great academic school.

Cal travels to No. 13 UCLA on April 29 for a 1 p.m. game that can be seen live on ESPNU. The Bears resume action April 30 (2 p.m.) and May 1 (1 p.m.) at No. 22 Washington.

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