Up Close & Personal with Softball Roommates

Jan. 21, 2003

Jenny Brown and Shannon Linerud are two talented freshmen on Santa Clara's softball team. Both natives of the Bay Area, Brown and Linerud have known each other since high school when they played as rivals. Now roommates and teammates, the two sat down in a recent interview to divulge interesting facts about each other including Linerud's love of bananas and Brown's addiction to Coke.

Q. How do you two know each other?
Jenny: We played against each other in high school, since we were freshmen. Shannon went to Presentation, I went to Westmont and we were both members of the illustrious Strike Zone organization last summer.

Q. Was it a coincidence that you guys were roommates or did you plan that ahead of time?
Shannon: We already worked it out before we came.
Jenny: There's a story behind that.

Q. What's the story?
Jenny: Well, we requested a room together and then Marcy let us know through our parents that she didn't like people living together. So, we thought she was going to fix it and I got my letter and I was with Shannon and I thought Marcy was going to be really mad and it turned out she was really cool about it.

Q. Why did you guys decide to come to Santa Clara considering you both are from the area?
Shannon: Well, I wanted someplace close to home, in California, and it had great academics and I like the atmosphere and the school is really pretty.
Jenny: Ok, I remember driving by one time when I was 12, and I drove by with my dad and I had no clue what it was and he just said it was Santa Clara University and I decided that I wanted to go here, but I had no idea how much it cost or how hard it was to get in or anything. And, I always wanted to play basketball for Santa Clara, but I'm kind of short, so softball was my route. I also wanted to stay close to home so my parents could watch me play.

Q. Has the team set any goals for this season, especially being in a new conference?
Jenny: I think our goal is definitely to win our conference, especially since we were the champions of our former league last year. We haven't really sat down and wrote out what we want to do, but I think it is pretty much expected that we basically want to win every game we play. We're really excited too about our conference.

Q. What is something you are currently working on in your game?
Shannon: My footwork...uh, do you want everything? Because if you want it you got it. For defense I'm working on my footwork and making my feet quick to ball.
Jenny: She's already ridiculous at defense.
Shannon: And on offense, just quick hands, throwing my hands out there.
Jenny: It changes daily because one day something is good and another day it's not. On defense I'm definitely working on moving my feet, keeping the rhythm, keeping balance. On offense just trying to stay through the ball and finish.

Q. When did you guys first start playing softball?
Shannon: When I was eight. I started playing because my best friend was playing and I wanted to be on the same team as her. So, I signed up and we were never on the same team.
Jenny: I actually have two older brothers that play baseball and I started out playing T-ball when I was about six. Then I played two years in baseball and I got really angry when my parents made me switch to softball because I wanted to play baseball. I think I was nine when they switched me and I've been playing ever since.

Freshman Shannon Linerud is expected to start at shortstop.


Q. Tell me about a really memorable moment you have had playing softball.
Jenny: Two summers ago I was playing with the San Jose Lady Sharks and we were at Nationals. There were four teams left undefeated and we were playing against a team who had pitcher Kat Austerman, she goes to Texas now and is basically known as the sickest pitcher in the world. She came up against us and was basically unhittable and hadn't been scored on all tournament. We were losing about 5-0 in the last inning and I think I got hit by a pitch or something, but I got on base somehow and on a passed ball I got to second. Then, one of the girls behind me got a hit and I was in at home. I ran into the catcher, there was no one anybody was going to stop me. Even though we lost 5-1, we were the only team that scored on them throughout the whole tournament. Beat that Shannon.
Shannon: I can't. All I remember was the first time we went to Nationals when I was about thirteen. I was really excited for that; I was playing for the Strikkers. There is one story but I think it is kind of hard trying to explain. Two years ago our shortstop got a grounder and the runner ran by and literally took the ball out of her hand and threw it into the dugout. And our shortstop just looks at her and says "what are you doing?" in this little kid voice and just stands there. I guess you had to be there. She just grabbed it and threw it away.
Jenny: That is something I would like to see.

Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
Jenny: I'll say my parents, both for different reasons. My dad was always the one who took me to all the sporting events and never missed a game. He always supported me and never pushed me. He has always been the kind of dad who said he's not going to change what I do, I go as far as I am naturally and he'll always be there to support me. He went and watched every game even if I couldn't make it, for example, because I was getting my wisdom teeth pulled. My mom on the other hand goes to the game, talks to whoever she can talk to and after the game, if you ask her what happened she wouldn't know. My mom was always supportive in a different way. So, if I had a really bad game I would talk to my mom and if I had a really good game I would talk to my dad. It was a really good balance and they both are great.
Shannon: Both my parents because they are both very supportive, but, like Jenny said, my dad was always the one coaching or helping out in any way he could, whether it was coaching a team or just going out on the weekends and catching for me or doing T work or hitting grounders. He's always been like that from the very beginning.

