Fastpitch Softball TV Network http://fastpitch.tv Free fastpitch softball videos, fastpitch softball blogs, fastpitch softball clinics, and softball drills. More than just free fastpitch softball videos, and softball bat reviews, This is a full media site dedicated to fastpitch softball training, With a collection of softball video shows, softball podcasts, and softball blogs. If you love fastpitch softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:52:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Free fastpitch softball videos, fastpitch softball blogs, fastpitch softball clinics, and softball drills. More than just free fastpitch softball videos, and softball bat reviews, This is a full media site dedicated to fastpitch softball training, With a collection of softball video shows, softball podcasts, and softball blogs. If you love fastpitch softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV. Fastpitch Softball TV Network no Free fastpitch softball videos, fastpitch softball blogs, fastpitch softball clinics, and softball drills. More than just free fastpitch softball videos, and softball bat reviews, This is a full media site dedicated to fastpitch softball training, Fastpitch Softball TV Network http://fastpitch.tv/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://fastpitch.tv Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july31 http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july31#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:52:44 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38950 On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “Weekly Giveaways from Fastpitch TV” Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me […]

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Weekly Giveaways from Fastpitch TV

On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “Weekly Giveaways from Fastpitch TV”

Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me live in broadcast!

Sign up with your Twitter account and download the Periscope App for access to the conversation:

Follow me on Twitter at @FastpitchTV

Get the Periscope App for iTunes

Get the Periscope App for Android

Twitter + Periscope“Explore the world in real time through someone else’s eyes.” Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen. Find out more here www.periscope.tv



Gary leland Gary Leland, has been involved with fastpitch softball for many years. The first team he coached was for his daughter. By 2001 their team “Dabomb” had won the 14 & under Texas USSSA State Championship. The next year they repeated the feat by winning the Texas USSSA 15 & Under State Championship. Since stepping down from coaching it has provided him more time to launch many websites, build new brands, and create a network of fastpitch softball blogs, podcasts, and videos.

Gary has also traveled all over the country filming great fastpitch softball clinics by Olympians, Hall Of Famers, and great coaches. From his continued devotion to softball he launched Fastpitch.TV! The Fastpitch Softball TV Network has more FREE softball programming than any other site on the Internet. If you love softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV!

In 2000, Gary launched SoftballJunk.com. The first website on the internet dedicated to fastpitch softball. Then in 2001 he opened one of the first softball only stores in the nation, along with a large network of sites known as SportsJunk.com.

Become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE)
Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message.

softball facemasks SoftballJunk.com Fastpitch Magazine Softball Meet Up Group Fastpitch Flowers Weighted Balls

Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites:
http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook
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This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to http://Fastpitch.TV

Gary is a new media producer of fastpitch softball information. For advertising information send him an email to GaryLeland@gmail.com, or visit his personal website site at GaryLeland.com

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USA National Team Takes Silver in 2015 Pan American Games Softball http://fastpitch.tv/team-usa-2015-pan-am-games http://fastpitch.tv/team-usa-2015-pan-am-games#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:48:02 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38945 “USA National Team takes Silver to Canada in 2015 Pan American Games Softball” Written By Bill Plummer In past Pan American Games softball competition, the USA women’s team had dominated. Since softball was added to the Pan American Games in 1979, the USA had won the gold medal eight times and was trying for its […]

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Team USA Silver 2015 Pan Am Games

Photo by ASA/USA Softball


“USA National Team takes Silver to Canada in 2015 Pan American Games Softball” Written By Bill Plummer

In past Pan American Games softball competition, the USA women’s team had dominated. Since softball was added to the Pan American Games in 1979, the USA had won the gold medal eight times and was trying for its ninth Pan Am title recently in Toronto, Canada.

The USA had defeated Canda twice, 7-0 and 5-2, in the round robin competition and were the odds-on favorite to win another gold medal. But sometimes the best laid plans go astray, and a team favored ends up losing. In this case, the USA National Team, which suffered a 4-2 loss to host Canada.

Since 1979, Canada and the USA had met 22 times in the Pan Am Games with the USA winning 20 of the games. The only losses came this year and in 1983 when Canada won its first women’s gold with a 5-4 win over the USA. In 13 of the 22 games Canada was shutout including a 7-0 defeat this year.

The Gold medal win is the Canadian Women’s Softball Team’s first since 1983, ending a run of seven consecutive for the United States. It also comes on the heels of a pair of Gold medals won by the Canadian Men’s Softball Team who were crowned WBSC Men’s World Softball Champions in Saskatoon three weeks ago and Pan American Games Champions in Ajax last week.

The two wins by the men and the gold medal by the women’s team caps an outstanding year and couldn’t have come at a better time with this year the 50th anniversary of Softball Canada.

The game was scoreless through seven innings and each team had six hits in the game. In the eighth, however, Canada scored four times collecting half of their hits and three runs off former Alabama ace Jaclyn Traina, who hurled two innings. Sara Nevins had started for the USA and allowed three hits and no runs through four and two-third innings before Jessica Moore hurled an inning and one third before Traina replaced her.

For Canada, Sara Groenewegen went the distance and allowed six hits with seven strikeouts and three walks in eight innings.

She hurled 123 pitches and 79 of them were strikes. Traina hurled 51 pitches with 34 strikes, Moore 12 and eight and Nevins 73 and 49. The USA left seven runners on base while Canada stranded six.

“It’s tough to coach against good fortune,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.). “We hit the ball really well today, just couldn’t catch any breaks. When you hit the ball right at them, it’s hard to make things happen. Unfortunate things happened for us while fortunate things happened for them.”

It was a pitcher’s duel through the majority of the game as USA’s starter Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) retired Canada in order to start the game while Canada’s Groenewegen returned the favor in the bottom half of the frame. The first runner of the game would get on in the bottom of the second inning as Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit a two-out single but was thrown out in an attempt to leg it out into a double.

The U.S. would get a leadoff runner on in the bottom of the third as Janelle Lindvall (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) hit a hard ground ball that sneaked by the third baseman but a pair of fly outs and stolen base attempt kept the U.S. from dealing any damage to keep the game scoreless through three complete innings. Canada would get their first base runner in the top of the fourth inning on a two-out single by Kaleigh Rafter, but a fly ball to Moultrie in left field kept the runner from advancing.

Two runners would get on base for Team USA in the bottom of the fourth inning as Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) reached on a bunt and advanced to second base on a line drive by Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.). With two on and one out, a hard hit fly ball to centerfield recorded the second out before Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif.) roped a line drive that the first baseman leaped up to snag for out number three. The U.S. would get another two on base in the bottom of the sixth as Chavanne reached on an error by the shortstop and a two-out walk to Gibson, but another deep fly ball from Arioto kept the game scoreless heading into the final inning.

Both sides would get runners on base in the seventh inning but failed to plate any runs to push the game into extra-innings. With the ITB rule in effect, Canada started the top of the eighth with a runner on second base. The first batter would reach on an error by the defense to put two on with no outs before a ground out to Romero at third advanced the runners a base. An intentional walk loaded the bases before Canada pushed across the first runs of the game with a hard hit two-run single from Joey Lye. With runners on second and third, an intentional walk to Rafter loaded the bases for the second time in the inning with one out. A sac-fly pushed across another run for Canada before a two-out single plated the final run for Canada to give them the 4-0 lead.

Down by four runs, Team USA started with Kellie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) on second base per the ITB rule. A walk to Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) put two on with no outs before Chavanne dropped in a fly ball single to left field to plate Fox to close the lead to 4-1. Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) advanced the runners with grounder to the third baseman before Gibson collected an RBI on a ground out to second base. With two outs and a runner on third, a walk to Arioto put runners on the corner, but a strikeout drew the game to a close with Canada earning their second Pan American Games Gold.

“It’s disappointing but our team was in it all the way until the end and that’s all you can ask for,” said Moultrie. “We didn’t give up and we were still in the game. We’re disappointed, but still very proud of our team. We’re still building and in years to come this will be a good learning experience for us.”

Three U.S. pitchers saw time in the circle today with Nevins compiling five strikeouts while allowing just three hits through four and two-third innings pitched. Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered in relief in the middle of the fourth, recording two strikeouts through one and one-third innings pitched. Traina (Naples, Fla.) suffered the loss, issuing one strikeout through two innings of work.

Softball Junk

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Bill Plummer Bill Plummer A graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than four decades. For 30years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian. In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show Manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2009, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2014, ” A Series of Their Own. The History of the Women’s College World Series.” He has been elected to five halls of fame, including the ASA National. In 1996, he served as the Information Manager for the debut of softball in the Olympics.

Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE)
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This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to http://Fastpitch.TV

Gary is a new media producer of fastpitch softball information. For advertising information send him an email to GaryLeland@gmail.com, or visit his personal website site at GaryLeland.com

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Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july29 http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july29#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:12:53 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38941 On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “Problem Parents in Softball?” Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me live […]

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Problem Parents in Softball?

On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “Problem Parents in Softball?”

Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me live in broadcast!

Sign up with your Twitter account and download the Periscope App for access to the conversation:

Follow me on Twitter at @FastpitchTV

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Twitter + Periscope“Explore the world in real time through someone else’s eyes.” Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen. Find out more here www.periscope.tv



Gary leland Gary Leland, has been involved with fastpitch softball for many years. The first team he coached was for his daughter. By 2001 their team “Dabomb” had won the 14 & under Texas USSSA State Championship. The next year they repeated the feat by winning the Texas USSSA 15 & Under State Championship. Since stepping down from coaching it has provided him more time to launch many websites, build new brands, and create a network of fastpitch softball blogs, podcasts, and videos.

Gary has also traveled all over the country filming great fastpitch softball clinics by Olympians, Hall Of Famers, and great coaches. From his continued devotion to softball he launched Fastpitch.TV! The Fastpitch Softball TV Network has more FREE softball programming than any other site on the Internet. If you love softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV!

In 2000, Gary launched SoftballJunk.com. The first website on the internet dedicated to fastpitch softball. Then in 2001 he opened one of the first softball only stores in the nation, along with a large network of sites known as SportsJunk.com.

Become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE)
Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message.

softball facemasks SoftballJunk.com Fastpitch Magazine Softball Meet Up Group Fastpitch Flowers Weighted Balls

Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites:
http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook
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This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to http://Fastpitch.TV

Gary is a new media producer of fastpitch softball information. For advertising information send him an email to GaryLeland@gmail.com, or visit his personal website site at GaryLeland.com

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Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july28 http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july28#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:24:54 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38936 On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “History in Softball?” Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me live in […]

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History in Softball?


On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “History in Softball?”

Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me live in broadcast!

Sign up with your Twitter account and download the Periscope App for access to the conversation:

Follow me on Twitter at @FastpitchTV

Get the Periscope App for iTunes

Get the Periscope App for Android

Twitter + Periscope“Explore the world in real time through someone else’s eyes.” Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen. Find out more here www.periscope.tv



Gary leland Gary Leland, has been involved with fastpitch softball for many years. The first team he coached was for his daughter. By 2001 their team “Dabomb” had won the 14 & under Texas USSSA State Championship. The next year they repeated the feat by winning the Texas USSSA 15 & Under State Championship. Since stepping down from coaching it has provided him more time to launch many websites, build new brands, and create a network of fastpitch softball blogs, podcasts, and videos.

Gary has also traveled all over the country filming great fastpitch softball clinics by Olympians, Hall Of Famers, and great coaches. From his continued devotion to softball he launched Fastpitch.TV! The Fastpitch Softball TV Network has more FREE softball programming than any other site on the Internet. If you love softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV!

In 2000, Gary launched SoftballJunk.com. The first website on the internet dedicated to fastpitch softball. Then in 2001 he opened one of the first softball only stores in the nation, along with a large network of sites known as SportsJunk.com.

Become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE)
Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message.

softball facemasks SoftballJunk.com Fastpitch Magazine Softball Meet Up Group Fastpitch Flowers Weighted Balls

Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites:
http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook
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This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to http://Fastpitch.TV

Gary is a new media producer of fastpitch softball information. For advertising information send him an email to GaryLeland@gmail.com, or visit his personal website site at GaryLeland.com

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Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july27 http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july27#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:10:17 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38923 On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “The Softball Player or The Softball Bat?” Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat […]

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The Player or The Bat?


On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “The Softball Player or The Softball Bat?”

Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me live in broadcast!

Sign up with your Twitter account and download the Periscope App for access to the conversation:

Follow me on Twitter at @FastpitchTV

Get the Periscope App for iTunes

Get the Periscope App for Android

Twitter + Periscope“Explore the world in real time through someone else’s eyes.” Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen. Find out more here www.periscope.tv



Gary leland Gary Leland, has been involved with fastpitch softball for many years. The first team he coached was for his daughter. By 2001 their team “Dabomb” had won the 14 & under Texas USSSA State Championship. The next year they repeated the feat by winning the Texas USSSA 15 & Under State Championship. Since stepping down from coaching it has provided him more time to launch many websites, build new brands, and create a network of fastpitch softball blogs, podcasts, and videos.

Gary has also traveled all over the country filming great fastpitch softball clinics by Olympians, Hall Of Famers, and great coaches. From his continued devotion to softball he launched Fastpitch.TV! The Fastpitch Softball TV Network has more FREE softball programming than any other site on the Internet. If you love softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV!

In 2000, Gary launched SoftballJunk.com. The first website on the internet dedicated to fastpitch softball. Then in 2001 he opened one of the first softball only stores in the nation, along with a large network of sites known as SportsJunk.com.

Become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE)
Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message.

softball facemasks SoftballJunk.com Fastpitch Magazine Softball Meet Up Group Fastpitch Flowers Weighted Balls

Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites:
http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook
http://Fastpitch.TV/Store
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http://Fastpitch.TV/Flickr
http://FastpitchMagazine.com

This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to http://Fastpitch.TV

Gary is a new media producer of fastpitch softball information. For advertising information send him an email to GaryLeland@gmail.com, or visit his personal website site at GaryLeland.com

The post Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV appeared first on Fastpitch Softball TV Network.

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http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-july27/feed 0 Twitter-Periscope-video-direct Softball Headbands Sponsored by SoftballHeadBand.com Gary Leland softball facemasks SoftballJunk.com Fastpitch Magazine Softball Meet Up Group Fastpitch Flowers Weighted Balls
Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-with-fastpitch-tv http://fastpitch.tv/morning-coffee-with-fastpitch-tv#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 17:48:12 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38908 On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “Select Players and High School Coaches” Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with […]

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High School Coaches

On Todays Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV Gary Leland talks about “Select Players and High School Coaches”

Join my conversation every weekday morning at 8 a.m. (CST) for my live broadcast on Twitter using the Periscope App for my iPhone. I will be covering a new topic everyday and you are able to chat with me live in broadcast!

Sign up with your Twitter account and download the Periscope App for access to the conversation:

Follow me on Twitter at @FastpitchTV

Get the Periscope App for iTunes

Get the Periscope App for Android

Catch a replay of all my Periscope Videos at Katch.me/FastpitchTV

Twitter + Periscope“Explore the world in real time through someone else’s eyes.” Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen. Find out more here www.periscope.tv



Gary leland Gary Leland, has been involved with fastpitch softball for many years. The first team he coached was for his daughter. By 2001 their team “Dabomb” had won the 14 & under Texas USSSA State Championship. The next year they repeated the feat by winning the Texas USSSA 15 & Under State Championship. Since stepping down from coaching it has provided him more time to launch many websites, build new brands, and create a network of fastpitch softball blogs, podcasts, and videos.

Gary has also traveled all over the country filming great fastpitch softball clinics by Olympians, Hall Of Famers, and great coaches. From his continued devotion to softball he launched Fastpitch.TV! The Fastpitch Softball TV Network has more FREE softball programming than any other site on the Internet. If you love softball, you are going to love Fastpitch TV!

In 2000, Gary launched SoftballJunk.com. The first website on the internet dedicated to fastpitch softball. Then in 2001 he opened one of the first softball only stores in the nation, along with a large network of sites known as SportsJunk.com.

Become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE)
Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message.

softball facemasks SoftballJunk.com Fastpitch Magazine Softball Meet Up Group Fastpitch Flowers Weighted Balls

Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites:
http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook
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http://FastpitchMagazine.com

This content is provided with a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Feel free to use this content, so long as you give credit to Gary Leland, of Fastpitch.TV and link to http://Fastpitch.TV

Gary is a new media producer of fastpitch softball information. For advertising information send him an email to GaryLeland@gmail.com, or visit his personal website site at GaryLeland.com

The post Morning Coffee With Fastpitch TV appeared first on Fastpitch Softball TV Network.

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The Fastpitch Book http://fastpitch.tv/the-fastpitch-book http://fastpitch.tv/the-fastpitch-book#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 20:19:45 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38869 The Fastpitch Book Compiled By Gary Leland I reached out to my personal contacts list of coaches and asked each of them to submit their advice from their combined years of experience in fastpitch softball. I knew the advice and knowledge they would share could help everyone improve their game throughout their fastpitch softball career. This […]

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20 Great Coaches Give 20 Great Tools

The Fastpitch Book

The Fastpitch Book Compiled By Gary Leland

I reached out to my personal contacts list of coaches and asked each of them to submit their advice from their combined years of experience in fastpitch softball. I knew the advice and knowledge they would share could help everyone improve their game throughout their fastpitch softball career.

This book was then compiled of 20 of the best articles written by 20 great fastpitch softball coaches from around the nation. It also includes several bonus tips from many other professional coaches. This information is meant to give insight and thought processes in the game of fastpitch softball. Many tools and techniques behind what it takes to build a successful team. Gary does not state any of the advice is right or wrong, but is meant to give you many different coaches and parents thoughts on the subject.

Click Here To Buy The Fastpitch Book in Paperback

Here is the list of all the great contributors and what they wrote:

  • Aaron Weintraub – Mental Toughness Healthy Perspective
  • Bryan Burrows Ingalis – A New Approach to Catcher Training
  • Charity Butler – Confidence Coaching
  • Charlie Dobbins – A Completely Different Ball Game
  • Darrick Brown – Work + Love + Faith = Success
  • Joni Frei – Program Design and Implementation
  • Kaci Clark Zerbe – Popular Myth of Pitching in College
  • Keri Casas – The Hell Week Pitching Workout
  • Laura Berg – The Mindset of an Outfielder
  • Lisa Iancin – The Moment
  • Meagan Denny-White – Pitching With A Purpose
  • Michele Martin Diltz – Competitive Training
  • Mitch Alexander – Pressure Cooker
  • Rita Lynn Gilman – Double Ball Drills
  • Rob Crews – 7 Phases of Visual Mechanics
  • Shannon McDougall – Periodization, Yearly Training Plan
  • Shannon Murray – Pitcher Mental Toughness
  • Dr. Sherry Werner – DO’s / DON’Ts for Windmill Pitchers
  • Stacie Mahoe – How Extra Work Makes a Difference
  • Venus Taylor – Creating the Championship Culture
  • Bonus Chapter – 30 More Great Tips

Good luck reaching for your next championship!

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PFX Athletics Tour with Chelsea Whalley-Brennan http://fastpitch.tv/pfx-chelsea-whalley-brennan http://fastpitch.tv/pfx-chelsea-whalley-brennan#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:56:49 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38841 This is an interview I conducted with Chelsea Whalley-Brennan, Program Manager of PFX Athletics. Recorded from Clermont, Florida at the PFX Athletics Spring Games – Produced By Gary Leland Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes Subscribe with RSS Click to buy the App for Apple Click to buy the App for Android Please become a […]

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This is an interview I conducted with Chelsea Whalley-Brennan, Program Manager of PFX Athletics. Recorded from Clermont, Florida at the PFX Athletics Spring Games – Produced By Gary Leland

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Measurement of Success http://fastpitch.tv/measurement-of-success http://fastpitch.tv/measurement-of-success#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 16:08:57 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38834 “Mesurement of Success” Written By Shannon McDougall When you think of the word success in the context of sports, the first thing that most times comes to mind is winning. The first question that most people will ask when you told them you were just playing or coaching a game is “Did you win?” I […]

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FPTVArticle

“Mesurement of Success” Written By Shannon McDougall

When you think of the word success in the context of sports, the first thing that most times comes to mind is winning. The first question that most people will ask when you told them you were just playing or coaching a game is “Did you win?”

I believe there are numerous ways to measure success. Yes the outcome of a game is one way however when we can include the successes that make us a better player and a better person on the field you have to think at the end of the day they will bring you success in as many ways as winning a game will. Here are some things to consider:

  • Improved Softball Skills
  • The ability to use sport skills off the field

Improved Softball Skills

We all have a starting point at the beginning of the season in softball.  We may be starting as a beginner way up to an advanced elite player. The thing to remember is that there are so many components of this game that there is always something that we can improve on.  Either as a coach or a player.

As a Player

If you can break down your skills and look at what you improved on and how you want to get better, it will allow you to focus on the process. There is no doubt that everyone improves on skills to some degree in a season.  It may be the precision of the skills or the ability to execute with more confidence under various conditions. When yourecall improvements, write them down in a journal so you can reflect on them and maybe even use them for planning your success for the following season.  You may need to use your coach to assist you in this activity as they are constantly observing your skills, as I am sure you are aware.

Skills Improvement Check list for Players:

  • Technical skills
  • Tactical skills
  • Mental training skills
  • Getting along with team mates
  • Relations with officials
  • Relations with the coaches
  • Coachability
  • Work ethic (focus during practices and games on working hard)
  • Self direction (ability to work hard without being told to)

As a Coach

As coaches, we need to always be reflecting back on a season and documenting the things that we want to improve on.  It may be our relations with our players, it may be our abilities to manage a game or how to ad variety to practices so that our players learn and have fun at the same time. This is our successes. We often use the scoreboard because that is what the associations and spectators or parents use.  We need to ensure that we are focusing on our coaching and leadership abilities as much as our players abilities because we are the ones that can have the most productive influence on how they improve.  As we know the number of areas that can be improved are many.  I measured my success on my teams by the number of returning players.  Yes I had successes on the scoreboard however my biggest goal was to develop players and I was very successful at that.

Some Skills to improvement checklist for Coaches:

  • organization skills
  • technical knowledge
  • tactical knowledge
  • player relations
  • mental training skills
  • mental training skills knowledge
  • relations with officials
  • relations with parents
  • physical skills knowledge

Ability to use sports skills off the field

There are so many skills from softball that can be taken off the field and into our daily lives. When we learn to interact with others during a game or practice it is much like interacting with friends or family when at school or home. When that game is an important one like in a tournament, we need the skills to be able to perform stressful conditions. How many times have you encountered stress away from the field? Have you considered using relaxation or cue words for example to get through that situation? You would be amazed at the similarities. The complexity of this sport demands that you think of at least 3 things all at one time while doing one of them. There are also many rules that need to be learned.  When you find yourself feeling like you can not learn something new at school or work, think about how many things you need to know about this game. I bet the number of things is not that different. There are 12 rules in softball but many, many more sub rules. That is a lot of information. You have to admit you are pretty smart if you can play this game.

Your Success

The main thing to remember when evaluating your season’s success is that it is YOUR success. You need to ensure that you do not compare yourself to others when considering what you have been able to achieve from the season and EVERYONE does achieve something. If you are having difficulty finding something, talk to team mates or coaches or supporters. You will find that in many leagues even officials will notice improvements because they love this game as much as we do.

Write down your successes at the end of every season and write down areas where you would like to improve. This will give you something to focus on that is not outcome oriented for the net season and something to look at when the season ends. Review them throughout the season as well to see how you are doing with them. And give yourself credit… (a high five) you have learned and done much more than you likely think you have.

Isn’t this game great!!


Shannon McDougall Shannon McDougall Advanced Coaching Diploma (National Coaching Institute), 
Associate Sports Science Degree
 (Canada), Level 3 Softball Coach (Canada)
, Softball NCCP Facilitator (Softball Canada), 
Multisport Facilitator (Coaching Association of Canada)
, Junior Athletes Training Specialist (JATS), Periodization – Strength and Conditioning Expert (P-SCE), Periodization – Planning Specialist (P-PS), Periodization – Personal Trainer, 20+ year Softball Coach at various ages and levels.


