Senior staff writer
Kendra Lynch has the distinction of playing on a state championship softball team at Roncalli in 2011 and serving as a coach of the 2018 NCAA championship team at Florida State University. Lynch, Miss Indiana Softball in 2013, is a volunteer assistant coach for the Seminoles, who made an amazing run to a national championship earlier this month in Oklahoma City.
“It was soooooo crazy,” Lynch explained in an interview with The Southsider Voice. “Emotions were all over the place because it was so surreal.”
FSU’s 8-3 win over Washington to win the NCAA World Series touched off an on-field celebration, a postgame party at their hotel, followed by a champions reception at the airport and with the mayor in Tallahassee.
“It was an amazing experience that I will never forget,” said Lynch, who is pursuing a master’s degree in sports management at FSU. “I couldn’t believe how many people showed up (airport). We immediately had a police escort straight to the mayor. This team was so much fun to be around; it was only fitting to go out on top.”
The Seminoles staved off elimination twice in the tournament as they lost their first game in the super regional to Louisiana State but bounced back to defeat the Tigers twice.
“When we came back against LSU we gained the confidence that we needed to come back against any team we would face,” she said. “We found out we could cope and overcome.”
Lynch completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina, where she played softball. FSU swept the three-game series against UNC in April 2017. “Their players knew I was headed there (FSU), but it was cool, and they were very respectful,” recalled King, saying that one of the games was UNC’s senior night. Slightly more than a year later, Lynch was an integral part of her second championship team in eight seasons.
As a sophomore pitcher/ outfielder at Roncalli in 2011, Lynch gave up only five hits and struck out six Andrean batters and had two singles and scored twice in the Rebels’ 8-0 win for the 3A title. Two years later she graduated as the Rebels’ all-time No. 2 hitter with a career .506 batting average and career records for doubles, triples, home runs and RBIs.
“I learned how to compete, be a leader and a teammate,” said Lynch of her four years at Roncalli, where she was a National Honor Society student. “Most important, Roncalli prepared me academically for college. The rigors of my high school education helped me prepare for my college classes.”
Her four-year career at UNC was exceptional: .320 batting average, .644 slugging percentage, 188 hits, 52 home runs, 168 RBIs and a 45-29 record on the mound with a 4.42 ERA and 280 strikeouts. Due to injuries to other pitchers, Lynch threw 301.1 innings her junior year with a record 53 appearances and a 28-19 record.
“I went there primarily as a hitter,” Lynch recalled. “But that year I had to go back and pitch, which was OK, but I did not like those ice baths after the games.”
She graduated from UNC in 2017 with a degree in exercise and sport science and was awarded Leader of Distinction, the highest honor in the Richard A. Baddour Leadership Academy. The daughter of Rob and Kerry Lynch lives in Tallahassee, Fla., where she has played golf and tennis, but her softball-related activities and her studies occupy most of her time. At FSU she has directed a softball clinic, coached hitters and pitchers while assisting head coach Lori Alameda and worked with administrators in NCAA compliance.