Q. Tell me something about the other that no ones knows.
Shannon: Jenny drinks six Coke's a day and that's all that I see!
Jenny: Ok, lets talk about Shannon's obsession with bananas.
Shannon: Hey, that's my favorite food.
Jenny: Fine you want me to say something else, like your obsession with peanut butter. Ok, Shannon and bananas. Banana ice cream, banana chips, anything banana she'll eat it, anything peanut butter. And I really don't drink six, it's more like three. How can I possibly drink six?
Shannon: Ok, five, she's addicted.
Jenny: Give me four, ok fine then you are addicted to potassium.
Shannon: Umm, ok.
Jenny: That's all I could come up with off the bat. I couldn't come up with anything else.

Q. Where do you guys live?
Shannon: San Jose.
Jenny: No, Graham, you dork. I also have the higher GPA.

Q. How do you guys like it?
Shannon: I really like it.
Jenny: Super-d-duper.
Shannon: The people there are really fun, but it's not too crazy.
Jenny: We have the dorm that is reasonable.
Shannon: You don't have the extremes.
Jenny: People don't keep you up all the time, but there is still stuff going on.

Q. How is your freshman year going overall?
Shannon: It is a lot of work.
Jenny: Yeah, I'll second that. It is harder than I thought I would be, but I am learning more than I thought I would if that makes sense. I thought that I would either fail miserably or that it would be easy and it is somewhere in the middle. I'm doing well, but it does take a lot of work and I am definitely tired all the time.
Shannon: You have to balance your time.
Jenny: Definitely, between bananas and coke and homework, there's not much time for anything else.

Q. Have you made a special connection with anyone on the team?
Jenny: Yeah, I've made connections with people on the team. Everyone kind of connects in a different way. I would say I have a relationship with everyone on the team. I'm more of a goofball, so the goofball people I talk to a little bit more, like Shannon and Lacey Smale because we represent the right side. Also, Jessica Clee. And the seniors are awesome. We have great seniors and we're going to miss them so much next year. We have four seniors and they all represent something different. Roni Rivera is our motivation, inspirational leader. Tracie Hall is the person you look to because she leads by example, because she just seems to ground every ball and make every play. Coresta Salas is the one that makes you laugh and gets you excited. And, Lauren Fissori is the one that is always sweet and always makes you feel better if you are feeling down. So I don't know what we would do if we didn't have those guys as our leadership because they really make you feel comfortable.
Shannon: I think that pretty much covered it.
Jenny: What, you trying to jump on my connections?
Shannon: Oh, I'm on.
Jenny: Ok.

Q. Do you have any rituals?
Jenny: Yeah, I go to the bathroom like three times before the game. As close to the game starting time as possible I have to go to the bathroom, because you know you can't go any other time during the game, so that is seven innings with lots of water.
Shannon: I'm not quite that odd, I don't really do anything. Oh, I don't get my glove dirty.
Jenny: That's just weird, that's not a ritual. She puts her glove on top of other people's gloves. You know how people throw them in the dirt, Shannon places hers on top of a bucket.
Shannon: I don't want it to get dirty.
Jenny: It's a glove. It gets dirty every time a ball touches it.
Shannon: I know, that is inevitable. I don't want to shorten the lifespan.
Jenny: Ok, enough said about that.

Q. Do you guys have nicknames?
Jenny: Yeah, Shannon does. It's Nay-Nay, that's what Shanay-nay shortens too. And mine is JB or BJ; that was Rachel. And Jessica Clee calls me Twinkie and I call her HoHo. I don't know why, though.

Q. Favorite movie, food, music:
Shannon: Food...bananas, anything banana flavored what so ever. Movies...
Jenny: Never seen one.
Shannon: N/A...I know I have a favorite movie. What's a really funny movie?
Jenny: You just saw Dumb and Dumber for the first time.
Shannon: I don't know.
Jenny: I've seen a lot of movies, I'm a big movie person, but I'll have to go with A Few Good Men because Tom Cruise is absolutely gorgeous and I want to be a lawyer.
Shannon: Ok, I've got one...Ferris Bueller. Music: Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews and John Mayer.
Jenny: Music - I like anything that sounds good. I like Mariah Carey, Summer Time in the LBC. I'm not a music lover, but I have to say I do love food and I have to give props to my mom. My mom will know what this means; it is the roast the she makes with corn and mashed potatoes. It's a meal and has to be all together.

Q. Is there anything else you want your fans to know?
Jenny: To the fans that are out there, thank you very much. Thanks in advance for coming out. I'm sure my mom will bring some pom-poms out there. I've never had a fan before except Shannon.
Shannon: I'm number one.
Jenny: Just tell them thanks for the support and we hope that we provide them with some entertainment and win for them this year.