SoftballTutorAcademy.com
ShannonMcdougall.com
Periodization.com

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Fastpitch Softball Magazine Issue 35 http://fastpitch.tv/issue-35 http://fastpitch.tv/issue-35#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 17:54:32 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38827 Issue 35 of The Fastpitch Magazine Published By Gary Leland I am happy to bring you this month’s issue of the Fastpitch Softball Magazine, which is now available on your Apple devices, and available for Android devices too. Welcome to issue 35 of the Fastpitch Magazine. The Fastpitch magazine has been bringing you more fastpitch […]

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Issue 35 of The Fastpitch Magazine Published By Gary Leland

I am happy to bring you this month’s issue of the Fastpitch Softball Magazine, which is now available on your Apple devices, and available for Android devices too.

Welcome to issue 35 of the Fastpitch Magazine. The Fastpitch magazine has been bringing you more fastpitch softball than anyone on the planet for two full years.

This month Mitch Alexander writes about “USSSA Elite Select All american Tryouts”

Bill Plummer says “NCAA Crowns 3 National Softball Championships”.

Charity Butler writes “6 Tips to Increasing Your RBI”.

Arron Weintraub’s article is about “Awareness”.

Jen Cronebeger writes “Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist”.

The Exclusive video this month is my interview with LSU Head Coach, Beth Torina.

Michelle Diltz is back with “Part 3, Preparing for Battle″.

Keri Casas is here with her article “Creating a Foundation”.

Dr. Sherry Warner returns with “Leg Drive and Weight Lift”.

Robb Behymer writes “Your Legacy Starts Here”.

As well as my 10 Questions interview with pitching legend and former Olympian Lisa Fernandez.

All this and more in this months issue.

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Cheryl Milligan Interviewed By Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/cheryl-milligan http://fastpitch.tv/cheryl-milligan#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 16:32:00 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38812 This is an interview I conducted with Head Coach Cheryl Milligan of The Tufts University Softball Team “Jumbos”. Recorded from Clermont, Florida at the PFX Athletics Spring Games – Produced By Gary Leland Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes Subscribe with RSS Click to buy the App for Apple Click to buy the App for […]

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This is an interview I conducted with Head Coach Cheryl Milligan of The Tufts University Softball Team “Jumbos”. Recorded from Clermont, Florida at the PFX Athletics Spring Games – Produced By Gary Leland

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Lisa Fernandez Answers My 10 Questions – http://fastpitch.tv/lisa-fernandez-10-questions http://fastpitch.tv/lisa-fernandez-10-questions#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 18:52:58 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38800 3-Time Olympian Lisa Fernandez answers my 10 Questions. Written by Gary Leland Olympic Gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004) Height: 5’6″ Position: Pitcher Hometown: Long Beach, California. School: UCLA Graduation: 1995   Q. How old were you when you started playing softball? A. I started playing softball when I was 7 years old, for the little miss […]

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Fernandez Headshot3-Time Olympian Lisa Fernandez answers my 10 Questions. Written by Gary Leland

Olympic Gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004)
Height: 5’6″
Position: Pitcher
Hometown: Long Beach, California.
School: UCLA
Graduation: 1995

 

Q. How old were you when you started playing softball?

A. I started playing softball when I was 7 years old, for the little miss softball fastpitch association. Prior to that it was just sports clinic and rec ball.

Q. Was there anyone special in your life that helped you become a great player?

A. My parents were instrumental in my career. My Father is cuban and played semi-pro baseball over there. And my Mother grew up playing slowpitch. So I was always around the game.

As I continued to grow and develop, I’d have to say Dot Richardson. She really took me to the next level. I played with her on the Brakettes, and the Nationals team. We were teammates since the early 90’s.

Q. How do you get ready for a game?

A. I’m so superstitious its crazy, from when I get up to what I eat to how I get dressed to what I watch on TV. Whatever makes me feel like I’m going to have that extra edge against my opponents.

Q. What do you like to do when you are not involved with softball?

A. Well before having children, back in the day competing was the priority, so anything that was low key. Reading books, going to movies, relaxing spending time with friends and family.

Q. What factors do you feel have influenced you the most to become the player and you are today?

A. Physically I don’t think I’m different than anyone else, but from what people have said it’s my mentality. I’ve been blessed with some physical skills, but I have pushed myself farther than most would go. To me I have a growth mindset, its about learning and maturing, and growing. Failure is nothing more than a way to inspire me to become better.

Q. What is your favorite softball memory?

A. Of course, everyone might say the championships and the medals, but for me it was the loses. I remember some heartbreaking loses that made the biggest impact on my career. I found the inner message within each one, that helped me learn what I needed to know.

Q. How much value do you place on mental training? Do you have any advice for others in this area?

A. I think mental preparation is huge. I think visualization is huge. I think that’s what seperates the good from the great. Physically all these athletes are talented but it’s really the mentality thats going to show who’s going to get the job done under pressure. What do you do when no one’s watching?

Q. What is the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your playing and/or coaching career?

A. Probably the biggest obstacle was when I was maybe 13, I was told I would never be able to pitch because my arms weren’t long enough that I wasn’t built for it. Yet once again my parents were very instrumental in teaching me work ethic and that I better make up for those differences in my mental toughness. How hard was I willing to work to be able to be the best that I can be.

Q. What is life after softball for you?

A. I’m still in it! The game is in my blood, I’m coaching at UCLA and I can’t see myself doing anything else.

Q. What was it like coming back to your Alma Mater as a coach at UCLA?

A. Well I think that’s many players dreams. There was a reason why I picked UCLA as a recruit. To me it’s the greatest institution that provides both academic excellence, and the ability to take you to the next level physically with athletic excellence. The bruin family has done so much for me, I’ve always been able to hit up the “405” and there I’ve got a place I’m welcomed with open arms.

The 2015 WCWS has been so rewarding. It’s been an honor to be here as a coach to help these students reach for their dreams.

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ASA Non-Approved Bat List with Certification Marks http://fastpitch.tv/asa-non-approved-bat-list http://fastpitch.tv/asa-non-approved-bat-list#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:05:41 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38752 I have people asking me all the time for information on illegal softball bats, and which bats are currently approved. I found the ASA Non-Approved Bat List and added the file below. I hope this helps in making your next bat purchase, and don’t forget to visit Softballjunk.com to take $30 Off! Promo Code: fptv30. […]

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I have people asking me all the time for information on illegal softball bats, and which bats are currently approved. I found the ASA Non-Approved Bat List and added the file below. I hope this helps in making your next bat purchase, and don’t forget to visit Softballjunk.com to take $30 Off! Promo Code: fptv30.

ASA Softball – (February 18, 2015) This list depicts the previously ASA certified bats that failed an ASA sponsored field audit and that also carry the 2000 or 2004 ASA Certification Mark. This list is intended for informational purposes only.

ASA Non-Approved Bat List

batlist
For a complete list of approved bats go to the certified equipment section of www.asasoftball.com
Last Updated: April 11, 2014

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10 Things She Must Do to Stand Out on the Field http://fastpitch.tv/10-things-to-stand-out http://fastpitch.tv/10-things-to-stand-out#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:18:16 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38734 “The Top 10 Things She Must Do to Stand Out on the Field” Written By John Michael Kelly As championship season is upon us the summer push to win and be noticed is like no other time of year. Whether you daughter and/or team is playing in a regional or national tournament, or one of […]

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“The Top 10 Things She Must Do to Stand Out on the Field” Written By John Michael Kelly

As championship season is upon us the summer push to win and be noticed is like no other time of year. Whether you daughter and/or team is playing in a regional or national tournament, or one of the major summer showcases here are some proven tips for things your athlete MUST do to stand out from the crowd and be a difference maker, a game changer…someone every coach wants on his or her team.

Remember, if your athlete is looking to get recruited keep in mind that for a college coach this is their career, their job. Ask yourself the question, “Would I invest $100,000 to $250,000 in my daughter to play softball in my program…knowing that my job is on the line?”

Follow these 10 tips and your daughter will shine and stand out every time:

1. Hustle – This should be a “no-brainer.” Run from pre-game to the dugout; run on and off the field each inning; run back to the dugout after an out; and for gosh sakes RUN out every ball hit. Dive for balls….ALWAYS. If your athlete is on deck she should run to pick up the bat for the batter after a foul ball. Remember, hustle is a CHOICE and coaches are ALWAYS watching.hoover09cut-11

2. Attitude – This takes form as body language, using your voice on the field, cheering in the dugout. Your athlete, again, must be aware that her every move is being watched and any demonstration of frustration, anger or sadness is seen as a huge weakness and liability in the eyes of a coach. This falls under the heading of mental toughness…get some!

3. Intelligence – I call it “Softball IQ” and every coach likes to see a prospect show her knowledge for the game. Why? Because it will make the coach’s job easier; less remedial teaching allows for more advanced teaching. Have your athlete pay attention playing the game, observing the game or watching on television. How much can she learn about the game? Again, it’s always her CHOICE.

4. Superior Concentration/Focus – Softball is a game that requires immense focus and mental concentration for short bursts of time; usually less than 5 seconds. However, if your athlete cannot summon that focus the game will inevitably punish her with mistakes or due to poor decision making. In big games or bigger stages she must keep her focus in the present moment.

5. Bounce Back from Adversity – Softball is a game of failure and, more accurately, a game of overcoming failure. For your athlete to stand out she MUST be able to have a short memory and put past mistakes behind her as QUICKLY as possible. Carrying an error in the field over to her next at bat, or a poor at bat out into the field on in the circle is a recipe for disaster. Have her see a mistake as an opportunity to learn and move one step closer to game mastery instead of the end of the world!

6. Play Fearless! – Every coach wants that player who flies around the field, afraid of nothing…always giving 110% effort, trusting her decision making and her talent. Playing fearless means NO HESITATION. Coaches would prefer an athlete make a mistake as the result of playing aggressive as opposed to playing passive, unsure, afraid of making mistakes.

7. Do the Little Things Well – See #3 again. Have your athlete take pride in her game and take good leads, backup plays properly, look for the extra base, get the signs right. It is ultimately the little intangible parts of the game that only a trained coach’s eye will notice that will determine how much your athlete stands out from the crowd. Do all of the little things well and good things will happen!

8. Execute – No matter how good your athlete is at performing the other 9 tips in this email she MUST be able to execute when her number is called. However, keep in mind that coaches watching prospects don’t expect a pitcher to strike everyone out or every hitter to go 5-5. Execution has as much to do with showing the athleticism, precision, knowledge and effort in the execution of the various game tasks/skills than simply the result itself. So get the bunt down, hit behind the runner, hit the cutoff, and throw strike one.

9. Make Adjustments – As the game of softball is dynamic, meaning full of variables always changing, any athlete that wants to stand out must learn to make numerous adjustments during the game to give herself the best odds for success. These adjustment “opportunities” are everywhere: batting, fielding, base-running, pitching. Here is the key…if your athlete DOES NOT make adjustments she will never be able to play her best. So have her look for adjustments based on the ump’s strike zone, the pitcher calling, the defensive positioning, etc. All game adjustments are easier if she follows my advice in #3 and #4.

10. Love the Game – In the end your athlete will stand out simply because everyone watching her can clearly see how much she loves playing the game. Her joy, enthusiasm, and genuine desire show up in every move she makes on the diamond. Coaches love these types of players because they are easy to coach and nearly always are willing to do whatever it takes to get better and help their team to succeed. As an athlete love, appreciate and respect “the game” and you will absolutely stand out!

Well, that’s it. Ignore these 10 tips and your athlete will have a very difficult time standing out. Follow them and coaches will be lining up to recruit her to their team/program!

Thanks for reading! –John Michael Kelly

John Michael Kelly

John Michael Kelly

John Michael Kelly: John Michael Kelly, America’s Sports Confidence Coach, is known for skyrocketing the self-confidence and game performance levels for thousands of youth athletes and teams from coast to coast by reducing the stress and increasing the joy for playing the game! John also coaches travel softball with the 18u and 18 Gold teams for The Next Level (“TNL”) organization in sunny San Diego. You can follow John at SoftballSmarts.com and Facebook.com/SoftballSmarts.

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Softball Bat Selection, Should I Go Light? – http://fastpitch.tv/softball-bat-selection http://fastpitch.tv/softball-bat-selection#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:22:50 +0000 Victor Ious http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38728 Bat Selection And Weight, Rob Crews Produced By Gary Leland In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews is back with another great tip on bat selection, should I consider going lighter? When selecting a bat for fastpitch softball, Rob doesn’t believe in going with light bats. For Example: Starting out with […]

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Rob Crew


Bat Selection And Weight, Rob Crews

Produced By Gary Leland

In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews is back with another great tip on bat selection, should I consider going lighter? When selecting a bat for fastpitch softball, Rob doesn’t believe in going with light bats.

For Example:

Starting out with a -10, 33″, 23 oz. softball bat and stepping up to a -10, 34″, 24 oz. bat is only a 1 oz. difference. This change is so small that you won’t be able to tell the difference. It could be a factor in you getting a hit or not. So if you wanted to go from 32″ to 34″ softball bat, you probably should.

The Science Behind It:

Bat Speed & Momentum –

Velocity (squared) Multiplied by Mass (weight) = The amount of Force your generating.

So if my bat is heavier and I swing that heavier bat faster. I’m going to generate a lot more force than someone swinging a lighter bat at a faster speed.

Don’t be afraid to step up to the larger bat, this is how you will reach your potential and get your power. We need to be able to generate our own power and Rob says “Go Heavy or Go Home.”

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Win A Three Piece Tee http://fastpitch.tv/c20 http://fastpitch.tv/c20#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:20:58 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38691 This month on The Win Some Softball Stuff Show you can win a Three Piece Tee. Produced By Gary Leland Watch the video to find out how to enter, and make sure to watch on the 25th of every month for our newest contest. The new Three Piece Tee® trainer lays the proper foundation for […]

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This month on The Win Some Softball Stuff Show you can win a Three Piece Tee. Produced By Gary Leland

Watch the video to find out how to enter, and make sure to watch on the 25th of every month for our newest contest.

The new Three Piece Tee® trainer lays the proper foundation for younger players through muscle memory and grip training — consistently providing successful performance results as they advance in age and skill level.

At the core of every successful baseball or softball player is a foundation of strong mechanics and what makes for strong mechanics is proper balance. A properly balanced position is the first, and most important, building block for any player that wants to achieve their true potential and make it to the next level of competition.

Balance is Power

A common misconception among beginners is where speed and power originate. Bat speed and power are produced from a player’s balanced core and feet, not their arms and shoulders. Maintaining proper balance on the balls of their feet allows a player to quickly pivot their load foot towards the ball, squaring their hips to the ball. This means using one’s entire body — not just the arms and shoulders — to generate maximum hitting power.

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The Importance of Hitting Off a Tee http://fastpitch.tv/the-importance-of-tee-work http://fastpitch.tv/the-importance-of-tee-work#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 17:10:01 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38685 The Importance of Hitting Off a Tee, Rob Crews Produced By Gary Leland In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews covers the importance of working with a Tee for hitting practice. He recommends a good priority on Tee work in the off season, and continuing to work with a Tee throughout […]

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The Importance of Hitting Off a Tee, Rob Crews

Produced By Gary Leland

In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews covers the importance of working with a Tee for hitting practice. He recommends a good priority on Tee work in the off season, and continuing to work with a Tee throughout the pre-season and season.

3 Biggest Things:

1. Body Timing – You can work on the timing of your body before a pitch, practicing the different “landing” or “strides” of the hit.

2. Putting the Tee in different “spots” or locations around the plate where a pitch will be to practice swing placement.

3. How to create good backspin with good outward force.

When developing hitters, Rob feels people have different views on using a Tee and to continue doing what your doing if its working. But there are many of advantages to players working on their hitting and swing with a Tee. Rob believes its like a form of meditation, to visualize and see the pitch.

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Lauren Haeger Made Her Mark at Florida http://fastpitch.tv/haeger-mark-on-florida http://fastpitch.tv/haeger-mark-on-florida#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 15:42:11 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38674 “Haeger Made Her Mark at Florida” Written By Bill Plummer OKLAHOMA CITY – Lauren Haeger made her presence felt in 34th annual Women’s College World Series in more ways than one and because she did the Florida Gators repeated as NCAA softball champions. The 5-11 Haeger compiled a 4-1 pitching record jn the WCWS with […]

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FPTVArticleHaeger
“Haeger Made Her Mark at Florida” Written By Bill Plummer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Lauren Haeger made her presence felt in 34th annual Women’s College World Series in more ways than one and because she did the Florida Gators repeated as NCAA softball champions.

The 5-11 Haeger compiled a 4-1 pitching record jn the WCWS with an eye popping 1.18 ERA and also starred on offense batting .571 with 15 total bases, six walks and six RBI.

For the year, Haeger was the third leading hitter on the team with a .348 batting average and led in homers (19) and RBI (71). As a pitcher, she compiled a 32-2 record losing only to Tennessee and Michigan. She hurled 12 shutouts and fanned 214 batters in 222.1 innings pitched. Opponents batted only .185 against her and she finished with an ERA of 1.63.

Haeger was a double-threat all the way around and head coach Tim Walton perfectly summed up Haeger’s performance.

“Lauren left her mark,” Walton said of the only player in college softball history to win at least 70 games as a pitcher (73) and hit at least 70 homers (71). “She’s one of the greatest Gators that ever played and put a uniform on.”

For her career at Florida, Haeger was 73-12 from the mound with an ERA of 1.72. She struck out 531 batters in 572.1 innings and hurled 23 shutouts. She won more games this year that she did her first two years, 31-7, as she became the stopper for the Gators and it was her time to shine in the circle as well as at-bat. Offensively, she had a career .326 batting average with 243 hits including 71 homers with 260 RBI and 388 total bases.

With Haeger graduating, don’t worry about the Gators not being a contender once again for top honors. They have two quality pitchers in Aleshia Ocasio (18-3) and Delanie Gourley, (10-2), who will anchor the pitching staff next year plus incoming freshman kelly Barnhill, rated as the No. 1 prospect in the country. Barnhill compiled a 29-5 record her senior year of high school with an ERA of 0.59 striking out 534 batters in 224 innings.

The Gators aren’t rebuilding. They are just reloading and will try for a three-peat in Oklahoma City.

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Bill Plummer Bill Plummer A graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than four decades. For 30years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian. In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show Manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2009, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2014, ” A Series of Their Own. The History of the Women’s College World Series.” He has been elected to five halls of fame, including the ASA National. In 1996, he served as the Information Manager for the debut of softball in the Olympics.

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Lisa Fernandez Interviewed By Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/lisa-fernandez http://fastpitch.tv/lisa-fernandez#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:57:45 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38650 This is an interview I conducted with 3 time Olympic gold medalist and four-time, first-team All-American, Lisa Fernandez at the 2015 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK.- Produced By Gary Leland Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes Subscribe with RSS Click to buy the App for Apple Click to buy the App for […]

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This is an interview I conducted with 3 time Olympic gold medalist and four-time, first-team All-American, Lisa Fernandez at the 2015 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK.- Produced By Gary Leland

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The Championship Formula http://fastpitch.tv/the-championship-formula http://fastpitch.tv/the-championship-formula#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 15:58:53 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38628 “The Championship Formula” Written By John Michael Kelly After watching another exciting NCAA softball championship season it got me to thinking what exactly determines champions; meaning what separates them from everyone else? Championship games are always thrilling spectacles because of the endless unknown variables and the pure drama of personal heroics. Or as ABC Wide […]

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FPTVArticle

“The Championship Formula” Written By John Michael Kelly

After watching another exciting NCAA softball championship season it got me to thinking what exactly determines champions; meaning what separates them from everyone else?

Championship games are always thrilling spectacles because of the endless unknown variables and the pure drama of personal heroics. Or as ABC Wide World of Sports said, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” There is a winner and a loser; the victor and the vanquished.

Two weeks ago I experienced a championship game of my own as my high school team was shooting for the school’s first California section Division 1 softball championship in 16 years (the equivalent of our state championship). We started five freshmen and were playing against a senior heavy team that would be playing in their fourth section championship game in a row and were defending champions. But I liked our chances!

Winning a local, regional or national championship at any level of competition is incredibly special and takes a number of clearly defined ingredients to propel any team to play their best when it matters most.

My team…yes we won 2-1, after falling behind 1-0 in the top of the 6th. We were frustrated with our inability to hit after we crushed the ball in our 10-3 semi-final win. However, big time players step up with the game and season in the balance. Winning a championship, in the end, is far more mental than physical. Three of our mentally toughest players (one senior and two juniors) led our way back with two clutch two out hits to go ahead and ultimately close out the 2-1 championship victory. But our C.I.F. championship was no accident; it was the product of design, hard work and a formula every champion must follow.

Scripps Ranch’s Lauren Lipe jumps into the arms of Makayla Martin, center, as Kylee Brown joins in the celebration of beating Carlsbad Saturday in the Division I playoff game. photo by Bill Wechter

Scripps Ranch’s Lauren Lipe jumps into the arms of Makayla Martin, center, as Kylee Brown joins in the celebration of beating Carlsbad Saturday in the Division I playoff game.                                     Photo by Bill Wechter

So what, specifically, are the ingredients that make up this championship formula?

1. A culture of success. Champions cultivate a culture of hard work, extreme camaraderie, a “do whatever it takes” I’ve got your back, never settle for less than your best attitude. I call this the “Champion’s Mindset.”

2. Maintain “Big Picture” thinking. Meaning as a coach, player or parent doesn’t freak out about every error or loss. Champions are made and as with game mastery sometimes athletes and teams must take a step or two backwards in order to grow and mature. Your lineup at the start of the year may not resemble your lineup at the end. Allow players to develop as your team matures. As a coach understand that your team is always a masterpiece in progress.

3. Playing fearless. Champions never play with fear! Champions trust their abilities because they ultra prepare for their ultimate success. Fear = Doubt + Hesitation…a guaranteed formula for failure or, at best, mediocrity on the diamond. Playing fearless means being unafraid of making mistakes; focusing on their effort and the process of mastery instead of simply the black and white results.

4. Keep the pressure on! Champions are always on the attack. They keep the pressure on their opponent all the time in every facet of the game. Why? Champions believe they are always the better team and make you play their game at their pace on their terms. Champions force their opponent outside of their comfort zone which leads to mistakes, errors in judgment and doubt (see #3 above).

5. Focus on the details…all of them. Champions know that the consistent and successful execution of small tasks will eventually lead them to the winner’s circle. These small, but crucial, tasks include focusing relentlessly of the mental details of the game: looking for any strategic edge they can gain as a player or team to increase their probability for game day success.

6. Have a plan. The focus on details in #5 really looks like an intense commitment to Herculean preparation. I believe the harder practice and training is for any athlete or team the easier the actual competition will become. All preparation, whether physical or mental, should have a definite purpose, best achieved by the development and execution of a detailed plan.

7. Playing in rhythm. All champions level athletes and teams play with a clearly visible rhythm that allows their immense talent to flow without mental or physical resistance. This rhythm is what propels certain athletes to reach almost unimaginable heights of athletic dominance in the biggest games (think Michael Jordan, LeBron James). Playing in rhythm brings any athlete’s and team’s joy for playing the game bubbling to the surface. In this mindset the game is fun, easy and far simpler to succeed at.

8. Expectancy. Champions play with an unquestionable expectation for good on game day. This expectancy for success, for greatness is the direct and cumulative results of every other key ingredient of the championship formula in this post. It is an undeniable, rock-solid confidence earned through hard work and prior successes. This is why it is said that “champions are made not born.” This expectant mindset for success means that no victory is out of reach, no challenge too daunting, no goal too steep.

So whether you are a coach, parent or athlete follow these eight key ingredients and your team will skyrocket the odds in their favor to become champions. It’s the same formula I used for my championship high school team pictured above.

Remember, there are no shortcuts to success, but success can be achieved with a proactive plan properly executed one step at a time, one day at a time, one pitch at a time!

Thanks for reading!

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John Michael Kelly

John Michael Kelly

John Michael Kelly: John Michael Kelly, America’s Sports Confidence Coach, is known for skyrocketing the self-confidence and game performance levels for thousands of youth athletes and teams from coast to coast by reducing the stress and increasing the joy for playing the game! John also coaches travel softball with the 18u and 18 Gold teams for The Next Level (“TNL”) organization in sunny San Diego. You can follow John at SoftballSmarts.com and Facebook.com/SoftballSmarts.

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Approaching The Change Up Pitch http://fastpitch.tv/rob-crews-change-up http://fastpitch.tv/rob-crews-change-up#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:18:33 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38621 Approaching The Change Up with Rob Crews Produced By Gary Leland In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews covers a great topic on ideas to approaching how to hit the change up pitch. Rob says this is one of his favorite topics, because although it may not be the most effective […]

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Approaching The Change Up with Rob Crews

Produced By Gary Leland

In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Rob Crews covers a great topic on ideas to approaching how to hit the change up pitch. Rob
says this is one of his favorite topics, because although it may not be the most effective pitch, it is the most feared pitch in the box.

When developing hitters, Rob tells us why he feels differently than most coaches and that this pitch can often be a free home run if approached with the right mindset.

Key Take Aways:
1. Proper swing mechanics and being able to stay back.
2. Focusing on the approach and mindset before stepping into the box.

Rob Recommends:
If we have a change-up pitcher who is going to throw two or three change-up pitches for one at bat, we have to make the decision to hit that pitch or let it go before you step in the batter’s box. Once you decide you can still adjust but not always a good idea depending on the hitter. Decide your change-up rules, are you going to swing at a low or high pitch, or are you going to sit on the pitch and wait for a fastball.

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Gators Elite Program With Better Days Ahead http://fastpitch.tv/gators-elite http://fastpitch.tv/gators-elite#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 21:49:12 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38611 “Gators Elite Program With Better Days Ahead” Written By Bill Plummer OKLAHOMA CITY — Florida was a solid softball program before it won back-to-back NCAA titles. Now it’s an elite program and certainly the second title has solidified the program. Florida joins UCLA and Arizona as the only programs ever to go back-to-back. “It’s hard […]

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“Gators Elite Program With Better Days Ahead” Written By Bill Plummer

OKLAHOMA CITY — Florida was a solid softball program before it won back-to-back NCAA titles. Now it’s an elite program and certainly the second title has solidified the program.

Florida joins UCLA and Arizona as the only programs ever to go back-to-back.

“It’s hard to do,” UF athletic director Jeremy Foley beamed during the post-game celebration after the Gators had defeated Michigan, 4-1. “These girls came here as the No. 1 seed and with a target on their backs. Obviously, Michigan is a great team. I mean, every time I looked up on the scoreboard someone was hitting .400 with like 20 homers and 80 RBI.”

Michigan entered the WCWS with a 28-game win streak and obviously was one of the top two teams in the field of eight. The other top team was Florida in a well balanced field of teams.

But there was a difference and as it often happens that difference was in the circle where Lauren Haeger stood.

Haeger was 4-1 in the World Series with an ERA of 1.18. Her overall NCAA Tournament record was 8-1 with an astounding 0.65 considering the emphasis on offense in the last few years.

“Every team that wins a national championship has someone like that,” Foley said. “Everything just kept falling on her shoulders and she just accepted the responsibility. Lauren Haeger has the heart of a champion.”

Besides being the difference on the mound, Haeger was a threat at-bat, hitting .433 in the tournament and .571 in Oklahoma City. She finished the year .347 with 19 homers and 71 RBI.

Haeger is one of the few athletes in Division One that is a double-threat and replacing her will be difficult let alone impossible. UCLA was in the same situation when the total package Lisa Fernandez graduated. She’s now coaching first base for the Bruins.

Florida will try for a three-peat next year and it appears the Gators will have a good chance at making it a three peat considering the nation’s No. 1 pitching prospect, Kelly Barnhill, who hurled 22 no-hitters in her first three years of high school softball, and No. 2 prospect Amanda Lorenz will be coming to Gainesville, Fla. And it won’t be for a vacation either.

Head coach Tim Walton completed his tenth year and during that time he has lost only 121 games while winning 552 for a winning percentage of .829. Including three years at Wichita State Walton’s career winning percentage is .785.

Who knows what Walton and the Gators will do in the next decade, but for now they are atop Division One softball and better days appear on the horizon.

 

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Bill Plummer Bill Plummer A graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than four decades. For 30years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian. In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show Manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2009, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2014, ” A Series of Their Own. The History of the Women’s College World Series.” He has been elected to five halls of fame, including the ASA National. In 1996, he served as the Information Manager for the debut of softball in the Olympics.

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Sheila Cornell-Douty Interviewed By Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/sheila-cornell-douty http://fastpitch.tv/sheila-cornell-douty#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 16:10:20 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38607 2 time Olympian and National Softball Hall of Fame inductee Sheila Cornell-Douty is my guest on this episode, recorded from the 2015 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK- Produced By Gary Leland Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes Subscribe with RSS Click to buy the App for Apple Click to buy the App […]

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2 time Olympian and National Softball Hall of Fame inductee Sheila Cornell-Douty is my guest on this episode, recorded from the 2015 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK- Produced By Gary Leland

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Statistics, Fact or Fiction http://fastpitch.tv/statistics http://fastpitch.tv/statistics#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 17:58:01 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38602 Statistics, Fact or Fiction Written By Mike Adams Trying to wrap my head around a few thoughts and my ADD kicks in. Rather than trying to stretch out a few thoughts into full out blogs, I thought I would just a give quick hit to something I have been thinking about Stats. Our local paper […]

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Statistics, Fact or Fiction Written By Mike Adams

Trying to wrap my head around a few thoughts and my ADD kicks in. Rather than trying to stretch out a few thoughts into full out blogs, I thought I would just a give quick hit to something I have been thinking about

Stats. Our local paper recently posted top stats of players in baseball and softball. As I was looking through them I started thinking about what do stats really tell? Or even better, what does it NOT tell?

1. Does not tell accurate/consistent statistics

I have looked in several news publications and all have pointed out that the statistics presented are provided by the teams. If I sent to the publications that my player hit 1000 home runs, it would be printed 1000 home runs.

Most, not all teams, have a parent(s) recording stats. While this is very helpful, do we know that they are taking them correctly? Are they consistent between different people keeping books at different games?

2. Does not give a real picture of the player.

Example. Player A seems to always get into the game at a point where a sacrifice bunt(hit) is needed. That is (according to NCAA) not counted as an at-bat. So player A could be seen as having far less at-bats leading some to think they are not playing as much, where in reality they are very valuable.

3. Does not tell if the player is a consistent player.

All players have off days (even at the professional level). A Good coach realizes this and replaces them for the sake of the team and the player. (mainly you see pitchers and catchers, but any player could fit this bill) If the coach doesn’t pull them, or can’t because of roster, this single game came greatly push the statistics down. On the other hand, a player who is very inconstant and gets pulled before the stats can be lowered will hold a higher stat.

4. Does not tell how a player plays the game.

This is a big one. Softball is a TEAM sport. as such, no individual player wins or loses a game. I have seen/coached players that may not be the big scoring player, may not have been the big outs player, but was a true team captain and kept everyone in the game. Motivation is an important part of a team. and that stat cannot be a number. How a player plays when they are down cant be equated. Errors happen, as you have heard from me before, it is what happens after the error that is really important. That also isn’t a Statistic.

5. Does not tell how tough the opponents are.

This goes both ways. Play in an easier league (for a given year) and you can end up with insane statistics. Have 3 of the top 10 state teams in your league and batting 300+ against them is pretty darn good! Fields also vary in conditions to depth. Errors occur more on an improperly kept field. More home runs occur in a 200ft field than a 225. Less steals are going to be successful on a soaked surface while drizzling (or in the case of my home state Michigan, snow) than a nice dry sunny day .

This is just a basic way of making a point. When scouting out players, going by statistics is the worst way to go. Can it give you a rough idea? sure, very rough. The only true way to see how good a player is is to watch that player in several games, in several situations.

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Mike AdamsMike Adams Mike has over 20 years coaching experience between Softball and Hockey. His passion is with coaching and seeing players grow. Creating drills to focus on specific skills is his forte and is often called upon from different coaches to create them. He is Highly ADD which makes for a different type of blog but the ADD keeps him more in touch with his child side. You can contact Mike through his email autox19@autox19.com

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How To Throw Faster Pitches http://fastpitch.tv/faster-pitching http://fastpitch.tv/faster-pitching#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 23:05:31 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38589 How To Throw Faster Pitches by Bill Hillhouse Produced By Gary Leland In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Bill Hillhouse talks about his most asked question on how to throw faster pitches in softball. Bill says that pitching softball is exactly as pitching baseball, power is in the legs! Many young girls […]

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How To Throw Faster Pitches by Bill Hillhouse

Produced By Gary Leland

In this episode of the Fastpitch Softball Chat Show, Bill Hillhouse talks about his most asked question on how to throw faster pitches in softball. Bill says that pitching softball is exactly as pitching baseball, power is in the legs!

Many young girls understand they are throwing the ball with their arm, but think the power comes from the arm. It does not, the explosion of energy in the pitch comes from the legs. The second factor in gaining speed is the “whip” of the arm, not the bend in the elbow.

Key Take Aways:
1. Core strength is important, develop and strengthen your legs.
2. Don’t get complacent in working on the push of the legs, and the whip of the arm.

Bill Recommends:
Think about other sports, for example where does the power come from in basketball for a jumpshot? A jumpshot takes power from all 4 parts of the body. Work on each section of the body when pitching. Don’t just wind up one arm, focus on the entire body for pitching motion. Each half of the body helps the other. Use the entire body to help get the explosiveness for speed.

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Tour Of The ASA Hall Of Fame With Dr. Dot Richardson http://fastpitch.tv/tour-od-the-asa-hall-of-fame-with-dr-dot-richardson http://fastpitch.tv/tour-od-the-asa-hall-of-fame-with-dr-dot-richardson#comments Sat, 06 Jun 2015 15:25:47 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38512 Dr. Dot Richardson gave me a tour of the Hall Of Fame. – Photos By Gary Leland . To keep up with all the photos I shoot, from all the softball events I visit just go to SoftballShots.com. Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A Question or Some Feedback? […]

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Dr. Dot Richardson gave me a tour of the Hall Of Fame. – Photos By Gary Leland


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Softball History With Dr. Dot Richardson http://fastpitch.tv/softball-history-with-dot-richardson http://fastpitch.tv/softball-history-with-dot-richardson#comments Sat, 06 Jun 2015 15:23:30 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38510 Photos from the filming of Softball History with Dot Richardson and guests – Photos By Gary Leland . To keep up with all the photos I shoot, from all the softball events I visit just go to SoftballShots.com. Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A Question or Some Feedback? […]

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Photos from the filming of Softball History with Dot Richardson and guests – Photos By Gary Leland


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NPF Charge vs Rebellion http://fastpitch.tv/npf-chargee-vs-rebellion http://fastpitch.tv/npf-chargee-vs-rebellion#comments Sat, 06 Jun 2015 02:17:49 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38469 Photos From The NPF Charge vs the Rebellion in Arlington, Texas – Photos By Gary Leland To keep up with all the photos I shoot, from all the softball events I visit just go to SoftballShots.com. Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and […]

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Photos From The NPF Charge vs the Rebellion in Arlington, Texas – Photos By Gary Leland

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2015 WCWS Championship Series Game 3 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-championship-series-game-3 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-championship-series-game-3#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 02:23:50 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38476 Photos From Game Three Of The Championship Series Of The 2015 WCWS in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Photos By Gary Leland . To keep up with all the photos I shoot, from all the softball events I visit just go to SoftballShots.com. Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A […]

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Photos From Game Three Of The Championship Series
Of The 2015 WCWS in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Photos By Gary Leland


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Gators Repeat as NCAA WCWS Softball Champion’s 2015 http://fastpitch.tv/gators-ncaa-softball-champions http://fastpitch.tv/gators-ncaa-softball-champions#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:37:49 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38465 “Gators Repeat as NCAA WCWS Softball Champion’s 2015″ Written By Bill Plummer OKLAHOMA CITY — After being shutout the night before, the Florida Gators came back with a vengeance Wednesday night before a crowd of 7,680 to defeat Michigan in the final game of the NCAA Championship Series and win the 34th annual Women’s College […]

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2015WCWSArticle

“Gators Repeat as NCAA WCWS Softball Champion’s 2015″ Written By Bill Plummer

OKLAHOMA CITY — After being shutout the night before, the Florida Gators came back with a vengeance Wednesday night before a crowd of 7,680 to defeat Michigan in the final game of the NCAA Championship Series and win the 34th annual Women’s College World Series, 4-1.

Pitcher Lauren Haeger allowed one run and scattered five hits as the Gators repeated as national champion and became only the third team to repeat, joining UCLA and Arizona. Haeger was named the Most Outstanding Player of the WCWS and also won the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and is only the third player to win both awards. She finished the year 32-2.

Haeger compiled a 4-1 mound record in the Series allowing six earned runs in 36 innings. She also batted .571 hitting three homers, driving in six runs and walking six times as the Gators finished the year 60-7. It marked the third year out of the last four years that an SEC team has won the WCWS.

“When you work hard good things happen to you,” said Haeger.”I am so thankful to be a Gator. It’s been a great time.”

In repeating as national champion, Florida joined UCLA and Arizona with Arizona winning in 2006-07.

“We used it as motivation,” said Haeger.”We realize this isn’t going to be handed to us and we really needed to work hard. Michigan is a great team. And we just had a different attitude today. You could see it in our eyes. You could see it in each other, you will hear it in our conversations. We were a different team. We were who we are today. And I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates.”

In Tuesday’s loss Michigan attacked early and scored the game’s only run in the first inning. On Wednesday, the Gators turned the tables and scored three times in the bottom of the first and once in the second for all the runs they would need. Michigan scored a run in the fifth on an RBI single to center field by second baseman Sierra Romero with two out.

In the first, the Gators scored an RBI single by Haeger and a two-run single to left field by Taylor Schwarz, scoring Haeger and and Nicole DeWitt. In the second, the Gators added another run on an RBI double by Kelsey Stewart to left field scoring Justine McLean, who had singled to open the inning, went to second on a throwing error by the third baseman and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Aubree Munro.

“That first inning obviously broke our back,” said Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins.

Haylie Wagner, who had shut out the Gators Tuesday evening, took the loss and finished the year 25-3. She allowed four hits and four runs. She didn’t strike out or walk anyone. Wagner was relieved by Megan Betsa who hurled four innings allowing only one hit and no runs. She walked three and struck out eight.Michigan finished the year 60-8 and was seeking its second NCAA national title after winning in 2005.

Michigan had five players named to the All Tournament team including Wagner, Kelsey Susalla, Sierra Romero, Kelly Christner and Abby Ramirez. Florida had Aubree Munro, Kelsey Stewart and Haeger. Joining them were Carlee Wallace and Branndi Melero of Auburn, and Ally Carda of UCLA.

The attendance Wednesday upped the overall attendance to a record 78,078 breaking the previous mark of 75,960 in 2012. Four of the ten sessions in the 2015 WCWS also were records and the attendance for the third game was the fourth highest. This was only the fourth time that the WCWS reached the third game.

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Bill Plummer Bill Plummer A graduate of Indiana University, Ind. Bill has been involved in softball for more than four decades. For 30years he was a fixture at the ASA National Office as a communications coordinator, manager of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame and historian. In addition, he also served as the editor of the ASA official newsletter, The Inside Pitch, and as the Trade Show Manager. He has written widely about the sport and has contributed to 14 books. In 2009, he authored “The Game America Plays.” In 2012, he co-authored “Best of the Best-Women’s Fastpitch.” In 2014, ” A Series of Their Own. The History of the Women’s College World Series.” He has been elected to five halls of fame, including the ASA National. In 1996, he served as the Information Manager for the debut of softball in the Olympics.

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2015 WCWS Press Conference Championship Final Game 3 Florida http://fastpitch.tv/championship-game-3-florida http://fastpitch.tv/championship-game-3-florida#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 05:05:20 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38452 Championship Game 3 Florida Post Game Press Conference Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message. Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites: http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook http://Fastpitch.TV/Store http://Fastpitch.TV/Instagram http://Fastpitch.TV/Newsletter http://Fastpitch.TV/Books http://Fastpitch.TV/Backers http://Fastpitch.TV/Apps http://Fastpitch.TV/Twitter http://Fastpitch.TV/GooglePlus http://Fastpitch.TV/YouTube http://Fastpitch.TV/Pinterest http://Fastpitch.TV/Flickr http://FastpitchMagazine.com This content is provided with […]

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2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 3 Quotes and Notes Florida 4, Michigan 1 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-final-game-3 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-final-game-3#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 04:46:09 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38413 2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 3 “Quotes and Notes” Florida 4, Michigan 1 Florida An Interview with: COACH TIM WALTON, LAUREN HAEGER, NICOLE DEWITT, TAYLOR SCHWARZ, KELSEY STEWART THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Lauren Haeger, student-athlete Nicole DeWitt, student-athlete Kelsey Stewart and coming soon will be student-athlete Taylor Schwarz. Coach, […]

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2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 3
“Quotes and Notes”
Florida 4, Michigan 1

Florida

An Interview with: COACH TIM WALTON, LAUREN HAEGER, NICOLE DEWITT, TAYLOR SCHWARZ, KELSEY STEWART

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Lauren Haeger, student-athlete Nicole DeWitt, student-athlete Kelsey Stewart and coming soon will be student-athlete Taylor Schwarz. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH WALTON: Before I start with the game, just want to congratulate Michigan on a phenomenal season to have two teams coming down at the end with almost identical records. And to win this game to be the overall winning percentage, leader in the country, just says a lot about not only both programs but the coaching staffs and the players. And also want to thank the NCAA for hosting this event. Thought it was one of the best events that — obviously it’s easy to sit up here and say that. But just a great event. All the amenities they’ve added and taking care of the grounds crew and get everything right and the ESPN and the viewership and viewers and fans, I heard it was the biggest event watched last year. And the number, 74,000 or 77,000 that came through the gates, just we couldn’t have what we have without that, and that support. So thanks to everybody for being there and supporting these kids. And just — I’ll make it simple. I thought we really committed to — we really owned making an adjustment at the plate. And I think last night my words probably are still ringing in some of their heads. But overall the adjustment we made, and again our pitching staff, just so proud of our pitching staff. Without Aleshia Ocasio and Delanie Gourley on Monday night, we wouldn’t be sitting up here. I’m pretty sure of it. And Lauren (Haeger), can’t say enough about her season, what she’s meant in the circle, at the plate, and in the locker room. And the confidence and work ethic she brought this year has been tremendous. And being rewarded with Player of the Year but also with the national championship trophy to go with that and a ring and SEC championship. Proud of our players and thankful that I’m their coach and they buy into what we do. A lot of confidence.

Q. Kelsey, in the first inning you took what looked like a really painful hit on your knee. You were able to get to second on the attempted fielder’s choice. You scored the first run. How much pain were you in. And can you take us through what that was like?

KELSEY STEWART: I think any time you get hit in the kneecap, it’s going to cause a lot of pain. It hit me in the right spot. I had to work through it. Once I saw Nicole (DeWitt) lay the bunt down, I saw their third baseman try to throw me out. And there was no way that was happening today. And Lauren (Haeger), clutch, like she always does. And that first one, whoever scored the first run of these past three games has won the game. So I thought that was a big uplfiting for us.

Q. Tim and Lauren, you mentioned the adjustments. Can you be any more specific on what adjustments those might have been?

COACH WALTON: We really were having problems getting extension. Couldn’t get any extension. And I couldn’t get any clearer definition of why we couldn’t get extension. If it was velocity or if it was movement. And so we — if you notice a lot of the hitters, they’re choked up probably four, five inches on the bat. And I gave an interesting analogy I think today that one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, Barry Bonds, 32- inch bat, chokes up two to three inches. And he can hit just fine. Let’s just go find a way to make contact and hit hard ground balls today. Our jam shots were going to the catcher and pitcher the last couple of days; finally got over the shortstop’s head and made that adjustment.

LAUREN HAEGER: Yeah, he said it all. That’s exactly what we did. I don’t know.

Q. What was your day like yesterday? You sat on the podium, you and Taylore (Fuller) said you were coming with different energy. And you scored three runs in the first inning. Different energy. What was the day like? Did you get rid of yesterday mentally and just kind of focus on what was ahead?

LAUREN HAEGER: Yes, we used it as motivation. We realized this isn’t going to be handed to us and we really needed to work hard. Michigan is a great team. And they are a great team. And we just had a different attitude today. You could see it in our eyes. You could see it in each other, you could hear it in our conversations. We were a different team. We were who we are today. And I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates.

Q. Lauren and Taylor, can you talk about your emotions when you saw the weak grounder going to first? And for Lauren, can you talk about, did you think you were going to die underneath that dog pile?

LAUREN HAEGER: Yeah, my leg was not in the right position. Just kept getting heavier and heavier and I was like get off of me! But it was great. I tried to hold it out as long as I could. But when I saw that ground ball go to Taylor (Schwarz) I was, like, I froze. And I was, like, oh my gosh, this is going to happen. Oh my gosh. And Taylor sits on the base. I looked at Aubree (Munro), she threw her glove in the air. And I threw my glove in the air. I’ve never been in that position before. I’ve never been in the circle when that happened. I was, like, great, here comes the dog pile. It was a crazy feeling. It was very slow motion for me. And it was just an amazing feeling that I will feel forever.

TAYLOR SCHWARZ: Same thing, it’s crazy how last year I made the last out. And this year I made the last out. I was really trying to soak it in, because I remember last year went by so fast. I saw that ball coming to me, I was like get the ball. Tag the base. Now you can throw your glove and the ball in the air. So much fun. And I got up out of the dog pile with dirt all over my face but it was so worth it.

Q. Coach, I know you never forget your first, but does it feel any sweeter the second time around?

COACH WALTON: Yeah, it was a little bit more emotional than the first. It was kind of an interesting thing. I don’t know if it was a relief. I mean, everybody had said how many times you’ve been here before and not won it last year. I guess I never even thought of it that way. Last year it was just a lot of, just a lot of celebration. This time was a little bit different emotion. And I’m proud of watching these athletes just go out and continue to compete. And I got a bunch of competitors on our team. And I’m proud of just the way they went out and competed and really just raised that trophy up the way we did. And the way we run our program and the way the players play in our program with a lot of class, a lot of positive energy for kids out there. I’m really proud of them.

Q. Lauren, the last game in your career, how do you want Gator fans to remember your legacy?

LAUREN HAEGER: I mean, I just want everyone to know me as a person more than a softball player. And that when you work hard, good things happen for you. When you really buy into something — I bought into what Coach Walton does and did. And it worked out. And just, I just am so thankful to be a Gator and it’s been a great time.

Q. Coach, the message at the beginning of the season was to let last year’s team be last year’s team. And throughout the course of the year how well did they do at that task of making their own memories and making their own moments?

COACH WALTON: I think the keyword you used there is their own moments. We had some ups and downs this season personally for some individuals on our team. One down at the end of the podium, Taylor Schwarz. Kid who has played every game her first couple years. This year kind of platooned a little bit. I’m proud of them. They all understand. I think the key to this creating your own moment is we’ve got 20 players on our team and each one has a role and each one brings value to the team. And if you can put yourself aside, your own selfish instincts, you want to play every game and support your teammates, good things happen for you. And I think that’s the key. That’s one of the things we worked on so hard. A good friend of ours, now all of ours, Brett Ledbetter what he did for us and helped us learn about the character components. Winning and losing kind of comes and goes but you as a person is never going to go anywhere. And the foundation of what we built here is so important to me. Again, I think that the kids on this podium really are good examples of that. Taylor Schwarz is none better having to watch somebody else play for a while. And I felt like we had a good matchup. I felt she matched up best with Haylie Wagner, and there she was with the biggest hit of our season, that’s for sure.

Q. Lauren, can you talk about scoring from second there in the first, just talk me through that and then, Tim, a follow-up. As Lauren was talking about her legacy, is there a word or two that come to mind for you when you think about her mark on this program after four years?

LAUREN HAEGER: Well, when Taylor (Schwarz) hit the ball, I was just like there’s two outs and I was putting my head down and trying to run as fast as I can. I’m not the fastest but coach is waving me around. And I was like, here it comes. Am I going to have to head first slide or slide by. I was like, oh my gosh. I ran as fast as I could. I could see her giving me part of the plate and I tried to slide in. I was trying to run as fast as I could.

COACH WALTON: One of the biggest things that I’ll say: Lauren (Haeger) left her mark. What stands in mind is what her dad said to me in the recruiting process, is that Lauren is always everyone’s favorite player on the team, not because she hits home runs or strikes everybody out, but because of her personality. She came to us speaking five or six different languages and none of which any of us understand. They’re not written languages. They’re all languages amongst her teammates, and all of her teams. And everybody from Team U.S.A. to her high school team to her travel ball team, to now her college team and soon to be her pro team, she’s always the most likable person on the team. She’s fun-loving. She just has fun. And doesn’t really take anything too serious. But the mark that she’s going to leave on our program, once she graduates next year, she’ll have a big sign like all the rest of the greatest Gators in the program’s history because that’s what she is. She’s one of the greatest Gators that ever played and put the uniform on. We talked about the person. We talked about the player. We talked about the student side of things. And she’s really bought into us. And I think I’m proud of her for all she’s accomplished. But I’m more proud of her about how she’s going to move on and be a great human being and she’ll have a special part in my family, because my family loves her and loves what she’s done. And I think the easiest thing to say she’s one of the greatest players to ever play the game for the University of Florida Gators.

Q. Tim, have you ever been part of a game where there were so many batters hit by pitches?

COACH WALTON: I think the last time was probably Michigan. The last time we played them. I love Coach Hutch (Hutchins). I love her. I told her before the game, before the first game, it’s a privilege to play on the field with her and her team and what she does at Michigan. They play with a lot of class. None of those were intentional, did I see. Nobody was complaining. They weren’t complaining we were getting hit, I wasn’t complaining when they were getting hit. Two teams trying to find a way to take away somebody’s best pitch. I don’t think anything — there were a couple maybe a little close. But, hey, I’ve said it all year long, if somebody wants to stand and take a dose, I’m all for it. And she’s all for it. I hear her at third — she’s smiling and pumping her fist. Again, I think that’s part of the game. And it didn’t change the outcome of the game fortunately. But I don’t think I’ve been a part of that many like that, that’s for sure.

Q. Kelsey and Taylor, you had the two big hits today. Can you just speak to what Tim was talking about, just the mentality or the change up of the approach going up to bat against Wagner this time?

TAYLOR SCHWARZ: I think earlier today at early hitting we bought into what Coach Walton was saying, making the right adjustments off (Haylie) Wagner. She’s a great pitcher. We knew she was going to come out hot and we had to make adjustments. Honestly, my at-bat I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was just trying to get the barrel on the ball and it fell in the right spot. If it wasn’t for Coach making those adjustments and really buying into it and believing in the process all year I don’t think we would have had the result we had today.

KELSEY STEWART: We worked this morning on getting on the plate and really looking for my pitch. And I was looking for an inside pitch and if she was there to come inside she got a little too close to me and hit me. But that last pitch I was trying to hit it up the middle because the middle’s wide open and that’s my strength. And it just happened that I got a good piece of it.

Q. Tim, with both Lauren and Hannah Rogers last season we saw seniors reach a fork in the road and choose a certain path. Why and how did that happen two years in a row?

COACH WALTON: I think both — if I can look at the physical attributes, I think both of them developed a good offspeed pitch late in their career. I think that’s key. Hannah developed her offspeed pitch last year about three-quarters through the season. And Lauren decided to get hers about January, late January, maybe early February. Those have been the two physical attributes that I can say. Then I go to the mental side of things that obviously pushes them physically. They just worked really hard with Coach (Jennifer) Rocha and being able to get into the bullpen and work what they’re good at and know the opponent. I think overall their work ethic, Hannah had a strong work ethic the whole time she was here just because she was pretty much our go-to pitcher a long time. Lauren kind of picked and chose her moments. She understood I’m not going to go in there exhaust myself for 45 minutes in the bullpen when I’m not going to get the ball on Friday night. Hannah has proven to be that. I think she bought in, changed her work ethic in the circle, in the bullpen more, I won’t say probably the whole year, but probably from about November on she really kind of bought into I had a chance to pitch and pitch a lot this year.

Q. Lauren, considering this is your last game, obviously you’ll take the result, but were you frustrated that you only got to really bat once?

LAUREN HAEGER: Not at all. Coach Ron (Walton)’s always told me to take your walks. I’ll take my walks. I was having a really great tournament. I was seeing the ball really well. And we would have done the exact same thing, to whoever was hitting as well as I was on that side, too. No, I’m very proud of the way I hit.

Q. Nicole, I assumed you watch last year’s national championship team from your couch, an you’re at the podium here in Oklahoma City. How does it feel to be part of a championship team?

NICOLE DEWITT: It’s a great feeling. I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet that I’m actually a national champion. But I know that it’s happened. I’m just so proud of my team and I’m just so happy to actually experience this with these girls and I just, I don’t know, I can’t believe that it’s happened. I’ve grown up looking forward to this moment and now it’s here.

Q. Coach, she’s not at the podium but expand on how big Katie (Kathlyn) Medina has been for this team?

COACH WALTON: Yeah, it’s funny when you go through yesterday, I brought some socks and some extra shoes because they always get wet in big moments. Today I was like forget this I’m not bringing anything extra. I had it in the back of my mind, I really was hoping that whoever selected the all tournament team would recognize one of our most valuable players on our team, not only defensively but what she brings leadership wise and personality wise. Katie (Kathlyn) Medina is — Lauren Haeger gets all the recognition, but Katie Medina is one of the best short stops in the country on one of the best teams in the country. She should be recognized in the all-tournament team in my mind.

Q. Taylor, I had a chance to visit with your mom and your sister yesterday. With your brother also being a star player for the baseball team, and I was just wondering if you could reflect on how valuable it’s been with him being there at school with you, especially as Coach mentioned your role, more of a role player this year, and just kind of how that’s been a special year. I know you’re going to be helping out ESPN in a couple of weeks in Omaha, is that correct?

TAYLOR SCHWARZ: Hopefully.

Q. Hopefully get to see him play there as well. Could you comment on your defensive ability how that developed over the years. You had some key defensive plays during this series?

TAYLOR SCHWARZ: I’ve grown up with my brother. I’ve grown up watching him and his work ethic and his love for the game. Definitely my dad is a huge part of that, because no matter what he was doing he took time to work with my brother and I. And just growing up with him and seeing his love for the game really inspired me. Like I said before, I mimicked his swing. That’s why I hit righty, because that’s what I was seeing when I was little. Having him come to the UF, that’s like having another support system for there. He would throw me batting practice if I wasn’t having a good weekend. He’s having an amazing year. He deserves it because he’s worked his butt off to get what he’s gotten so far, and I’m just so proud of him and I’m just lucky to be his sister.

Q. Your defense?

TAYLOR SCHWARZ: I don’t know. I’m a lefty. Coach Walton tried to put me in the outfield and it was absolutely awful and embarrassing. Really what other place can I play in infield besides first base. I tried to master it. I love it. That’s the thing I love, defense. I thrive off of it. That’s what makes it so great.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Michigan

An Interview with: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA ROMERO, HAYLIE WAGNER, MEGAN BETSA, TERA BLANCO

THE MODERATOR: Good evening. We have Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Haylie Wagner, student- athlete Megan Betsa and student-athlete Tera Blanco. Coach, we’ll start with general comments about the game.

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, congrats to Florida. They were the best team tonight. And they’ve been one often this season, but they showed up to come after us. And that first inning obviously broke our back. And we gave them a lot of free bases all night long. Too many. And you can’t do that to a team like Florida. They’re just too good. They have such great bat control. They can bunt it. They can poke it out of the infield. When it comes down to it you have to say Lauren Haeger, she was outstanding. Very deserving of the Most Outstanding Player. And I thought she was better than last night. I thought she was on fire and she definitely took care of business. She was great tonight. So very deserving champion. As I told my team I told them yesterday and I told them today, tonight doesn’t define our season. Obviously we would have liked to have walked out of here with the other trophy, but this has been a great team, fun to coach. They’ve been very committed to team, very committed to Michigan and to each other and I’m proud of them. I’m proud of my seniors really proud of Haylie Wagner. She had her best tournament the last tournament of the season. She was outstanding. Great season for Michigan.
Very proud of us.

Q. After seeing the effort all your student-athletes put in all season long, how would you define this team?

COACH HUTCHINS: They were a team. Outstanding team. They worked hard every day. They came in every day and did what we asked. They worked through adversity and avoided a lot of adversity because they always believed. They believed they were great and I don’t think you can believe you’re great unless you have trust. Trust in the program, trust in the coaches and trust in each other. Most importantly trust in themselves. They were a great group to coach. We had a lot of fun.

Q. I know it’s right after the game but can you talk about how tough this loss is to get to the third game to get so close but to fall a little bit short?

SIERRA ROMERO: It happens. I can’t really be all that mad. Haylie (Wagner) did amazing. I mean all the seniors did everything we asked them to do. I’m proud of this team. So I have nothing to be sad about.

HAYLIE WAGNER: Like Coach said, this loss doesn’t define our season. We played our hearts out. We played with the heart and soul like the last two weeks and Florida is a great team and they came out firing right back today. And congratulations to them. But this doesn’t define us — we’re a family and these people Team 38 will be forever my best friends and sisters.

MEGAN BETSA: Like they said, it’s tough to lose the last game, but I think the returners are going to come back and work really hard next year but all the thanks to the seniors because they did absolutely amazing and couldn’t ask for anything more.

SIERRA ROMERO: You always want to win your last game. This team meant so much to me. I felt like Team 38 has been so special and I feel Team 39 is going to be great. Our seniors were just amazing this year, and they helped us through everything basically.

Q. Haylie has already answered this question. But if the other three players could talk about what team means to you, what has the team meant to you? Express what this team meant to you. You mentioned it was special. What this team meant to you?

TERA BLANCO: They pick us up when we’re down, I mean through anything, not just softball. I mean not just softball. I love them. They’re my family, period.

SIERRA ROMERO: I’m proud of this team. They’ve taught me so much as a player. And we’ve stuck together through some hard times and we’ve pushed through it and no matter what we were a family. So I can’t be more proud of them.

MEGAN BETSA: Like they both said, I grew really close especially with the senior class between Sierra (Romero) and Haylie (Wagner) and Becca (Garfinkel) because we all shared time in the bullpen together. The thing we shared was we and we embraced and it’s going to be hard to watch them go, but we’ll come back next year strong.

Q. Carol, have you ever been part of a game where there was so many hit by pitching; and Haylie, did that get frustrating you were involved on it on both sides?

COACH HUTCHINS: I don’t know that I have. Not that I remember.

HAYLIE WAGNER: Hit by pitches, they happen. I was two of them today. They’re just part of the game, you kind of have to get over it.

Q. Coach, so many records were set this World Series in terms of attendance and views. What does it mean to you to know that so many people were behind this team not only in Ann Arbor but around the country as well?

COACH HUTCHINS: We wear Michigan on the front of our chest. We know that everybody in the Michigan Wolverine Nation were cheering for us. We have the largest alumni in country. I’ve heard from football people from 1950s and baseball people from the 1960s and I know how proud the Michigan fans are. And we’re really proud of our kids because I think they represented Michigan the way it’s supposed to be represented. And they’ve made Michigan proud.

Q. Haylie, in the first inning, when they were able to get to you, was that a different approach tonight or was that something that changed with you from yesterday?

HAYLIE WAGNER: They definitely came out attacking, and they just got a hold of the ball and I could have spun the ball a little bit more. But I had to go after them. And they were fighting right back and they were throwing the same punches as we were.

Q. Megan, you talked so much about how the seniors have helped you this year. Is there something specifically from Haylie that you learned that you would like to add to your game the next two years?

MEGAN BETSA: I think me and Haylie (Wagner) taught each other a lot. She taught me how to be strong, how to be a bulldog in the circle. And she was always there to tell me like what I was doing wrong. And something that she taught me was that I need to play every pitch of the game because I can help whoever is in the circle and I really took from that and I really tried to do my best to help her when she’s in the circle if I saw anything that I could help her with.

Q. Could the hitters talk about what Haeger did tonight. You didn’t get your first hit until the fifth inning. Hutch, if you could talk about stranding eight tonight and how much that hurt?

SIERRA ROMERO: She’s a great pitcher. And she came out ready to play. And I mean, she did awesome. So props to her and congratulations.

HAYLIE WAGNER: As being a pitcher I know exactly what she was doing. She was just coming out and attacking us. She has a lot of spin on the ball and she’s a really good pitcher and she deserves that MVP.

MEGAN BETSA: Like they said she did a great job tonight attacking the zone. Hit some balls hard. Didn’t get through, but we gave it our all.

COACH HUTCHINS: It’s the name of the game. We stranded eight runners. Had a couple innings we got it going. Couldn’t get the timely hit. C-Lo (Sierra Lawrence) it one hard to right, went right at them. Wherever we hit the ball, they caught it. And (Lauren) Haeger, give her credit. She got better when we got something going.

Q. Haylie, being a senior, is there one moment of the season where you’re the most proud of this team and what you take with you?

HAYLIE WAGNER: Most proud moment right now. I wanted to wear my jersey, Michigan across my chest to the very last possible game. And I got to do that. I couldn’t be more proud of the team and being part of such an amazing experience and opportunity. And this may be the last day I get to wear the jersey across my chest, but I’ll forever be a Michigan Wolverine.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

No. 1 seed Florida claimed the 2015 Women’s College World Series title after defeating No. 3 seed Michigan, 4-1, in the third game of the Championship Series. The Gators improved to 60-7 this season, while the Wolverines finished with a 60-8 mark.

The national title was the second for Florida in program history, with its first win coming in 2014. The Gators became the third team to win the title in back-to-back years, joining Arizona (2006, 2007 / 1996, 1997 / 1993, 1994) and UCLA (2003, 2004 / 1988, 1989, 1990 / 1984, 1985).

This is Florida’s 35th overall national title in school history (33 NCAA, two AIAW) and its second this season, joining women’s gymnastics. Florida has won at least two NCAA titles each of the last six seasons for a total of 13 in that span. Florida has won two of the six national titles claimed by the SEC in 2014-15 (Florida – softball, gymnastics; Arkansas – women’s indoor track & field; LSU – men’s golf; Vanderbilt – women’s tennis; South Carolina – equestrian).

Florida ranked No. 1 in the 2015 ESPN/USA Today preseason poll. The last preseason No. 1 team to win the NCAA title was Arizona in 2007.

In the 11 years of the Regional–Super Regional–WCWS format, Florida is the fifth No. 1 seed to win the title (Florida – 2015; Oklahoma – 2013; Arizona State – 2011; Arizona – 2007; Michigan – 2005).

All-time at the WCWS, Florida moved to 22-12 in its seventh appearance (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’14, ’15), while Michigan fell to 13-22 in its 11th WCWS appearance (1995, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’04, ’05, ’09, ’13, ’15).

The game marked the fifth meeting this season between Florida and Michigan, with the Gators taking four of the matchups (2-1 on Feb. 6, 7-4 on March 5, 3-2 on June 1) and the Wolverines taking game two of the championship series, 1-0.

Prior to tonight, since the Championship Series began in 2005, the winner of game 2 had always won the title. It was the fourth time the series has extended to three games, and Florida is the first to win the title by taking games 1 and 3.

Florida senior pitcher Lauren Haeger improved to 32-2 on the season with the win. Haeger surrendered one run on five hits, walked one and struck out five batters. She became the third player to be named both the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year and the WCWS Outstanding Player in the same season, joining Danielle Lawrie (Washington, 2009) and Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma, 2013). Haeger is the third Gator to be named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player, along with Micelle Moultrie (shared in 2011) and Hannah Rogers (2014).

The Gators put three runs on the board in the first inning. Haeger drove in a run with a single, and junior Taylor Schwarz added a two-RBI single to left field, giving them a 3-0 advantage. Prior to the inning, Michigan’s Haylie Wagner had not given up an earned run in 20 innings pitched at the WCWS.

Florida junior Kelsey Stewart stretched the Gator’s lead to 4-0 with an RBI double in the second inning.

Junior Sierra Romero put Michigan’s lone run on the board with an RBI single in the fifth inning.

Michigan senior pitcher Wagner fell to 25-3 this year with the loss. Wagner pitched two innings, giving up four runs on four hits. Sophomore Megan Betsa played four innings for the Wolverines, giving up a hit, walking three batters and striking out eight.

The attendance for the contest was 7,680 (session 10 record), bringing the cumulative total for the event to 78,078. This is the highest seven day total in WCWS history, surpassing the total attendance of 75,960 in 2012.

The 2015 WCWS All-Tournament Team included: Carlee Wallace and Branndi Melero (Auburn); Ally Carda (UCLA); Abby Ramirez, Wagner, Kelsey Susalla, Romero and Kelly Christner (Michigan); and Nicole Dewitt, Aubree Munro, Stewart and Haeger (Florida).

A total of nine batters were hit by pitches in the game, a WCWS record (previous seven, Alabama vs. Oklahoma in 2012). Florida’s six hit batters tied a WCWS record for a single team.

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2015 WCWS Championship Game 2 Quotes and Notes Michigan 1, Florida 0
 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-final-game-2 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-final-game-2#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:42:18 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38412 2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 2 “Quotes and Notes” Michigan 1, Florida 0
 Michigan An Interview With: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA ROMERO, ABBY RAMIREZ, HAYLIE WAGNER THE MODERATOR: At this time we’re joined by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Abby Ramirez and student-athlete Haylie Wagner. Coach, general comments about the game. […]

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2015WCWSQuotesFinalGame2

2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 2 “Quotes and Notes”
Michigan 1, Florida 0


Michigan

An Interview With: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA ROMERO, ABBY RAMIREZ, HAYLIE WAGNER

THE MODERATOR: At this time we’re joined by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Abby Ramirez and student-athlete Haylie Wagner. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH HUTCHINS: What a game. You know, what a game. We didn’t get very many runs. But you only have to get one more than the other team. I have to tell you, when it’s a 1-0 game against Florida, we played outstanding defense. I saw one of my coaching buddies, Sharon Drysdale, in the ’70s and ’80s. I said this is old school softball — not a lot of runs scored. But it was a lot of defense. Defense starts on the mound. Haylie Wagner was just one-pitch focused, one-pitch focus, and I could not be prouder of her effort. My whole team’s effort. We rebounded from last night. They got it together, our leadership got them together, and they came out here and they just played Michigan softball. Had great enthusiasm and they had great heart.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Sierra, can you just talk about coming into this game, you and the rest of the leaders, what were you trying to get across to the team trying to forget last night and just get ready for tonight?

SIERRA ROMERO: Once that game was over we completely forgot about it. We put it past us. And we knew that they had to beat us one more time. We were just going to make sure we came out playing Michigan softball, and do that from the get-go.

Q. Haylie, how tough was it to keep this Gator lineup to zero runs?

HAYLIE WAGNER: They’re a tough lineup. They came out swinging, I knew it was going to be tough. But I just went out there attacked them, and I wasn’t going to let them beat me.

Q. Haylie, after yesterday, there was a lot of emphasize on energy. How did you maintain that energy with only one run cushion?

HAYLIE WAGNER: How could I not have energy being here? I’m in OKC and I get to play for Michigan one more time. That’s what has my energy, and I get to be here with my team.

Q. Carol, you talked about defense. Can you talk about Abby (Ramirez)’s contribution tonight, double play, and she also stopped that ball from going out of the infield that could have scored (Lauren) Haeger?

COACH HUTCHINS: We’ve been talking about Abby’s defense all year. She’s done an outstanding job at shortstop all year long. She’s just made the plays for us. Haylie (Wagner) is a contact pitcher. So you’ve got have a good middle infield behind her, and she certainly has a great one.

Q. Coach, you have one game left to define this season. Is there an advantage to you that you’ve been stressing that type of mentality, taking it one pitch and one game at a time all year?

COACH HUTCHINS: I can guarantee you that one game is not going to define our season. We’ve been defining it all year. And you ask me what I want this team to be remembered, I want to be remembered as a great Michigan team that played for Michigan and played for each other. This team’s doing that, and it’s all I can ask. Everything else will take care of itself.

Q. Haylie, for you, how much of a relief was it to get Haeger to pop out late in the game, knowing you hopefully and likely weren’t going to have to face her again?

HAYLIE WAGNER: I mean, I just went after her. I attacked her, and I was going to find a way to get her out. And I was going to jam her up, I was going to throw my change-up, I was going to go outside. I was going to whatever I can, and when I got her I was pumped and I was excited. That wasn’t going to stop me for the rest of the game.

Q. How evenly matched are these two teams?

COACH HUTCHINS: It’s the World Series, everybody’s evenly matched. Some teams might be better at one thing, some teams might be better at another thing. But I think we’re both very good teams, and we both have good offense. We both have good pitching. We both have good defense. And, honestly, the game will be what the game will be. If we can stay one-pitch focused we have a chance.

Q. Abby and Sierra, you played behind Haylie and you know better than anybody what she gives the team. If you could both talk about what she gives your team when she’s in the circle.

SIERRA ROMERO: Well, one thing is confidence. When she stepped up on that mound today there was no doubt in my mind she was there to get the job done. And playing behind someone who is up there, you know, ready to attack, attack every batter is awesome. Just knowing that they’re not going to give up, that helps your defense so much, because they have confidence in you and we just assure her every inning that we have her back.

ABBY RAMIREZ: I definitely say determination, because she went out there tonight and she attacked them and she wasn’t going to let anything get in her way and that just makes everyone else feel so much more comfortable and have so much trust in her. When we trust in her, it’s so much easier for us to do our part to help her out.

Q. Haylie, talk about having them behind you and also what you thought you did particularly well tonight?

HAYLIE WAGNER: I mean having my entire defense behind me. I trust and believe in them no matter what. I’m a contact pitcher, and that’s true. And I know that if I just make them put it in play that my defense is going to have my back the entire time. Today I went after them. I wasn’t going to let them get in my way, and I was making the ball spin and doing what I can.

Q. Your voice is a little hoarse. The play with Sierra was, what did you make of that play at third?

COACH HUTCHINS: She’s being aggressive and she’s been aggressive all year for us. So when you’re aggressive like that sometimes you’re going to be out. I certainly didn’t want to be out at third base on that play. It’s just the way it happened and sometimes you live and die by your philosophy.

Q. Did you think it was obstruction?

COACH HUTCHINS: I’m not the umpire.

Q. You have success with Haylie. Should we expect to see her on the mound tomorrow night?

COACH HUTCHINS: I think we will definitely do everything we can to win tomorrow night.

Q. It’s a winner-take-all game tomorrow. What’s going to be the mood and attitude of the team heading into tomorrow’s game?

HAYLIE WAGNER: I mean, this is the last game. This is what we’ve been working for all year. And if we were excited today, we’re going to be even more excited tomorrow and we’re just going to come out play Michigan softball and we’re going to have fun and attack and do what we do.

ABBY RAMIREZ: Like Haylie (Wagner) said, we’re going to attack, we’re going to go out there and not make it bigger than any other game, but also we’re just going to play with a lot of heart and never give up.

SIERRA ROMERO: Like what they said just it’s another game. If we go out there and play Michigan softball we’ll be just fine.

Q. Sierra, you mentioned that last night you forgot about last night’s game. How tough is it the way it ended with you on third base, a chance to score, you didn’t go. Was it hard to get to sleep? Did you beat yourself up or how do you get rid of that so quickly?

SIERRA ROMERO: We weren’t out of it. You know, everyone can have their opinion whether I should have gone or not, but I was the only one in that game at that moment. I made a decision I made. I don’t think it affected us. We won today, right?

Q. Haylie, you call your own game and now because you can do that, how does that affect momentum in terms of the flow you can get going on? Do you start going faster because of that, do you know?

HAYLIE WAGNER: I don’t think I go any faster. It gives me time to not get distracted by the fans or anything else. I have to think about what pitch I want to throw next. And sometimes Jen Brundage, she gives Lauren (Sweet) a sign what she thinks I should throw, and I decide if I want to throw it or not. I just go out there and keep my rhythm and go after them.

Q. How long have you been doing that?

COACH HUTCHINS: Since the Minnesota series.

Q. Players, what was different in your guys’ approach and mentality for today’s game versus how before you were feeling before yesterday’s Game 1?

SIERRA ROMERO: It started with C-Lo (Sierra Lawrence). The second she got in the box, she came out swinging and that’s what we needed. We needed to attack from the get-go, and that’s what we did. And even if it didn’t go our way we were just going to keep taking our hacks, because once we stop swinging we can’t do anything.

ABBY RAMIREZ: I think we always prepare the same. We never prepare any differently. But I think today we just had a lot more energy from the get-go, and we didn’t wait and we didn’t hold back at all. So I think we just like put it all out there from the beginning.

HAYLIE WAGNER: I think they said it all. It starts with the first pitch, and we go out there and we attack and our energy was up, and C-Lo (Sierra Lawrence) got us going with the bats, and she’s the spark of our team. She’s up there and ready to go, and it just carries on with our team.

Q. Sierra, for those of us that haven’t seen you play live until you got here tell us the story behind your eye black. It’s fairly pronounced?

SIERRA ROMERO: I don’t even know. I think it looks cool. I don’t know. I am very superstitious. You can ask Megan (Betsa) about this. Whatever type eye black she does, whether it’s two stripes or three stripes or none, I do whatever she does. It’s just how I am and what I’ll continue to do.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Florida

An Interview With: COACH TIM WALTON, TAYLORE FULLER, LAUREN HAEGER

THE MODERATOR: At this time we have Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Taylore Fuller and student-athlete Lauren Haeger. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH WALTON: First of all, congratulations to Michigan. I thought they played a really good defensive game. Haylie Wagner pitched a really good one. And I thought their intensity right from pitch one was good, just a good softball game. Obviously we came up on the short end of the stick with the runs but good softball play, some good defense all the way around. I know Michigan wants more hits. And four was enough to win for them. But overall it’s a game of find a way to get runners in scoring position. We weren’t able to do that.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Taylore, when you hit that line drive, did you think you had gotten enough of it to get it over her head?

TAYLORE FULLER: I mean, Jess did a good job reading it. You can never know what’s going through a runner’s mind. My job was to hit the ball. Her job was to run. Obviously I can’t say she did the wrong thing because that’s my teammate. I’m not going to throw her under the bus. I thought she did it correctly. I did my job. She did hers. We just couldn’t get it all the way through.

Q. Lauren, how frustrating was it to keep shutting them down, not being able to get runs? It’s been a long time since you guys felt this feeling of losing a game in the postseason.

LAUREN HAEGER: I mean, I didn’t have my best either. She’s a good pitcher. Credit to her. She did a great job. I was trying to go out there, throw up zeros, give my team a chance to win. That’s what my play has been this whole entire season, is just give my team a chance to win. I thought I did a good job. I thought my hitters did a decent job too of getting on base.

Q. Tim, what did you see from Haylie that was causing so much problems with the offense?

COACH WALTON: I think, you know, I think the same old same old, our swings might be a little bit long especially this time of year. Didn’t look — we didn’t have as much velocity in their movement. Getting on our hands. And getting on that many hands tells you a lot about the pitcher. If it was just one batter over and over again, I could say, well, that one batter wasn’t seeing the ball very well. But I thought overall she was doing a good job, threw enough change-ups. Threw a couple of rise balls just to keep us honest. But overall I just thought — I think the best description of it she throws a really heavy ball. It’s hard to leverage and we weren’t able to get any leverage.

Q. Players, how evenly matched are these two teams?

LAUREN HAEGER: Great. They have a great pitching staff. They have really great hitters. I think that today was just a pitcher’s duel. And I mean credit to her, she did a really good job on both sides. Honestly, we had runners in scoring position. They did, too. They just got the hit when they needed it.

TAYLORE FULLER: I mean, we’re both in the national championship for a reason. These are the two best teams in the country. We’re going to go out and compete with each other. They just came out on top today.

Q. Coach, the home team has won both games so far. Is that something that you’re looking forward to having on your side going into the final game, and is that something you really put a whole lot of stock in?

COACH WALTON: Yeah, I think you can. If you can come out and shut them out in the first inning, I think you can gain that momentum of the game knowing you have the last at-bat to play with, I guess you can say. It changes your perspective a little bit. I don’t know Coach Hutch’s philosophy, but I know for me, I don’t like to bunt to tie a whole, whole lot. I think that does help you being the home team where you can bunt to tie as the home team but maybe not as much as visitors.

Q. Tim, you talk a lot about how when you fall behind it changes your swings. Did you see that today or was it just a matter of not being able to get a ball to drop or get the big hit?

COACH WALTON: Yeah, I think a little bit. If we hadn’t gone three and a third innings yesterday and the same result, I would say the score dictated that. But the swings looked pretty similar yesterday with a 3-0 lead as opposed to today being down 0-1. I think it’s her. We struggled with her twice this season. We were able to generate enough offense in Game 1 when we beat them 2-1, and Game 2 we got some hit-by-pitches and some walks and followed by a couple of clutch hits. Today we had six hits and zero clutch hits.

Q. Coach, Bailey Castro has been in a slump. What have you been telling her to keep her motivated when she gets up to the plate?

COACH WALTON: Yeah, it’s hard. I think my heart feels for her the most. She’s playing injured right now and trying to do her best. And it’s very obvious. I was ready to pinch-hit for her in the seventh inning. And I just went with on-base percentage, to be honest with you. She has the highest on-base percentage on the team. I didn’t want to pinch-hit for her with somebody that — I was just hoping she could find a way to get on base, no matter what it took. I know she’s probably 0 for her last 21 or so. And at the end of the day she’s still got a good on-base percentage, 0 for 21. We’re just trying to play percentages.

Q. Can you talk about the position that you’re in in terms of your pitchers? She didn’t throw very many pitches today. You have a couple of pitchers that proved themselves yesterday. What position are you in heading into tomorrow in that way?

COACH WALTON: I think both clubs are in a good position. They can go back at us with (Haylie) Wagner tomorrow, feeling good, and living off the momentum. Or they’ll go back to (Megan) Betsa, who has had a good season as well. I think we’re both in good position. I guarantee you, however many pitchers they have on their team, however many pitchers we have on our team, tomorrow you’re going to see them all no matter what it takes to find a way to get a W.

Q. Lauren and Taylore, you’re going to wake up tomorrow, one game, season’s over. How are you going to look at the day, how do you see tomorrow kind of unfolding before you even get to the ballpark?

LAUREN HAEGER: I think it’s going to be a little different for me. Try to be, do what I do every day, but be a little more competitive. I obviously want to win my last game in a Gator uniform, that means a lot to me. I just want to leave it all out there on the field and not play scared.

TAYLORE FULLER: I mean you’ll definitely see different energy. It’s more than just the last softball game for us. It’s putting the seniors out in the right way. We want to get that win for them. We want to get that win for each other. Because you all don’t see how hard we really work. Our coaches see that. Sometimes they don’t even see because we work on our own. So we really want to send them out the right way and there will definitely be a different energy.

Q. Lauren, you pitched and started the game last year that clinched the national championship.
What do you take from that experience and how might you be able to use that to your advantage?

LAUREN HAEGER: I think just being there. Today I felt calm and cool. I felt really good out there. I’m just relaxed. It’s a different feeling than I had last year, anyway. Last year I was a little nervous, that big stage for the first time. But I felt cool. I felt calm. I’m just going to come out there and be the competitor that everyone knows that I am.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

No. 3 seed Michigan defeated No. 1 seed Florida by a score of 1-0 in the second game of the Championship Series of the 2015 Women’s College World Series to force a decisive game three. The Wolverines improved to 60-7 overall, while the Gators fell to 59-7.
Both programs are in search of their second NCAA Championship title (Florida won in 2014, Michigan in 2005).

All-time at the WCWS, Michigan is now 13-21 in its 11th WCWS appearance (1995, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’04, ’05, ’09, ’13, ’15), while Florida fell to 21-12 in its seventh appearance (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’14, ’15).

The game marked the first time in four tries this season that Michigan defeated Florida. Florida won the first three matchups by scores of 2-1 (Feb. 6), 7-4 (March 5) and 3-2 in the first game of the championship series.

The 1-0 win was the first such victory in the Championship Series since 2007, when Arizona beat Tennessee by the score in 10 innings.

Total game time was 1:33, the shortest since 2002 when Arizona State beat Michigan by a score of 2-1 in the same amount of time.

Since the Championship Series began in 2005, the winner of game 2 has always won the series. Three times previously the loser of game 1 has gone on to win the title (Michigan in 2005, Arizona in 2007, Alabama in 2012).

The only run of the contest came in the first inning on an RBI single from Michigan junior Kelsey Susalla.

Michigan senior pitcher Haylie Wagner earned the win, moving to 25-2 on the season with the complete-game shutout. She gave up six hits, walked no batters and struck out five.

Florida senior pitcher Lauren Haeger fell to 31-2 on the year. In six innings of work, she surrendered one run on four hits and one walk and tallied one strikeout. At the plate, Haeger went 2 for 3.

Game 3 of the WCWS Championship Series will be played at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday to determine the 2015 national champion.
Attendance for the game was 8,254, bringing the cumulative total for the event to 70,398, the third highest total all-time.

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2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 1 Quotes and Notes Florida 3, Michigan 2 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-final-game-1 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-final-game-1#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:05:01 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38410 2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 1 “Quotes and Notes” Florida 3, Michigan 2 Florida An Interview with: COACH TIM WALTON, LAUREN HAEGER, ALESHIA OCASIO, DELANIE GOURLEY THE MODERATOR: At this time we have Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Lauren Haeger, student-athlete Aleshia Ocasio and student-athlete Delanie Gourley. At this time we’ll have general comments […]

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2015WCWSQuotesFinalGame1

2015 WCWS Championship Final Game 1
“Quotes and Notes”
Florida 3, Michigan 2

Florida

An Interview with: COACH TIM WALTON, LAUREN HAEGER, ALESHIA OCASIO, DELANIE GOURLEY

THE MODERATOR: At this time we have Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Lauren Haeger, student-athlete Aleshia Ocasio and student-athlete Delanie Gourley. At this time we’ll have general comments from Coach about the game.

COACH WALTON: Well, just what a great job by the pitchers on both sides. Both teams pitched very well. But you gotta give a lot of credit to the freshman and sophomore coming in on this big stage, coming out and pitch and hold a really good team, a really good offense of Michigan down. Just thought they pitched a good game. Offensively we didn’t get a whole lot going except for what Lauren was able to create. But I thought overall we did a good job scoring early, and I think that does change the way people can swing at the College World Series. So I think more than just anything just tip my cap to Lauren (Haeger), offensively, and Delanie (Gourley) and Aleshia (Ocasio). Aleshia pitched a wonderful game, really did a good job getting strikeouts when she needed to and some really good defense behind her.

Q. Tim, what gave you so much faith in a freshman and a sophomore who hadn’t pitched a whole lot over the past few weeks?

COACH WALTON: I think what we were able to do last year obviously helps me because of making the right decision, knowing what’s right for our program. Over the last two seasons we really just talked about trying to create a good pitching staff. And we’ve been able to get Aleshia (Ocasio) some quality innings in the SEC and have her matched up against some quality opponents preseason and even Delanie (Gourley). That was the key. Lauren (Haeger) could have pitched tonight but we thought to ourselves if she doesn’t pitch well then what? At least, win or lose, we still have Lauren Haeger to go to over the next couple of days if we need to. So I think that was the big key, just not overextending. She didn’t throw 168 pitches in her career in a game. So no reason to extend her on short rest, give her the day off. She didn’t throw. She didn’t long catch. Just played catch and we’ll see how good she is tomorrow if we decide to throw her.

Q. Delanie, can you talk about the situation you hadn’t pitched since Tennessee in the SEC tournament, and to be out there, all of a sudden it’s first and third, game on the line, what was going through your mind?

DELANIE GOURLEY: I mean, it was a big-time pressure situation, but they prepared us every game and every game they tell us we’re going to need our whole pitching staff. And all week Lili (Aleshia Ocasio) and I have been behind Lauren (Haeger)’s back and we’ve been ready at any moment. And at that time I was ready to execute and make my pitches.

Q. Delanie, how does it feel to come into the game in the biggest stage of college softball and get a save in front of your mom?

DELANIE GOURLEY: It’s awesome. I love that she was here to watch, as well as my brother and my dad. It’s just so much adrenaline. And I’ve earned this role. For most of the season as a reliever and as a closer, and I just did it again.

Q. Coach, you said you would need your entire pitching staff your entire pitching staff is with you at the podium. How does it feel to use all of them in one game especially against Michigan?

COACH WALTON: We’ve built our team on pitching and defense. I’ve heard other quotes and comments about what it takes. And I think you gotta kind of pitch and do what you do with your team. And we have a lot of faith in our defense. Katie (Kathlyn) Medina is not up here right now, but what a phenomenal play that she made up the middle to save the game for us. So I have a lot of confidence in our pitching and defense. They worked their butts off. They throw six days a week and really work on what they need to do and master their craft. And they really showed a nice, wonderful kind of assortment of pitches tonight. I’m really proud of the way the two pitched.

Q. Lauren, could you talk about what these two young pitchers did tonight? And second of all, what it does for you in this situation that it changes for you going forward?

LAUREN HAEGER: First of all, I’m so proud of them. They worked so hard, just like I do. And they deserve what they did tonight. Aleshia (Ocasio) is amazing and Delanie (Gourley) is amazing, and I’ve said the whole time that I am going to need them to have my back throughout this whole entire tournament. And they’re just so great, and I couldn’t be any more proud of them. So happy for them. It’s such a good win for them tonight.

Q. Aleshia you said they tell you every game we’ll need all of you, and everybody needs to be ready but they haven’t needed you here yet. What are some of the things you keep yourself mentally ready to go in the game throughout this last week?

ALESHIA OCASIO: When I’m throwing my bullpens, going out there with a stand-in. So they’re coming in there and helping me prepare for batters that are coming up in the lineup. Basically everyone contributes to me being mentally prepared. Me and (Jennifer) Rocha talk about it. Me, Lauren (Haeger) and Delanie (Gourley) talk about it. And that’s basically what prepares me.

Q. Lauren, on your home run, I think it was a 12- pitch at bat there. Does that get frustrating when you’re up there that long and you’re still waiting for that right pitch? And how do you stay focused, even if you’re getting frustrated?

LAUREN HAEGER: As a batter, no, as a batter, no. As a pitcher, yes. But as a batter, not at all. I just go up there, try to foul off as many pitches as I can. I’ll take my walks if I need to. I was seeing the ball really well and I was on time. I was really looking for a pitch to hit and fouling off what I didn’t like.

Q. Lauren, could you explain how you and some of your teammates were able to get so much success against (Megan) Betsa but not so much against (Haylie) Wagner?

LAUREN HAEGER: I think we were just swinging against good pitches. We had a good plan. We watched video and we prepared as well as we needed to do.

Q. Delanie, you hadn’t pitched in this NCAA Tournament but you did pitch last year, including Game 2 against Alabama. How much do you think that experience helped you tonight, and maybe remind us about how that outing went for you? I know it was like two shutout innings, but I don’t know if you had to work out of any jams. And quick follow up for Lauren, all your RBIs were two outs, what your two-out approach is when batting?

DELANIE GOURLEY: I think having the experience from last year it really carried over to this year. There’s a ton of people watching, and it just made it that much easier to know that I’ve been there before, and I could help my team in any way I could.

LAUREN HAEGER: I think in the first inning there was one out. But I was just trying to get Stew (Kelsey Stewart) in however I could — deep fly ball, any way, that’s just my plan, get it out of the infield. But the other two-out hit, I was looking for a pitch again. I was seeing the ball really well. I was ready to hit whatever.

Q. Following up on the question about (Megan) Betsa. She struggled this World Series. Was there something — did you think she could be rattled? And also could you expand a little bit on what (Haylie) Wagner did today and I know you said you watched film, maybe what you’ve seen from her this World Series?

LAUREN HAEGER: Again, we just had a good plan. She’s a great pitcher. Both of them are. They’ve gotten themselves to this stage. So there’s something to say for that. But, again, we just do our research and we have a great plan for these pitchers. And that’s really all I can say is we have a good plan, but they both are really good and they both have their stuff.

COACH WALTON: We struggled with (Megan) Betsa this year, both times we faced her. I think we won the first one 2-1, and the second one I think we scored a little bit later in the game. But we’ve struggled with (Haylie) Wagner, did I say Betsa — Wagner. We only faced Betsa for a couple of innings the third time through. So Haylie’s got good spin, she locates well, she’s a senior. She knows what she’s doing. Her motion is very, it’s a lot of motion, and the ball gets on you quick. And I think that’s — I always look at her stats see that her strikeouts aren’t super, super high, but she gets a lot of jam-shot ground balls, a lot of early outs in their at-bats. I think all that has to do with deception and the spin and the rotation of the ball.

Q. Coach, while you tend to develop a deep bullpen that you can go to throughout, we see most of the teams who reach here just rely on one pitcher, maybe two. How tough is it to develop that type of a bullpen where you can have three or four pitchers coming in anytime you need it?

COACH WALTON: It’s not easy. You’ve got to deal with the personalities a little bit because each one of these three up here could be a No. 1 pitcher at a lot of places. And each one of these pitchers have been a No. 1 pitcher probably even through this season, to be honest with you. I think we work really hard on the character and team-building side of our program. And I think each one of them, I mean I’ve recruited all three of them. Lauren (Haeger) was coming to a program that really didn’t have a whole lot of history. Where Delanie (Gourley) was coming to a program that had history, but wanted to make history. And Aleshia (Ocasio) came to a program because she also wanted to be a part of the College World Series and get on this stage. So they all understood what they were doing when they came here. I think each one of them is going to leave their mark in a different way when they leave here. But I think the big thing is they wanted to share in success of a program and a coaching staff they really felt comfortable with. But it’s a non-stop, 24- hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job for us to try to keep each one of them happy. And that’s what we try to do as coaches. Try to keep them happy. With Lauren, she’s a hitter. So early in the season I didn’t pitch her as much because I could get more players to play when she went through middles of the week and stuff. So it’s been a struggle for me, because they’re all really good. But I think we’ve developed a personal relationship with each one of them and they trust us.

Q. Lauren, sorry for pushing here a little bit but would you talk a little bit more about what that plan was at the plate again today?

COACH WALTON: No.

Q. Aleshia, I want to ask you, how did Lauren (Haeger)’s home run settle you down confidence- wise early in the game?

ALESHIA OCASIO: It definitely did settle me down, I can say that much. But just coming in and pitching and just trying to — hold runs down to minimum. It was just calming to know that we had runs on the board. So it was just easier and calmed me down as well in the circle.

Q. Delanie what was the moment like with your mother on the cancer walk?

DELANIE GOURLEY: It’s so special. I don’t even know how to explain it, really, when you experience that. But to know that other girls on my team have also experienced it, Bailey (Castro)’s mother was out there, Kayli (Kvistad)’s mother was out there. Katie (Kathlyn) Medina’s mom didn’t go down there, but she’s gone through it too. But it makes our team bond so much stronger and we really are family and we love each other, and we love our moms too.

Q. Lauren, before the game you were talking to Aleshia outside of the dugout. What did you say to her before she went out there for the first time?

LAUREN HAEGER: Just try to pump her up and tell her how good she is. Aleshia (Ocasio)’s so good. She has some dirty stuff. And I envy her for that because I don’t have that. And I was just trying to pump her up, get her confident, tell her that she is good enough and that we are going to need her to go out there and shut them down like she did.

Q. I believe you’ve played on this field before and won a gold national championship; is that right?

ALESHIA OCASIO: Yes.

Q. What comfort level did that give you that you’ve already had success here even though it’s a bigger stage here tonight, that you’ve been here and been successful, how did that help you tonight?

ALESHIA OCASIO: Definitely familiar with the field but coming on the field again for the national championship and the World Series, it’s a different environment. So I was relying on my team and the experience that they have to really guide me through the series.

Q. Coach, you talked in the preseason Aleshia still being part thrower part pitcher. How did she get here?

COACH WALTON: A lot of work. We always joke that she’s got more tools in her toolbox probably than anybody on our team. She’s super athletic. She can jump really high. Pound for pound, she can probably — she’s got a great athletic body. She does so many things well. She can run. She can hit. She can play shortstop. She can pitch. I just felt like before she was just trying to throw. Now she’s learned how to control her speeds a little bit more and pitch a little bit better. I didn’t mention that she can also dance. And she can sing and do all kinds of other stuff. So she’s just fun. And I think “raw” was probably the word I saw out of her the most when I first saw her, she’s just raw. She has so much upside. When she gets her rise ball mastered and when she gets the drop ball mastered, it’s going to be really tough to hit her down the road because that rise ball is really, really good, and it’s at different speeds. When we get her to throw it harder and when you get it to throw it slower, she’s going to be tough to beat down the road when she kind of masters her command a little bit.

Q. Tim, when you’re watching (Sierra) Romero on those, she had two chances to potentially go home, what was going through your mind, you’ve been obviously in that situation the indecision there?

COACH WALTON: You know, I don’t know what the first indecision was. Maybe fly the ball. The ball was hit so hard that by the time she fielded it, it looked as though she was going back because of the way the ball was hit. After Katie (Kathlyn Medina) touched the bag and spun, I thought she was going again. But it looked as though Katie was coming towards 4. So I think she then saw that. That’s what I saw from where I was at in the dugout. What her coach talked to her about, what she was looking for how they were looking to advance, obviously I don’t have that for you.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Michigan

An Interview With: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA ROMERO, HAYLIE WAGNER, ABBY RAMIREZ

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Haylie Wagner and student-athlete Abby Ramirez. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH HUTCHINS: Great game by Florida. You know, Aleshia Ocasio I thought was brilliant tonight. I think Lauren Haeger speaks for herself. And honestly I felt that we didn’t really come out to play to win until about the fifth inning. Our energy, we seemed a little tentative. Things didn’t really go our way. And we just had to keep plugging away and get back to having our good energy that we’re so known for. And I thought we got a lot better as the game went on. And I told our kids, you have to win two games in this tournament, this part of the tournament. Doesn’t matter which two games. But just need to continue and build on what the last few innings, good Michigan softball. And we have to believe. And I thought we had a little bit of doubt maybe, maybe a little jitters but I think we’re better than that. And I told our kids, we’ve got to plug away, move forward, put it behind us and we’ll be better tomorrow night.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Hutch, could you take us through the two decisions at the end when Sierra (Romero) was on third about whether to send her or whether she was going to go?

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, that play was — it was a rocket. And you know, it was going up the middle. And when Sierra saw that she (Kathlyn Medina) was trying to turn the double play but she hesitated obviously for a second because she doesn’t want to make the out at the plate. When you hesitate you can’t go. It was the right decision, because it was a quick play, bang-bang, they made a great play. Give their defense all the credit in the world. Their defense is fantastic. But when I saw them turn the double play I was yelling “go” but it was too late. She had to hesitate. And she made that decision. And that’s the way it is.

Q. Abby, if you could talk to us about what was it that Sierra Lawrence told you when she had her arm around you before you went up to hit, and talk about your strategy there and coming up with that big hit?

ABBY RAMIREZ: She just gave me a little pep talk. We were putting our pinch runner in so there was some time. And she just calmed me down and said, see the ball, do what you do, you just need one base. So all I wanted to do was get it out of the infield.

Q. You were obviously cognizant of the fact that they shifted over there, that’s where you were trying to hit the ball, right where you hit it?

ABBY RAMIREZ: Yeah, just taking it where it came. And it was on the outside corner, but I was able to push it up the middle. And like I said, I was just trying to get a base and trying to get it out of the infield and give us a chance to score.

Q. (Lauren) Haeger started Florida’s last seven games before tonight. Did you guys expect her to start tonight?

COACH HUTCHINS: We did. We prepared for her. In the back of my mind I knew it was possible they wouldn’t start her. But I don’t coach their team. So we just had to prepare and ultimately regardless of who is pitching we just need to have good at-bats and see the ball. I thought we gave away a lot of at-bats. We swung at a lot of their pitches. Changeups in the dirt. And we needed somebody to step up and start having good at-bats, which we did later in the game. But at some point obviously I’m sure we’ll see Haeger.

Q. Obviously you see Florida again tomorrow. But you’ve been around the game a long time. How does Haeger stack up against other softball players in history?

COACH HUTCHINS: Obviously she’s a great player. I mean, what can you say about her? She’s a great player on a great team. And that’s all I can say about it. Huge amount of respect for her.

Q. Haylie, the last time the team lost you came back to beat Minnesota twice in a row. Could you speak towards the team’s resiliency, whether you’ll do that here?

HAYLIE WAGNER: We have a ton of fight. And I think we’re going to be able to come out tomorrow and just come out and play with the heart and soul we’ve been talking about the past few days, the past few weeks. We just have to come out and play Michigan softball. We didn’t do that at the beginning of the game. And we’re a very resilient team and we’re very relentless and we’ll just go after them.

Q. Carol, Megan (Betsa) for the third straight game had some trouble at the beginning. Is she having confidence problems, and if so are you going to consider making a change tomorrow at the beginning of the game?

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, she appears to have some confidence problems, I would say. And we need our best confidence on the mound, I can tell you that. It’s a long tournament, hopefully. We’re here to get her confidence back. There’s no reason not to have confidence at this point in the season. But it’s been a tough week so far.

Q. Sierra, Hutch was talking about the energy in the last two innings. Was that the result of the confidence from seeing the pitcher more often or was something going on in the dugout where somebody got everybody pumped up?

SIERRA ROMERO: I think in the beginning of the game things weren’t going our way. That happens sometimes. Once our balls started to fall, we were getting more excited. But we need that energy throughout the whole game, no matter how we’re doing.

Q. Confidence is something that this team has talked a lot about as being critical to your guys’ success. After tonight that does that shake that confidence at all or how are you going into tomorrow making sure you have the confidence that you’re used to playing with?

SIERRA ROMERO: That doesn’t affect us at all. They still have to beat us twice. So the second time is going to be even harder. We’ll come out there ready to fight. And we’re not going to give it to them easy.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the first game of the best-of-three Championship Series of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 1 seed Florida defeated No. 3 seed Michigan, 3-2. The Gators improved to 59-6 overall this year, while the Wolverines fell to 59-7 with a loss that ended their 28-game winning streak.

Both programs are in search of their second NCAA Championship title (Florida in 2014, Michigan in 2005), and Florida is now one win away from accomplishing the feat in back-to-back seasons.

All-time at the WCWS, Florida is 21-11 in its seventh appearance (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’14, ’15). Michigan fell to 12-21 in its 11th WCWS appearance (1995, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’04, ’05, ’09, ’13, ’15).

The game marked the third time this season that the two teams have faced each other, with Florida now winning all three matchups (by a score of 2-1 in the opening game of the season and 7-4 on March 5).

Senior Lauren Haeger recorded all three of Florida’s RBIs. She put the Gators on the board with a two-run home run to left field in the first inning, her third of the WCWS and 19th of the season. The 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year added an RBI double in the third inning.

Florida freshman Aleshia Ocasio moved to 18-3 this season with the win. She gave up two runs on five hits, walked four batters and struck out three in six innings of work. Ocasio became the first player in the Super Regionals era to start Game 1 of the Championship Series without pitching previously in the Super Regional or World Series, according to ESPN’s Graham Hays. Ocasio also pitched in Florida’s two wins against Michigan earlier this season. Sophomore Delanie Gourley earned her fifth save of the season, pitching the seventh inning.

Michigan’s runs came via a two-run single from sophomore Abby Ramirez in the top of the sixth inning.

Sophomore Morgan Betsa took the loss for the Wolverines, falling to 31-5 on the season. She surrendered three runs on four hits in 2.2 innings of work. She tallied three strikeouts and walked two batters. Senior Haylie Wagner spent 3.1 innings in the circle for Michigan, giving up no runs on no hits and striking out one.

Game 2 of the WCWS Championship Series will be played at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday. The if-necessary third game will be held at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday.

The attendance for the contest was 8,329. The crowd was the third-most all-time for a Game 1 or championship game (prior to the three-game format) and largest for one not involving the University of Oklahoma (two largest in 2012, 2013).

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2015 WCWS Game 12 Quotes and Notes Michigan 6, LSU 3 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-12 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-12#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 02:48:44 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38407 2015 WCWS Game 12 “Quotes and Notes” Michigan 6, LSU 3 Michigan An Interview With: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA LAWRENCE, SIERRA ROMERO, LINDSAY MONTEMARANO, HAYLIE WAGNER THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, student-athlete Sierra Lawrence, student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Lindsay Montemarano and student-athlete Haylie Wagner. COACH HUTCHINS: You have to congratulate […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame12

2015 WCWS Game 12 “Quotes and Notes”
Michigan 6, LSU 3

Michigan

An Interview With: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA LAWRENCE, SIERRA ROMERO, LINDSAY MONTEMARANO, HAYLIE WAGNER

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, student-athlete Sierra Lawrence, student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Lindsay Montemarano and student-athlete Haylie Wagner.

COACH HUTCHINS: You have to congratulate LSU on a great season. We watched them play all year. We watch a lot of softball and they’re such a great team. They’ve come so far under Beth Torina and her staff. We certainly want to congratulate them and their seniors. But I have to give credit, of course, to the kids sitting up here and the kids in the dugout. I told them before the game, it doesn’t matter who is talented and it doesn’t matter who is ranked. It only matters who has heart and who has soul. And we’ve had it all year, and we showed it again today. We just do what we do, whether we’re ahead or behind, we just keep playing in our moment. I thought we had an outstanding effort against a very tough team in a very tough tournament. So I could not be prouder to be their coach, and we’re going to play in the championship series. That’s an achievement, we’re very excited about it. But as I said, we came here to win it. And we’re coming here to win it. And we have a very, very tough opponent.

Q. Sierra, with so much on the line in that last at- bat, how were you able to stay composed and get the job done out there?

SIERRA LAWRENCE: Staying one-pitch focused and believing in myself, and knowing that if I didn’t get it done somebody behind me was going to get it done.

Q. Sierra, when you saw it go down the line and you knew that you were going to score at least one run, hopefully two, you’re running into first base, talk about the emotions you’re feeling at that time?

SIERRA LAWRENCE: I don’t know that I thought of that. I was just running and as soon as I got to second I wanted to look at my team and sprinkle the cheese.

Q. You hit well all year long, but lately you haven’t come up with big hits like you’ve been coming up with, talk about the importance of that hit today for you?

SIERRA LAWRENCE: I only had one at-bat in that game. That was my last at-bat. I don’t remember the other one.

Q. We saw the team standing in the circle after the win. What was said in that meeting?

COACH HUTCHINS: I just told them I’m proud of them. Their effort was what we’ve done all year and that’s all we need to do, that’s all we need to do tomorrow. We just need to do what we do, and that’s good enough.

Q. Haylie, Hutch was talking about the heart and soul. How do you think the heart and soul of yourself has benefited you in the circle and in the dugout this whole weekend and today?

HAYLIE WAGNER: My heart and soul is everybody’s heart and soul, so we play as a team, we win and lose as a team and we go out there and play every single pitch together. So my heart and soul comes from everybody else around me.

Q. Hutch, I asked you this question the other night with (Megan) Betsa, with the change to (Haylie) Wagner. What happened there and can you talk about the performance she’s had these last two games?

COACH HUTCHINS: I’ll tell you what, I think it speaks for itself. She’s come in and she’s energized us. She wants the ball. She’s attacking the hitters, and she’s giving us the confidence that we need on the mound. And that’s what the pitcher’s job is to do is to set the tone that we can win this game. And I’m going to do my part. She’s just been outstanding. Her leadership on the mound has been fantastic. And we have such a great 1-2 punch, and she’s just come in with that left jab. It’s been fantastic.

Q. Did you see anything consistent with (Megan) Betsa these last two games, in terms of why she’s struggled a little bit?

COACH HUTCHINS: Megan (Betsa) needs to not focus on the opponent. She needs to stay focused on us because we’re the only people on the field that matter. And she needs to throw pitches, and I think she might be a little bit focused on the opponents because we were facing some pretty darned good opponents. That’s what makes it sweeter, but Megan has done a great job staying in her moment.

Q. Carol, if you could share with us what before Haylie went out to throw the seventh inning what you told her and also characterize her style, her pitching style?

COACH HUTCHINS: I think I told her if you’re as excited to go out on that mound as you have been every inning that’d be good enough. That’s all we want. We want somebody that wants to go out there and have the seventh inning, not afraid of the what-ifs that could happen. She went out there and she was excited. She may have been a little over-amped for that first batter, I’m guessing. But her style? She’s Haylie Wagner. She’s been a work horse for us for four years. She’s had an opportunity to play in the World Series and I’d say she’s done pretty well so far.

Q. For all the players, just talk about first of all how excited you are to be playing for the championship tomorrow and then what do you expect to see from the defending champion for the Gators?

HAYLIE WAGNER: I mean, we’re as excited as we could be. But I think the toughest thing it’s going to be a really, really tough game. And we have to go out there and attack. Florida is a great hitting team, a great defensive team and they have everything for them. And we just have to come out and attack and play with our heart and soul because we’re just as good.

LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: I don’t know if it’s completely hit me yet. But we came here not to just compete. All year we had a goal. Our goal wasn’t just to make it to Oklahoma City, but it was to win the championship game. And Florida is a great team. We’ve played them this year and had great battles with them. We can’t focus on them. We have to focus on us and we’ll be okay if we focus on us.

SIERRA ROMERO: I don’t think it’s hit me yet. Florida is a great team and it’s going to a good game, and I’m looking forward to it.

SIERRA LAWRENCE: I’m just going to treat that game like I’ve treated the rest of the games this season. I’m pretty excited for it. And I expect for them to play a good game just like we’ll play a good game.

Q. This is the first time in a while you’ve struggled to put up a lot of runs early. Was there anything that Hoover was doing that was throwing you guys off at the plate?

SIERRA LAWRENCE: She’s a good pitcher.

SIERRA ROMERO: As she said, she was a good pitcher. I think we were trying to do too much. Like Hutch (Carol Hutchins) said, we were playing the opponent a little bit, and finally once we settled down and focused on ourselves we were able to play Michigan softball.

LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: Like they said she’s a really good pitcher and sometimes you get too over- amped and want to do too much, and once we think about getting one base, because it’s all about bases, we think about that, we normally can string together a few hits and get some runs.

HAYLIE WAGNER: I mean, they basically said it. But I think that LSU has a great pitching staff and they just came out attacking and that’s what they’re going to do. Everybody in the World Series, they’re good and they’re going to fight and attack and we have to go after them.

Q. Sierra, could you talk about the home run and the run you helped steal there in the sixth inning?

SIERRA ROMERO: Home run. I was just trying to get on base. I was trying to hit the ball hard. If I’m going to get out I want it to at least be a hard out. I saw the ball and I hit it and it just happened to go out. The run- down, I was ready to have some fun with C-Lo (Sierra Lawrence). I know how she runs, and I know how I run, so I knew that was going to be really interesting. It’s something we work on in practice, and it’s something that I trusted C-Lo with, and she did what she did and we got the run.

Q. Coach, after coming from behind twice to tie up LSU being deadlocked for a few innings how were you able to fight through that and come up with the runs in the sixth that have been hard for you to get all day long?

COACH HUTCHINS: We’re in the World Series. Runs are hard to get. We’re facing great pitching. They have the deepest staff. Florida has a pretty deep staff as well. And we were just fighting all game. The first time through when we see a pitcher that we haven’t seen, we haven’t seen LSU this year, you expect the pitcher to have an edge. Second time through, now our hitters have at least a little information to work with, and they’ve seen her and they’ve made her throw some pitches. So again we don’t care if we’re behind or we’re ahead, we just focus on what we’re doing at the moment. The game doesn’t know if we’re behind or ahead. The game just knows if you hit the ball hard.

Q. You guys have seen Florida before. Does that take away from the edge that their staff might have otherwise?

COACH HUTCHINS: At this time of the year, I don’t think so. I think they’re playing outstanding ball and honestly I watched them the first night we got here. I think they looked like the Yankees. (Laughter).

SIERRA LAWRENCE: Who do we look like?

COACH HUTCHINS: I’ll let you know later.

Q. Lindsay and Haylie, what do you take away from playing for Hutch, whether that’s on the softball field or off the softball field?

COACH HUTCHINS: They can’t say that in here.

LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: Well, do you want to hear my true feelings? No, I’m totally kidding. Totally kidding. Hutch (Carol Hutchins) is a great leader. She’s super inspirational and she knows how to push you to be your best. And even though sometimes it might be tough to hear, she knows what she’s doing. And having someone like her believe in you, it gives, at least me, it gives me a ton of confidence. And just having her there believing in all of us, believing in me, her wise words. She’s been there, she was a great athlete. Just putting your trust in her, it allows you to become great. It’s a privilege to play for her.

HAYLIE WAGNER: Extremely tough question because there’s so much to say about her. But I mean, just amazing. On the field or off the field, she’s always there for you. Such a great leader. She’s so smart. She’s been here so many times. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, that’s for sure, but in the end I know she wants me to be the better person on and off the field, and she keeps pushing me to my limits and I just keep going. And she’s the reason why I’ll leave Michigan a better person and player.

LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: I’ll be in your doghouse any day of the week, Hutch.

COACH HUTCHINS: That’s good, because you usually are. (Laughter).

Q. Coach, quick question about the format. One cool thing about the way it’s structured you play a regional, a Super Regional then you just kind of played a regional here but crossed over. Now you play a three-game series like you did in the super regionals. The NCAA likes that because it preps you. Back in the day you just had one championship game. If you could talk about ideally the best team is going to be the champion, win two out of three and what you think of the format?

COACH HUTCHINS: The format, we played in the first one ever. And I remember thinking that the rest of the country was finally catching up with some of the power softball areas and now we’re going to have to beat them more than once. And we did. So I thought it was pretty good. It’s a fantastic series. And you want the best team to win. And it’s not really if you’re the best team it’s if you play the best. And to play a team more than once I can tell you right now it makes it tougher than ever. It’s tough. Super Regionals have made this game so hard made it so hard to get to the College World Series because it’s tough to beat a team of this caliber. So many teams are so great. It’s tough to beat them twice and it makes it great. It’s great TV. It’s great softball. It’s made us all better. It’s made everybody better.

Q. Sierra, on the fielder’s choice in the seventh inning was she trying to trip you?

SIERRA ROMERO: That’s what it looked like. But I respect her for it. You’ve gotta do what you’ve got to do for your team. I probably would have done the same thing. It’s part of the game. In the heat of the moment. It happens.

Q. Hutch, I’m curious, a lot of coaches don’t let their players talk about the confidence level that this group has talked about and the desire to win a national championship and how they feel like it’s a legitimate chance. Why is this team so confident? Why are you feeling like it’s okay to talk about it and the swagger that they have and this confidence level is something different you hear from them?

COACH HUTCHINS: I think I really believe that if you set a goal you have to own it. If you can’t say it out loud you don’t own it. It’s not whether or not we win the championship, it’s whether or not we go for it.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Michigan

An Interview with: COACH BETH TORINA, BAILEY LANDRY, CARLEY HOOVER

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by head coach Beth Torina and student-athletes Bailey Landry and Carley Hoover. Coach, general comments about the game and then we’ll toss it out for questions.

COACH TORINA: Congratulations to Michigan. What a great program. I think they’re such a class act. And I think that they are going to have a great championship series. I think both Florida and Michigan are two great teams. I think it’s going to be exciting for the whole softball world to see a series between two really quality teams. We wish them both the best of luck. As far as my team goes, this was a historic season. I hope none of my players are hanging their heads today. I think the sadness is not necessarily the way it ended or how it ended but the fact it had to end because it was so incredibly enjoyable. And as their coach, I enjoyed every single minute with them this year. I enjoyed watching them make history. I enjoyed being with them off the field as well as on the field. They made me proud to be their coach. So I think that they should walk out of here with their heads held high because they made history and had truly a historic season for LSU.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Coach, a lot of fans are going to point to one ball, was it foul, was it fair. And that’s kind of the lightning rod right now for them.

COACH TORINA: We definitely didn’t get any breaks in the sixth inning, whether the ball was fair or foul. I mean, they hit a couple of flares that fell in. The ball seemed to fall right for them. I don’t think one play changes the season or changes anything. But I definitely don’t think that we got any breaks right there. We also didn’t create any breaks for ourselves and we didn’t do a good job scoring off of Haylie Wagner once she came in the game. There were definitely things we could have done. I think this team will learn and this team will rebound and this team will hopefully end up in a spot similar to this next season.

Q. What did she do very well that made her so hard to hit after she came in, Haylie Wagner?

COACH TORINA: She throws really good speed. She’s left-handed. Throws a curveball, she was able to get in on our righties and then it broke pretty hard away from our lefties. She’s really talented. She’s an All- American. She earned that title. She’s been there and she’s done that. She’s a great pitcher. Threw with great velocity today. And she was just tough.

Q. Carley, as a freshman to get here and have this experience, what do you think you can bring to next season because you’ve had this experience?

CARLEY HOOVER: This experience has been really cool. But my goal wasn’t to get here, my goal and our goal was to win it. And obviously we fell short. I think I learned a lot being here. It’s a really big stage. It was a whole lot of fun. I’ve always wanted the ball in every big situation we’ve had all season. And Coach knows that. I’ll even tell her if I really, really want it. And I wanted it today. And I just didn’t get the job done, which sucks. And it sucks that it had to happen twice. I think we’re set up to have a really good season next year.

Q. Returning five All-Americans next year and really you only lose A.J. out of the starting lineup. You lose Kailey and Dylan too, but you have so much of the team back next season. How excited and how much are you looking forward to next year now?

CARLEY HOOVER: I’m really excited. The senior leadership, though, is something that is clearly irreplaceable. Dylan and Kailey are both in the top set, they are in every pitch, every play of the game. And they’re really helping everyone else and mentally before they get in the box, while they’re in the box helping them pitch to pitch. So that’s something that we’re not going to have next year. Hopefully those are some big shoes to fill. So we’ll see who does that. But I’m really excited with the talent we have on the field and everything else. And depth in the circle. Depth in defense. Depth on offense. And I hear we have some really great recruits coming in. So I’m excited.

BAILEY LANDRY: I haven’t thought about next year too much, but what our seniors have brought to the table is irreplaceable. We’ll focus on the new students next year and take what we have.

COACH TORINA: I think it says it all that I’m sitting here and the two players you chose from the game to come today is a freshman and sophomore. I think it says it all. We had a ton of underclassmen in the game today and a ton of underclassmen that were contributors all season long. Having the core of your team playing in a game like this, being in this setting and being in this scenario I think is huge going down the road. And of course my message to them is that there’s no guarantees. This was a special group. They had great chemistry. They had great leadership. There’s no guarantees for the next season. But they definitely have all of the tools, talent, ability in order to put them back in this spot and continue to achieve even more than this.

Q. Beth, could you address the two teams you’re familiar with Florida obviously and having played Michigan. What is it about those two teams that makes each of them tough to beat?

COACH TORINA: I think the two teams are great teams. I really do. I think they both have so many things going for them. They both have great offenses. They both are strong on the mound. They both play solid defense. I think Michigan is an extremely deep lineup 1 through 9. There’s not a moment where you get to catch your breath in that lineup. They’re really deep 1 through 9. Florida has the X factor with Lauren Haeger who has just been phenomenal in the postseason, and you know the second half of the season she’s just been on a mission. They’ve been here before and they know how to win it. It’s going to be a fun series for everybody to watch. And I have huge respect for both teams. I did graduate from the University of Florida. But I have a lot of respect for both teams.

Q. Coach, some of the mistakes, the errors, can you talk about how that kind of hurt and do you think this team had been here before, do you think maybe next year this makes it mentally tougher in the future for that?

COACH TORINA: Well, like I said, I don’t think we got any breaks in that last inning. And a lot of that was created by ourselves. But I think they did some things to us there that we hadn’t seen in a while. Had some things happen to us that we hadn’t had people run in those situations. We hadn’t seen an offense that deep. I think we need to be a little bit better prepared for situations like that. I think they caught us on our heels a couple times. But that’s the whole idea of being in this tournament is you’ll see people that can pull out all the stops, can do a lot of things. They have a really talented offense. They have a lot of different weapons. So I think we’ve definitely got to get better at some things. But I thought my team played really well all

Q. Bailey, the 0-2 count, you were able to still hit one out there, could you talk about that at-bat and bringing those two runs in?

BAILEY LANDRY: Well, the first two pitches I saw I thought they were a little bit high and out. But he called them strikes. I just knew going into the next pitch, if she was going to throw it high, that I would have to get on top of the ball. And I had popped out one of my previous at-bats. I knew I just had to get my hands above it and go with it.

Q. Bailey, I love some of the hits you had this series. That double the other day to the right center gap and the one today, you went opposite field kind of sliced it. Definitely quality, legit hits. Could you talk about your approach and how you’re using the whole field and not getting cheated up there and how you approach those?

BAILEY LANDRY: As a 2-hole, my position is just to do my job. Anytime we get in the box, I know whatever my team needs me to do, whether it’s to bunt the ball, move the runner, get a hit in the gap, whatever, strike out gracefully, whatever my team needs is what I wanted to do. So that’s just what I do when I get in the box. Just know I have a job to do and get it done.

Q. Carley, what do you do over the summer to keep your game at a high level? Women’s majors used to be where all the college girls went. But that’s kind of went by the boards. And so I’m interested in what girls who have a lot of talent keep up that level of preparation?

CARLEY HOOVER: I’m sorry, I wish I had an answer for you but I haven’t even given it a thought yet. I’ve really just been focused on this season right here and right now all I can see is next year’s national championship. But I haven’t really thought about summer yet.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the 12th game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 3 seed Michigan defeated No. 5 seed LSU by a score of 6-3. The Wolverines moved to 59-6 overall this season, while the loss ended the Tigers’ season. LSU finished the year with a record of 52-14.

Michigan advances to the championship final series and will face No. 1 seed Florida at 7 p.m. CT on Monday for game one of a best of three game series. The championship final berth is the Wolverines’ second in program history.

In its 11th WCWS appearance (1995, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’01, ’02, ’04, ’05, ’09, ’13, ’15), Michigan improved to 12-20 overall. LSU is now 8-8 all-time in its four WCWS appearances (2001, ’04, ’12, ’15).

Haylie Wagner earned the win for Michigan to improve to 24-2 on the season. Wagner came on in relief and tossed 3.1 innings, allowing two hits, a walk and no runs while striking out five.

LSU’s starting pitcher Carley Hoover took the loss and finished her season with a record of 18-7. Hoover recorded 5.1 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks while striking out three.

The Tigers’ Constance Quinn opened the scoring in the top of the second with a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Kellsi Kloss and give LSU a 1-0 lead. It was Quinn’s 32nd RBI of the season and Kloss’s 42nd run scored.

Michigan’s Sierra Romero tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third with a two-out, solo home run. The home run is Romero’s 22nd of the season and 63rd of her career, which makes her the Michigan all-time career home run record holder, surpassing Samantha Findlay (62 HR, 2005-08).

LSU’s Bailey Landry helped the Tigers regain the lead in the top of the fourth with a bases loaded, two-out double to left center to score Sandra Simmons and Sydney Bourg and give LSU a 3-1 lead. Landry now has 48 RBIs on the season.

The Wolverines scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 3-3. Tera Blanco hit a two-out single to center to score Lindsay Montemarano. Pinch runner Nikki Wald then stole third and scored on a throwing error from the LSU catcher to tie the game.

Sierra Lawrence gave Michigan its first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth with a bases loaded, two-run double into the left field corner to score Olivia Richvalsky and Tera Blanco. Lawrence now has 60 RBIs on the season.

Michigan added to its lead in the sixth with a double steal of second and home. Sierra Romero stole second and Sierra Lawrence stole home on the play.

The attendance for Session 6 was 9,274, a Session 6 best and the seventh most all-time at the WCWS.

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2015 WCWS Game 11 Quotes and Notes Florida 3, Auburn 2 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-11 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-11#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 02:35:30 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38406 2015 WCWS Game 11 “Quotes and Notes” Florida 3, Auburn 2 Florida An Interview With: COACH TIM WALTON, LAUREN HAEGER, TAYLORE FULLER, NICOLE DEWITT THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. At this time we have University of Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Lauren Haeger, student-athlete Taylore Fuller, student-athlete Nicole DeWitt. At this time, Coach, general comments […]

The post 2015 WCWS Game 11 Quotes and Notes Florida 3, Auburn 2 appeared first on Fastpitch Softball TV Network.

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2015WCWSQuotesGame11

2015 WCWS Game 11 “Quotes and Notes”
Florida 3, Auburn 2

Florida

An Interview With: COACH TIM WALTON, LAUREN HAEGER, TAYLORE FULLER, NICOLE DEWITT

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. At this time we have University of Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Lauren Haeger, student-athlete Taylore Fuller, student-athlete Nicole DeWitt. At this time, Coach, general comments about the game, and then we’ll open it up for questions.

COACH WALTON: First of all, I think I already said this on TV a second ago. What a tremendous season for Auburn softball. Great offense, great components. I’m sorry, great coaches, great competitors. Just a great game. Great softball game. They were tough to prepare for. They are so similar to us in their at-bats and you could see that with their third time through the lineup in the fourth inning. But there’s, really, the main credit is going to go to Lauren (Haeger) and Jen Rocha. I really wanted to pull Lauren in the fifth just to change up the look. I felt they were starting to square it up and Lauren changed up the pitch, changed up the pitch call and changed up the approach. So again, give the two of them credit. Felt like she started to pitch a lot better and was a lot tougher to hit. And, again, I’ll save you some time. We’re not going to elaborate on what we did or how we did it, but just know we did change up some things and make some adjustments with her. But give — I thought they got the momentum, Kirsti (Merritt) did a great job throwing the ball to the plate. We escaped, I think escaped is probably a good word, escaped a little bit. Nice defensive plays. Taylore Fuller getting us on the board with the answer with two, and we were able to get back with that one with Justine sliding into the plate, so I thought that was huge just keeping the momentum where we wanted to. Not our best game, a little bit, not a little bit, a lot goes to Auburn. They kind of took us out of our game a little bit by the number of left-handed at-bats and hitting the ball the other way and changing some things. It’s really tough to defend. But overall just — I can’t be more happy just to be here. This is our tenth time. This is my tenth season. This is our seventh time here. Four times playing for a national championship. And you can’t win it if you don’t get there. And I’m really happy to coach these players and competitors and tremendous athletes and again give them all the credit. I really think that they really stepped up, found a way to get it done.

Q. Nicole talk about your mentality going up to the plate and the final at-bat and how good did it feel to see the run come across?

NICOLE DEWITT: I was just trying keep it simple. I had a rough couple previous at-bats. I went to my slap and then I just tried to place the ball and fill a hole, and found the hole and Justine came around and scored.

Q. Lauren, do you feel like over the course of the game the strike zone wasn’t as consistent as it was what you were accustomed to?

COACH WALTON: She can’t answer that.

Q. Taylore, down 2-1 you have that clutch at-bat getting the home run, just talk about what happened there?

TAYLORE FULLER: Yeah, I was the lead-off in that inning, just trying to get on base for my team, turning the lineup over and get those top batters back up, seeing more pitches and making her throw more pitches and I just happened to square it up.

Q. Lauren, can you talk about gutting it out, you threw 160 pitches, most hits you’ve given all year. Seemed to be a battle for you out there where you had obviously been dominating so much?

LAUREN HAEGER: Yeah, I mean, they’re a great hitting team. I haven’t faced them yet, and they were a great hitting team. We just kind of made an adjustment to our pitch calling a little bit. But it was a battle. It was a dogfight, it was a nice clean softball game of just fighting each other and getting outs when we needed to. They did a great job. Their hitters are great and they’re very well trained.

Q. How much did you have left? How far could you have gone?

LAUREN HAEGER: I mean, I’m all about adrenaline. I’m all about that, the pump-up, but I think I would have gone out there and done it as long as I could, for sure.

Q. Nicole, you had been lifted for a pinch-hitter, was it hard to stay mentally in the game, focused in the game because you said you were frustrated with your first few at-bats?

NICOLE DEWITT: I was frustrated but I knew I had to get back in the dugout and cheer on Bri (Briana Little). I had to help out my teammate and root for her in any way possible and hope for her to get the hit.

Q. In terms of just a balance of patience and power and speed pitching defense, how close is this roster to what your ideal would be?

COACH WALTON: That’s a good question. I think that every team would probably like to have a little bit more left-handed players just because of what they can do, like you saw right there with Nicole (DeWitt). But I’ll take this team, and I told them this in the middle of the year, we had a couple games we just didn’t play our best. I told them I’d die for any one of these kids. They’re such great people and great character and great competitors. I think sometimes you can have great athletes and they might not know what they’re doing. These guys are fighters. We built this program because of them and they know how to win. I think that ingredient right there is probably the biggest component that I’ve taken from these players is they may not be the best in every skill, but they’re really good at a lot of skills and they’re really good at the winning skill. I’m really happy for that, that’s for sure.

Q. Tim, you’ve got a team that’s defending national champions, coming back to this stage. What does it mean to you have a freshman step up and really make the biggest hit of the game there at the end?

COACH WALTON: If it was Nicole (DeWitt) or if it was Kelsey Stewart or Bri (Briana Little), we’re — everybody is happy for everybody. I was happy for the way she responded. I went matchup. I don’t know if you watched — it wasn’t that I was pinching, I went lefty, that left-handed pitcher is pretty tough on left-handed batters, so I knew by having my 9-1-2, all be left- handed in a row, I was going to have to pinch-hit for one of them at some point in time. We decided to bunt with Justine (McLean) and pinch hit for Nicole as opposed to pinch hitting for Justine and them maybe riding out that direction. It was a preplan that Bri was going to get the at-bat when the left-handed pitcher came in. That prompted them to make the pitching change back to (Lexi) Davis. The key was — we just kept Bri out there for a little bit longer, and Justine, they just kind of rotated themselves through. This kid right here has hit some big walk-offs for us. She’s done things already. She’s a good one and we’re happy she’s only a freshman because she’s only going to get better.

Q. Coach, what’s the message in the locker room after a tough, dramatic, long win like that one?

COACH WALTON: The keyword you said there was a long win. So it’s a lot easier to have the tough, long win conversation than the tough long loss conversation. The biggest thing for us we had a walk-off win here to get to the championship series in 2009. It was very emotional. It was very draining and our team didn’t respond very well to the next game we played on Monday night against Washington. So I’ve got that in my back pocket. We will definitely get them up tomorrow early in the morning. We’ll do everything different than we’ve ever done before to prepare them so we can get rid of this emotional win to move forward for the championship series.

Q. Coach, you entered the championship series without using Delanie (Gourley) or Le-le (Aleshia Ocasio). Is that kind of a positive or is that like a backhand, like — I lost my train of thought?

COACH WALTON: Is it a positive or is it a negative? I think that’s probably the easiest way to say it. Is it a positive or negative? And for me personally, it’s a positive because we were playing for a national championship. The negative is that I’ve got two pitchers that haven’t had experience pitching here in three weeks. But we’re going to use them. So whether we can get Lauren into the pool tonight, swimming getting her range of motion back and see where she’s at tomorrow, it will more than likely be a game-time decision who we throw whether it be Aleshia, Lauren or Delanie. But at the end of the day it’s a good problem to have I’d rather be in that situation I’m sure.

Q. Lauren and Taylor, can you both just expound a little bit on what you see out of Nicole that you think allows her to be able to come through in moments like this?

LAUREN HAEGER: I hit behind Nicole (DeWitt) a lot during the season, for most of the season I’ve hit behind her. And she just has so many tools. She can do everything. She can hit a home run. She can bunt for a hit. She can slap. She can swing away, like, she just has so many tools. And I mean I wish sometimes I was lefty for that reason. But no she’s great. And she has a lot of heart and a lot of fight and she knows what she’s doing up there. Great knowledge of the game.

TAYLORE FULLER: Lauren pretty much said it. Nicole (DeWitt) has been in that position before it’s not her first rodeo here. She knows what to do in that position and she is usually successful.

Q. Tim, at the end of the eighth, Auburn made that great defensive play at home plate was there a miscommunication on the base pass on the tag?

COACH WALTON: I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus. I don’t think that’s the way to go about coaching. I’ll take the blame. It’s easy for me. I’ll just say it’s my fault. Whether it is or not I’ll just take the blame. Again, I think she had a great slide at the plate. I think even — you know what, I won’t take the blame. I’ll say it’s easy. You get caught up in emotions and someone hits the ball that hard. Their player did it the same way. We did it back in return. It’s an emotional play. The ball’s hit stung like that and you’re wanting to win. At the end of the day, yeah, we made a mistake. I should have had her closer to the bag a lot sooner.

Q. What was the momentum in the dugout after you’re falling behind two to one?

TAYLORE FULLER: Obviously it’s difficult to stay up but we proved all season we can come back, whether we’re down by nine or we’re down by one, we’re going to come back and you better be ready for that. So the energy is always up in the dugout no matter what the score is.

Q. Coach, some sports we usually have a day off we can talk to you about going into the championships. I was wondering if you could shift focus here for us. Going to try to repeat, which is something that Billy Donovan did, of course, with the Gators basketball back then. If you could share with us, was it easier or harder being defending champions in this process? Did Coach Donovan or other people give you advice? There aren’t many people that repeat in college sports particularly in a team sport. Could you give us a little insight on what that journey has been like and any advice you have got?

COACH WALTON: I probably won’t give you too much. I don’t want to take up too much time here but I did lean on Billy and Urban and some other friends I’ve been around who have been successful coaches. The key is this wasn’t easier but it was a lot easier to understand mistakes because you understand what the finished product can look like. So I think that was the key. We were able to understand that. This team resembles a lot of what we did last year. We played good softball throughout the season. We had some ups. We had some downs. Got to the College World Series and kind of hit our stride a little bit. We had a good team. And I think when I look at what we do on paper, and we had three All-Americans this year. We only had two last season. And we, if you take a picture and put it in the dictionary what a team is supposed to look like I think this team would fill a lot of pages of what it’s supposed to look like. We’ve got a lot of kids on our team that just do so many things to make coaching fun. We’ve got kids who pick signs. We’ve got kids who pick up bats. We’ve got kids who do so many things to help a team win. So it wasn’t harder, but there’s so many different challenges of actually coming back after winning a championship that you’re afraid that you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to think, oh, we’re just going to rest upon that for the season. These players did not. I think they took their practice levels to another level. Their practice skills to another level. But we didn’t overdo it either. Billy and I are very similar. We want to work and push them and push them, and he said the biggest mistake he potentially could have made was push them too hard thinking everybody was going to give them their best shot. And he said he backed off from that and they really took off once he trusted what they did to prepare and I trust what these guys do to prepare. I think there’s where the similarities are.

Q. Nicole, you said that coming on the field, when you first got here and people wanted to high five you over the railing was the best feeling ever. You said your home run was the best feeling ever. I’m just wondering if this is the best feeling ever?

NICOLE DEWITT: It might be. They just all add up. They’re all great feelings. Like no one — a bunch of people don’t get to experience these things and to know that I’m one of them. It’s really cool. It’s a really cool feeling.

Q. Coach, also looking towards the championship series, you’ve gotten a chance to see both teams you could potentially play. Is there one you feel you match up against better?

COACH WALTON: No, I don’t. I think both teams have a pretty good balance, and going through the Super Regionals and watching Michigan play Georgia and seeing LSU play Arizona and watching all of them play here at the College World Series. These are the four teams that I starred. I thought Oregon could have replaced us or somebody else depending on how the matchups went. But these four teams — Auburn, Florida, LSU and Michigan — were four teams. Any one of those four teams, really felt like the way they were playing coming down the stretch could win a national championship, and so I don’t think we match up particularly well with either one of them. I just hope that they don’t match up as well with us either. So I think that’s our key.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Auburn

An Interview with: COACH CLINT MYERS, BRANNDI MELERO, CARLEE WALLACE, LEXI DAVIS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Auburn University Clint Myers, student-athlete Branndi Melero, student- athlete Carlee Wallace and student-athlete Lexi Davis. We’ll start with Coach.

COACH MYERS: I would like to say thank you again to Oklahoma City for putting on a great World Series. Sharon, magnificent job. Her staff is outstanding. Secondly, I’d like to say how very proud I am to be the coach at Auburn University. These kids were picked to finish eighth in our conference. And yet they were one of four remaining teams in the College World Series. That says a lot about character. It says a lot about drive, competitiveness. It was a lot of fun. And we will be back. I’d also like to wish the best to Florida. They’re a great team. Well coached. They have tremendous athletes and they’re going to do well. It’s not the end of the world as I explained to the girls because it’s really the start of something new. We told them at the very beginning that they’re going to start a legacy at Auburn. And they are. Our plan is now an expectation as it is with Florida and the other top schools that are here every year, to be at the College World Series each and every year, having a chance to play for that national championship. And these girls didn’t have a whole lot of experience to draw upon, but they have some experience now. Like I said, I’m really proud of what they accomplished, how they accomplished it. It was a total team effort. And like I said at the very beginning, I’m very proud to say I’m the head coach of the Auburn University softball team.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Can you just talk about the last 24 hours, the ten inning marathon yesterday going into nine today, what’s it been like this roller coaster ride, this last 24 hours?

CARLEE WALLACE: It’s been a lot of fun. It’s such a blessing to be a part of something this great. There’s nothing like the College World Series. And I’m just so proud to have been able to have been a part of this with my team. And I think moving forward, this experience we’ll be able to draw on these games and these tough situations. And yesterday I had probably the most fun I’ve ever had on this team. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we all had a blast yesterday. I mean, that’s what you live for, those long- inning games. And I just think that from here on out we’ll be able to draw from this experience. And I think it really kind of bound us together as a team. And that’s something that no one will ever be able to take from us.

BRANNDI MELERO: You go into today’s game trying to feed off the energy that you had from last night’s game. We fell short. But it’s okay. Like I said yesterday, we tried to get it done in seven innings, if we have to play 10, 15 innings, that’s what we’re going to do until we get knocked down. But I couldn’t be any prouder to be on this team, and I’m very blessed to have teammates that were willing to give it their all, all eight innings.

LEXI DAVIS: This game kind of had remnants of last night, which we had a ton of fun playing in. It showed a lot of our character and everybody was saying we didn’t have experience coming into this, but I think we did a pretty darned good job for never being here. So last night was a heck of a lot of fun and today we just ran out of at-bats. My teammates did a great job. They picked me up when I got into a jam, and I couldn’t be more proud of every single one of them. And we will be back.

Q. Branndi, when Coach Myers came in last year and everybody has said the first day he got here he said we’re going to the College World Series. And he also said he was just some crazy guy coming in and you guys probably didn’t know how to react. Now that it happened, now that it’s coming on and it’s been your senior year, just talk about from that day when he said that to right now.

BRANNDI MELERO: I mean, the moment he said that, I believed in him. And I’m beyond blessed that he allowed me to stay on this field and to keep me on the team, to have this opportunity. I mean, he said he was going to bring us to the Women’s College World Series, and he did. So I couldn’t be more happier, and I thank him very much for all that he’s done.

Q. At what point you guys played 17 innings yesterday. Nine today. At what point did fatigue set in?

LEXI DAVIS: I don’t really feel like any of us got fatigued, per se. Maybe towards the end where I got pulled out the last inning, I think maybe my arm was getting a little tight. But we played our hearts out no matter what. And I think fatigue or not, it was more a matter of character and how we wanted to go forward with it. I can’t speak for the other players, but I would say probably that inning where I threw two balls is kind of where I started getting a little tired.

BRANNDI MELERO: It’s softball. You’re going to play with cuts, bruises, breaks, you just gotta go out there and continue to play. Yeah, right now I’ll be honest that my body is a little bit — it’s hurting a lot. But you’re not going to show that. Coach just stresses a lot, play different than how you feel. And I feel like we did exactly that. Now that it’s done, you’ll probably hear a lot of girls tell you how tired they are. But before that, you’re not going to hear that from us.

COACH MYERS: The girls were talking, when you have a mission that you are on and you get to — you have the opportunity to play in this venue, all the preparedness that you have is what you have to rely on. It’s a sense of confidence. It’s a sense of being. As Branndi said, as I said here last night after being here for 14 hours, you’re tired afterwards. Not during. Because it’s the team that has the mindset. I mean, I don’t think you saw anybody dog it anywhere on either team. That was great competition. It was a hell of a game for only two runs being scored on both sides. I mean, true competitors don’t get tired, not until it’s over. So I’m very proud of their performance. I’m very proud of their dedication and, again, now is the time we have to rest.

CARLEE WALLACE: I went up to Lexi before we even started this game, and it’s to be expected that there’s fatigue. But I told her, no matter what, no matter how tight your arm is, how tired my legs are, it’s you and me to the end, and we’ve got to keep pushing because everybody is going to look to us to be the rock for today. And I think just our will to win is too strong to even let fatigue kind of come into play. Our will to just play the game is, it’s like Coach said, we’re so competitive that we don’t realize how tired we are until the game’s over. And then once we kind of sit around and you try to get up you’re like, okay, that’s where that bruise came from. But I think definitely that we’re a very competitive bunch, and it doesn’t really come into play until after.

Q. Branndi, one of three seniors on this team. Talk about the potential for next year’s team, how good can you guys be?

BRANNDI MELERO: I mean, Auburn is going to be good. They’re always going to be great. Going into next year, we’re going to have a big group of girls coming in. And me and Morgan have tried to explain to the girls, you guys need to stick together. Include the freshmen that are going to be coming in in everything that you guys do. Make sure you guys are always working together and teach them what we taught you guys. But what Coach did from my junior year to my senior year is junior year was a start-over. He taught us what he wanted to teach us, and sophomore year was just moving forward from what we left on. So it’s going to be important that 23 girls teach the freshmen instead of moving backwards to continue to go forward.

Q. Coach Myers, Carlee and Branndi you were able to hit Haeger consistently throughout the game, but at the big moments what adjustments do you think she made to keep you from getting that big run total?

COACH MYERS: They’re well coached. Tim and their staff had a plan and they executed. You give up — if you look at the numbers, we had 11 hits and she walked four. So we had 15 base runners. That’s not just being good pitching. That is a great defense behind. Look at the line drive that we had in the one inning, and that was a great play. She made pitches that kind of kept us off balance. The key thing, if you look at why she was selected player of the year, it’s because of the fact that when she had to step up, if you asked her, was this the best game she ever pitched? She’d say no, I’m sure. But because she is a champion, because the fact that she is who she is, when you’re asked upon to make the pitch, then that’s what the champion does. They step up because they’re called a champion. And, again, we had opportunities. Next year’s team will cash in on those opportunities. We came up a little short. And we’ve already talked about how we’re going to make some changes and really get after it so that when we face a (Lauren) Haeger, I’m glad we don’t have to anymore, we will have a better sense. We’ll have a better performance and so —

CARLEE WALLACE: I think I’ve got to tip my hat to her. She pitched a great game. I’d say that she is one of the hardest throwers that we’ve seen this year. I think when you combine it with good off-speed pitches, it’s pretty difficult to hit because you can’t go up there guessing. I think she did a really good job of mixing speeds and hitting her spots when she was called upon to hit those spots. And I mean we had quite a few hits off of her, but when it really counted, when we needed some timely hitting with runners in scoring position she executed her pitches pretty well.

BRANNDI MELERO: I think a little bit to my advantage was the fact that I’ve seen her for four years. I’ve hit off her from freshman year to now. But like Coach said, she’s player of the year for a reason. And with my last two at-bats, she knew exactly what to throw and she was able to fool me one. And the second one, I got barrel on it, but her defense behind her was there to back her up and have her back.

Q. Clint and Carlee, could you just talk about the day Lexi had holding them to four hits?

COACH MYERS: I could spend a lot of time talking about Lexi. I thought she did an outstanding job. She was a horse last year. She started, I think, every game that we played here. And it was the reason — I think that the person that’s behind her success is Corey (Myers). So I think he’s done a magnificent job with the staff. I think he spends a lot of time watching film, coming up with a plan, then explaining that plan so they can execute it. When you hold Florida to five hits, that’s a heck of a job. And we gave her a little break in there, threw Rachael (Walters) in there for the two lefties, and then we stuck her back out there. She started the inning — in fact, we saw her shaking her arm. It’s the kind of player you want: Coach, I’m good, give me the ball get back in there. The one that wants to go out there and compete, I want the opportunity for my team. And that’s what she did. We just — you know, we just saw that it was getting that time and we made the change to Marcy (Harper). But like I said, when you hold Florida to five hits, that’s a hell of a job. I’m extremely proud of her and all the other pitchers as well as the team for their effort and playing the defending national champs the way we did.

CARLEE WALLACE: It’s been awesome to be able to be her catcher. And I think we worked really well together all season but especially when it came down to it we feed off of each other. She just did a really great job today with staying mentally tough. There’s a lot of things, fatigue might have been setting into her arm. Florida, I can remember back to when I was watching the World Series in like ’07, the Gators were always a powerful team. There’s something to be said to be able to hold them to single digit hits. I definitely commend her for that. I think what I admire most about her is how mentally tough she is. It’s been great working with her. I know we’re only going to get better going into next year.

Q. Now that this season has come to a close and this has been a season of firsts and history and all that, if you guys, all four of you could put together one or two words to describe it, what would those words be?

LEXI DAVIS: Can you repeat that question one more time, please?

Q. Now that the season has come to a close and everything that has happened, if you could put a couple of words to describe it, what would those words be?

LEXI DAVIS: Gosh. A season of firsts for us. We came in with nobody really expecting us to do anything, and I think that kind of propelled us to want to prove people wrong and we knew, with the coaching and the talent we had, we knew within ourselves that we could do it. And I think that’s what we went out and did. You know, I hit a rough patch during the middle of it and then kind of turned it around and wanted to come back for my team and this was the perfect part to do it, and I know that they had our backs for the first half of the season. So we did a lot of things that no one thought we could. That’s a testament to how hard we worked, how great of coaches we have. And it’s one that we’ll never forget.

BRANNDI MELERO: Ever to conquer, never to yield. It’s in our fight song. That’s how I am going to end this year.

CARLEE WALLACE: I would say this year has been such a blessing, just a blessing. I really only need one word. Blessing. Because it’s not every year you come across a team where all of us get along, all of us — we clock in and clock out, day in, day out. It never gets old. I’m sitting here and it’s still kind of setting in that the season is over because I don’t want it to be over. I don’t want to lose the seniors. I love them to death. And I think that it’s just you really have to kind of sit back and take it all in and realize the season you had because I mean — every team is different but I know one thing is for sure there will never be another team like this, with all the different individual personalities and everything. So I’ve just been blessed to have been part of such a great group of girls.

COACH MYERS: Commitment or achievement to a legacy. Like I said, it takes a while to establish your own identity. The identity we have currently is a lot different than the identity that we had three years ago as far as a softball program. Because they’re sitting in the room, our legacy needs to be of that of what Florida is now. And we’re moving towards that. If you look, we played the defending national champs to a one-run, extra-inning ballgame. They beat us three times last year all by one run. I’ve known Tim a long time. And again I’ve used them as a reference to the type of program we’re going to become. So that in future years Florida and Auburn may be playing in the championship game of the College World Series. I would say commitment, achievement to a legacy.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the 11th game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 1 seed Florida defeated No. 4 seed Auburn, 3-2 in nine innings. The Gators moved to 58-6 overall this season, while the loss ended the Tigers’ season. Auburn finished the year with a record of 56-11.

Florida advances to the championship final series and will face either No. 3 seed Michigan or No. 5 LSU at 7 p.m. CT on Monday for game one in a best of three series. The championship final berth marks the Gators’ second straight appearance and fourth in program history.

In its seventh WCWS appearance (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’14, ’15), Florida improved to 20-11 overall. Auburn is now 2-2 all-time in its first-ever WCWS appearance (2015).

The Gators’ Nicole DeWitt hit a two-out, walkoff single in the ninth inning to give Florida the 3-2 victory, marking UF’s eighth walkoff win of the season.

Florida starting pitcher Lauren Haeger earned the win and finished with a line of 9.0 IP, 11 hits, two earned runs, and four walks while striking out six to improve to 31-1 on the year.

Auburn starting pitcher Lexi Davis fell to 26-3 with the loss. Davis tossed 7.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and eight walks while striking out one.

Florida’s Justine McLean scored the game’s opening run in the bottom of the third inning off a wild pitch. The run is McLean’s 25th of the season and 60th of her career.

Auburn responded in the top of the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead with a bases loaded, two-run single off the bat of Branndi Melero. Melero now has 64 RBIs on the season. Scoring on the play were Jade Rhodes and Victoria Draper.

Auburn’s 2-1 lead after the top of the fourth marked the first time Florida trailed in any game during the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Taylore Fuller of Florida tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to left field to make the score 2-2. The home run was her 14th of the season, 28th of her career and first in a WCWS game.

Auburn turned three double plays in the game and finished with 11 in the NCAA Tournament, including six in the WCWS.

There were a combined three putouts at the plate on throws from center field — two from Florida and one from Auburn — which extended the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Despite scoring just two runs, Auburn had a runner on base in every inning. The Tigers left 14 runners on base, while going 4 for 27 with runners on and 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

Florida improves to 3-1 in extra-inning games on the season and Auburn falls to 5-2 in extras in 2015, including a record of 1-1 at the WCWS.

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2015 WCWS Championship Series Game 2 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-championship-series-game-2 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-championship-series-game-2#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 02:30:45 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38479 Photos From The 2015 WCWS Championship Series Game 2 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Photos By Gary Leland . To keep up with all the photos I shoot, from all the softball events I visit just go to SoftballShots.com. Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A Question or Some […]

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Photos From The 2015 WCWS Championship Series Game 2 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Photos By Gary Leland


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2015 WCWS Game 10 Quotes and Notes LSU 5, Alabama 3 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-10 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-10#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 02:20:14 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38403 2015 WCWS Game 10 “Quotes and Notes” LSU 5, Alabama 3 LSU An Interview With: COACH BETH TORINA, KELLSI KLOSS, LANDRY BAILEY, ALLY WALLJASPER THE MODERATOR: We have LSU head coach Beth Torina, student-athlete Landry Bailey, student-athlete Kellsi Kloss and student-athlete Ally Walljasper. Coach, comments about the game. COACH TORINA: First, congratulations to Alabama on […]

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2015 WCWS Game 10 “Quotes and Notes”
LSU 5, Alabama 3

LSU

An Interview With: COACH BETH TORINA, KELLSI KLOSS, LANDRY BAILEY, ALLY WALLJASPER

THE MODERATOR: We have LSU head coach Beth Torina, student-athlete Landry Bailey, student-athlete Kellsi Kloss and student-athlete Ally Walljasper. Coach, comments about the game.

COACH TORINA: First, congratulations to Alabama on a great season. I think they just run a class program from top to bottom. It’s always tough competing against them but it’s also fun competing against them, too, when you truly respect your opponent. Couple of seniors ended their careers tonight over there that had great careers that we think so highly of. And we congratulate them on all they’ve accomplished. I thought our team came out really strong in the beginning of the game. I thought they were ready to play even with the delay from the extra-inning game before. I thought they came out ready. I thought they came out prepared. Got a good performance on the mound from Ally Walljasper, kept us in it the whole way. And I thought our offense hit balls hard throughout the game. I was happy with the performance my team had tonight.

Q. Beth, when you have a game that starts this late, do you have to tell your girls anything going in, or change your preparation to make sure they’re ready when it does get this late?

COACH TORINA: I think these guys are used to these hours. I think they’re young and they keep some later hours than I do. I think I’m the one that needed to get a pep talk before this game to stay up late. But they’re so excited to be here. They’re so excited to be part of this tournament. They’re so excited to continue to try and achieve the goals that they set out at the beginning of this year — which is to win a national championship — that you could tell them they could play at any hour of the day and they would be fired up to be there and they would play their hearts out. Because they’re wanting to win.

Q. Kellsi, you kind of had a little bloop shot at the beginning of the game and you ended up coming all the way around to score. Could you walk me through that play from your perspective, I guess?

KELLSI KLOSS: Sydney Littlejohn was throwing a lot away from righties, and I think I just got a little bit out in front of the pitch and I lifted it a little bit. I saw it was going to drop right away which is good. I knew I had an RBI. And then, I don’t know, I think there were some miscues in the infield, and I read my coach well enough and I ended up getting home somehow. It was just a matter of reading the defense and reading what they were doing with the ball. It wasn’t anything too special, I don’t think.

Q. Ally, I think there were at least three innings where the first batter, maybe the first two batters got on once, and right after that you sat them down one, two, three. Could you talk to your approach to bounce back so quickly after the lead-off batter got on in those innings?

ALLY WALLJASPER: I was just trying to throw quality pitches the whole time and keep my team in it, and basically I just had to trust the process and throw quality pitches.

Q. Coach, you talked about Bailey coming through in clutch spots and she did it again tonight, the two-out hit. Could you talk about how that opened the score up for you?

COACH TORINA: Yeah, she was born with the clutch gene, I’m convinced of that. She just seems to come through for us when the pressure is on. The bigger the moment, the bigger she shines. She’s just been so strong for us here, all season truly, but in the postseason she’s been amazing. It’s been 100 percent of because of how much she wants to win and how much she cares about this team, about her university. And I think she has so much respect for this university that she just wants to do anything she can. If that means she has to get a hit she gets a hit. She’s definitely been clutch and she’s been huge for us in the postseason.

Q. Coach, because of how late it is tonight, and relatively quick turnaround for the 2:30 game tomorrow — 1:30. Time zone is messing me up. How much of a challenge does that present to you guys and do you think it’s helpful or would you that you haven’t played Michigan yet or would you have liked to have gotten a look at them? What’s your thoughts?

COACH TORINA: We’ve been here before. We had rain in the regional. We played really late, Friday night, had an 11:00 a.m. start the next day. So we have been here, we’ve been here recently. It happened to us a couple times at the regional at our place. They dealt with the adversity really well there, and I think they will do it again here. It’s tough to have the short turnaround, but like I said, if you told them to play at whatever hour of the day or night they would show up and give you everything they had, they’re excited to be here. As far as playing Michigan I think we understand what a quality program. They have they’re a great team. I know their on a huge roll right now, a huge win streak. It would be great to know more about them than to have the short turnaround but we’ll give it our best shot and do what we can.

Q. Kellsi, with Ally and Carley as freshmen, does that change your approach a little bit when you’re managing them in the circle, in such, on such a big stage?

KELLSI KLOSS: I mean, this is their first time here, but it’s also most of our first time here. So, no, they conduct themselves really, really overly just mature for their age. You can’t even tell they’re freshmen, I say that all the time. You truly can’t tell they’re freshmen because they just conduct themselves so mature. Like I say all the time they’re both a pleasure to catch, and they make me forget they’re freshmen. So, no, they always hold themselves very high.

Q. Beth, basically I think SEC teams eliminated other SEC teams. How tough is this league going to be going forward to win and compete in? COACH

TORINA: I think it is without question the toughest league in the country. I think it’s just an honor to be part of it and exciting to be part of it. And I think that’s why we continue to grow, because we have such great support. We have such great facilities. But it’s the place to be. I mean, it’s the place where these kids want to come play. We continue to get the best players and best recruits because it’s truly the place to be right now in the country. I think as long as we have that we’ll continue to recruit these great kids these great athletes and just continue to grow.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Alabama

An Interview with: COACH PATRICK MURPHY, HAYLIE MCCLENEY, MARISA RUNYON, DANAE HAYS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy, student-athlete Haylie McCleney, student-athlete Marisa Runyon and student- athlete Danae Hays. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH MURPHY: I thought it was a typical LSU- Alabama game. Just a really good game until the very end. Congrats to them. I know they’ll do well tomorrow. It’s kind of exciting I think, what, three of the last four and five of the last six are SEC schools, which is awesome for our conference. And I know it’s going to be a great ending, I think, for the SEC.

Q. You kind of got, I believe, on the start you wanted but you had a defense miscue that put you behind. How disappointing is that, is that jitters, what do you think happened there?

COACH MURPHY: I don’t know, it shouldn’t have been because we hadn’t done that for a long time. It was a little too much throwing the ball around that we haven’t done that since probably February. So I’m not sure what caused it or — I know they have a lot of team speed. But just unfortunate that it happened at the wrong time.

Q. Similar situation tonight, get some base runners on and couldn’t finish it off most of the time?

COACH MURPHY: You’re right. I always ask them to at least get the tying run at the plate, at the very end. And we had the winning run. And so they showed a lot of fight, a lot of grit still. But we had a couple of innings where we’d get the lead-off on and then the offense stalled, and it’s just like a football team that goes 60 yards and all of a sudden goes 0 for 4 and has to punt. It’s unfortunate. It’s one of the things we worked on the last two weeks was passing it down. And in the last inning I really thought Jadyn (Spencer) was going to hit a grand slam or (Marisa) Runyon hit a home run to go ahead. But, you know, it didn’t happen.

Q. Ladies, after the week that this has been from Super Regionals to now, can you just talk about how tough of an exit it is for you especially I’m sure you expected to go a little bit farther?

HAYLIE MCCLENEY: I mean, it’s obviously disappointing anytime you lose the last game. You always want to be the one to win it in the end. I’m just so proud of this team.

MARISA RUNYON: I think the hardest thing is that not only especially the senior class, are they great ball players, they’re great people. They’re the true definition of an Alabama softball player. That’s what we want. It’s going to be a hard class to follow up. And not everybody thought we were going to be here, and what it came down to is our one heartbeat as a team and our motto that we’ve talked about for so long. And we all have each other’s back, one through 18, and it was just a fun team to be a part of.

DANAE HAYS: You know, I don’t think a lot of people really even expected us to make it past Super Regionals. So for us to have played three games at the World Series, I think it exceeded a lot of people’s expectations, and I think this is definitely a season we can be very proud of.

Q. Marisa, when you come up to the plate at the end, did it bring back any kind of thoughts last week to the grand slam? I know it wasn’t bases loaded, but did you have any thoughts that you could be a hero again?

MARISA RUNYON: It’s a tough situation to be in. You just want to pass the ball down the lineup. You don’t necessarily think about being the hero, you just want to pass it down to the next person in the lineup. And unfortunately I didn’t do it. But our goal every last inning is to get the tying run at the plate, and we did do that. I’m proud of every single person on the team, because we did do that and we met our goal there. And unfortunately it didn’t fall our way.

Q. What do you think happened for the offense? Is it just facing better pitching the last couple of weeks as opposed to the regional and maybe you had some struggles with the SEC tournament, didn’t seem like you were putting hits together like you had at earlier points in the season?

MARISA RUNYON: When you come here, it’s eight of the best teams. And every single pitcher here is good. And unfortunately I still think we didn’t peak at the right time. And we didn’t get the clutch hits every single time like we needed to. And good teams we played against, and when you come here it’s like you can flip a coin, and whoever is going to win, flip a coin. And whoever shows up that day is going to be the winner at the end of the day. And unfortunately it didn’t go our way, but still so proud of the team.

HAYLIE MCCLENEY: Yeah, along with what (Marisa) Runyon said, you’re going to play the eight best teams here. And we ran into three really good teams. We ran into the 2 seed, the 5 seed. It’s so hard to play the 3 seed in Michigan, to face all those tough pitchers that we faced. But Murph (Patrick Murphy) always said, it’s pitching, defense and timely hitting, those are the three keys to winning a championship. And it was unfortunate that we didn’t have a lot of timely hits. But you can’t say that this team didn’t fight. You cannot say that because we left it all out there on the field, you saw that in the last inning. So you can’t make adjustments. And we did what we could. We did all we knew how to do. We tried our best. We gave it our all. It just didn’t fall our way, and it wasn’t meant to be.

DANAE HAYS: Like what both of them said. When you finally get here, you’re playing against seven other teams that all have amazing pitchers. And if they don’t have amazing pitchers, they have 1 through 9 that are just stacked. So you’re playing the best of the best. And there’s just, the margin for error is just very small. And if we’re not getting the hits done, then we have to play great defense. And tonight that just — I felt like we had a good defense. We just had that one miscue. And we just weren’t hitting the ball that well. But along with what Hailey (McCleney) said, we definitely left everything out there on that field. And I know when we go home tonight we’ll lay our head down, we can be proud of that.

Q. Patrick, looking at what you have coming back next year, what you have coming in next year, what holes are you looking to fill, what concerns you the most, what gives you the most comfort, and please also address Peyton’s status?

COACH MURPHY: Peyton Grantham tore her ACL in the fall. She’ll be ready to go. And (Marisa) Runyon might never have had the year she had if Peyton had been healthy. I mean, it’s a weird blessing sort of thing. And I know Peyton wishes that she would have been out there every day. But she’ll be ready to go in the fall. We have six young ladies coming in, two from Texas, two from Alabama, our first Arkansas, our first Mississippi young lady. And there’s two pitchers in the group, a lefty and righty, both players of the year in their state at one point. The two kids from Texas both throw right and hit left. Both are fast. They’re more hitters than slappers. So we’re looking forward to having a couple more lefties to join Haylie (McCleney) and (Marisa) Runyon. But the two pitchers are going to help. I know Leslie ended her career on an awesome note tonight. I thought she was terrific. We’ve got to replace Chaunsey (Bell) obviously. Danae (Hays) is a big spot, the shortstop. We have to have somebody that’s very consistent like her. I think she ended her senior year at under 10 errors at shortstop, which is awesome. I know it’s been 10 minutes, but it’s going to be a fun year next year. I’m looking forward to Haylie being a senior and her three other classmates. I know they’re going to show great leadership and we’ll do amazing things again. The other thing I wanted to say before, just thanks to everybody, OU, the All Sports Association, everybody here at ASA, USA Softball have been terrific. The event gets bigger and better and it’s because of the media, too, because you guys pay attention to us. I think I heard it was the largest crowd of this session ever. That’s awesome. But that’s because you write stories in the paper and cover us as radio and TV people and people getting interested in the sport. So I thank you for that, because I mean from 2000 to 2015, it’s been unbelievable. And usually these chairs are filled. But I know it’s past somebody’s bedtime, but I thank you for being here because it’s been awesome — there’s no such thing as a bad day at the World Series. There’s no such thing as a bad day at the World Series. And I firmly believe that. So thank you very much.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the 10th game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 5 seed LSU defeated No. 6 seed Alabama, 5-3. The Tigers moved to 52-13 overall this season, while the loss ended the Crimson Tide’s season. Alabama finished the year with a record of 48-15.

LSU advanced to face No. 3 seed Michigan at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. In order to advance to the championship series, the Tigers will have to register two wins against the Wolverines.

In its fourth WCWS appearance (2001, ’04, ’12, ’15), LSU improved to 8-7 overall. Alabama is now 17-19 all-time (1-2 this year) in 10 WCWS appearances (2000, ’03, ’05, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’12, ’14, ’15).

Alabama struck first in the contest, scoring on an RBI single from sophomore Marisa Runyon in the first inning. The RBI gave her 80 this season, an Alabama single-season record. Runyon finished the game 2 for 4 at the plate.

The Tigers responded with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, starting with an RBI single from sophomore Sahvanna Jaquish. Junior Kelsi Kloss then hit an RBI double to left field to put LSU ahead 2-1 before scoring on a throwing error, giving it the 3-1 advantage.

LSU sophomore Bailey Landry sent a two-RBI single to right field in the second inning. Landry went 2 for 3 in the contest.

All nine of LSU’s RBIs at the 2015 WCWS have come with two outs.

LSU freshman pitcher Allie Walljasper moved to 16-5 on the season with the win. In 6.0 innings of work, she gave up three runs on six hits and walked one batter. Freshman Carley Hoover posted her fifth save of the season, pitching an inning for the Tigers.

Alabama sophomore pitcher Sydney Littlejohn fell to 16-2 this year with the loss. Littlejohn surrendered five runs on five hits, walked two batters and struck out one. Senior Leslie Jury also pitched 3.0 innings for the Crimson Tide, giving up two hits and a walk and recording four strikeouts.

Alabama mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, loading the bases with one out. The Crimson Tide managed to score two runs – one on an RBI sacrifice fly to right field from senior Jadyn Spencer and one from freshman Kayla Rettig on a wild pitch – but could not erase the deficit.

In the fourth inning, Alabama senior catcher Chaunsey Bell tallied her third throw out in three games at this year’s WCWS. Prior to the WCWS, Bell had thrown out three runners all season.

The attendance for Session 5 was 9,515, a session best and the third most all-time at the WCWS.

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2015 WCWS Game 9 Quotes and Notes Auburn 11, UCLA 10 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-9 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-9#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 02:06:23 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38402 2015 WCWS Game 9 “Quotes and Notes” Auburn 11, UCLA 10 Auburn An Interview With: COACH CLINT MYERS, CARLEE WALLACE, BRANNDI MELERO, MORGAN ESTELL THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Auburn University head coach Clint Myers, student-athlete Carlee Wallace and student-athlete Branndi Melero. Coach, opening statements. COACH MYERS: It was a long game. There’s so many […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame9

2015 WCWS Game 9 “Quotes and Notes”
Auburn 11, UCLA 10

Auburn

An Interview With: COACH CLINT MYERS, CARLEE WALLACE, BRANNDI MELERO, MORGAN ESTELL

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Auburn University head coach Clint Myers, student-athlete Carlee Wallace and student-athlete Branndi Melero. Coach, opening statements.

COACH MYERS: It was a long game. There’s so many things that could be said but I’m extremely proud of the fight. And they never quit. We beat a very, very talented well-coached team from UCLA. But it was like these kids were not going to be denied. They came here for a reason. They came here to win. We talked about it earlier. By golly, they are. I’m very proud of them. Let’s go for questions.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.

Q. Was this sort of an untypical type of game for you guys, the fact that there were some errors on the field, base running errors, but you still found a way to win the game?

COACH MYERS: Well put. Yes. Our strength has been our defense and our pitching has really pitched well. And we were a little shaky out there. And one of the things we pride ourselves on is our base running. When it came down to it, this team figured out a way to win. And like Corey (Myers) says all the time, you just have to be one run better. And tonight we were. It wasn’t pretty. But it’s still a win and we’re coming back to play tomorrow.

Q. Branndi, you guys played 17 innings today. You’re going to have to play two games tomorrow to advance. Do you guys have enough left to finish this out?

BRANNDI MELERO: Yes, sir. We prepared for this stuff in the fall. And we worked very hard, and we ran a lot to play long games like this. And I feel like we always play long games. Two games ain’t nothing.

Q. Morgan, when you’re in that situation with the bases loaded and every competitor there wants to get that game-winning hit, to have that walk-off, how much patience do you need to, know she’s been having control issues, to just sit it out and wait and know that a walk is as good as a hit at that point?

MORGAN ESTELL: I don’t think when I got up there, it wasn’t the situation I was worried about. All I was worried about was getting a good pitch and drive the ball down, hit a ground ball. Never got a pitch to do that. So, I mean, it was hard to be patient because like you said, you want to get up there and hit but the walk is as good as a hit at that point.

Q. All three of you, they scored five runnings in the third inning there and they’ve got all the momentum. I saw you all meet with the coach during that time. Just talk about how you felt at that point and if you were shaken by that at all.

BRANNDI MELERO: A little bit because I accidentally whacked Morgan (Estell) in the nose trying to tell her to come talk to Coach. But all he told us was all we need is outs. Just go out there and get outs. And I feel like we did just that.

Q. Talk about coming back the way you did scoring six runs.

MORGAN ESTELL: I was never worried because we like to do that. I don’t know why we like to do that. But we like a challenge and it just takes one quality at-bat after another. You can’t get up there and swing for the fence and nobody on base. That’s not going to help us. It just takes walks, hit by pitch, bunt, hit, anything.

CARLEE WALLACE: This team wants to fight for sure. Doesn’t matter — we tend to do better when our back’s against the wall. It would be better for coach and his health if we didn’t do that, but that’s just the way the team is wired. When there’s a call, we answer. And I think that’s the best part about this team.

Q. You guys have been in these games before, these wild games, Lafayette. Does that factor into these kind of moments? Are you used to this kind of feel?

CARLEE WALLACE: To me, it’s just another day at the office. I mean, I know that the emotions may run high, but we have a great coaching staff that has taught us how to control our emotions, control the situation, stay in the moment. So for me, I just think we take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time, and I think it doesn’t affect us at all. I think we’re very well trained in that aspect.

BRANNDI MELERO: I agree with what she just said.

Q. Clint, this team, this is the first time ever been to the College World Series and you get down by five, then you have the home run in the seventh inning. What does it say about the maturity of this team that they were able to keep coming back, even though they don’t have any experience here in this sort of setting?

COACH MYERS: It does say that they are maturing. And they’re maturing very quickly. You saw the determination. You saw the grit that they had. They grinded it out. We’ve been here since 9:00 this morning. And it’s 13 hours. And I don’t know about them, but I’m damn tired. And to go out there and perform, I didn’t hear one person bitch or moan about being tired. The only thing they talked about was, hey, we gotta win, we gotta win. So I think that the maturity level is happening at an accelerated rate. The first game, second game we really said we didn’t have some experience. But you look at the quality of games that we’ve played today alone, I mean, I think that they’re ready. I mean, tomorrow’s another day and we’re going to be playing another quality team, but there’s nothing about this team that surprises me anymore, because they are — they’re here to win.

Q. Have you ever been in a game like this before? And if not, I guess where does this rank at least as far as some of your more dramatic games that you’ve played in?

MORGAN ESTELL: I think this is the most dramatic I’ve ever been in, just because of we’re at the Women’s College World Series. There’s games that we were down by five against Alabama and down by five against ULL with two outs and came back and tied it. So it’s up there with those. But for me, by far, the most emotionally and physically draining.

BRANNDI MELERO: It was a very intense game. But like Morgan (Estell) said before, for some reason, we like to play these type of games. But just going into it, maybe tomorrow we can score our runs and then play seven innings and then that be it and then move on to the next.

CARLEE WALLACE: I would definitely say being a freshman, I’ve never experienced anything like this before. So I think it’s been an awesome ride so far, and it’s just been an honor to be part of this. And I think that this is definitely the most dramatic game I’ve been a part of so far.

Q. Branndi, could you talk about your home run? And, Morgan, could you talk about finally getting to play the Gators?

BRANNDI MELERO: I mean, the coach preaches it all the time, the home run is a byproduct of a good swing and a good pitch, and I feel I did exactly that. It’s the situation that I got put in. I wasn’t going up there looking for a home run. Just barrelling something, continue to get base hits, move people over as I’ve been doing the whole game. So the fact that it happened, it’s just a bonus.

MORGAN ESTELL: They’re a great team, but we’re just going to focus on playing the game and just do what we can do, control what we can control, and then let the outcome dictate if we play a second game.

Q. Carlee, did you eat your Wheaties today? Because you just had a game that — whatever you ate today, are you going to eat it again tomorrow?

CARLEE WALLACE: I think I’ll stick with whatever I did today. I will.

Q. Was there a good feeling today? Did you see the ball well? Talk about your day today because it’s probably one of the best you’ve had this season.

CARLEE WALLACE: I think I kind of threw out the window all the things I can’t control and just go out there and let’s play some ball. Really, there’s nothing that we have to lose. There’s nothing we have to prove, just go out there and play some ball and have some fun, because that’s what it is. It’s a game.

Q. Branndi, I’m curious. It’s funny, as this game was going on, the media were like, oh, wow, that’s going to be the big play. And you had that home run. That was a pretty big moment. It’s kind of forgotten. This could have been your last — I think you had a two-run single earlier, walked three times. This could have been your last game. So it’s a cliche question, but just how great does it feel to know that you went out guns ablazing tonight and really helped your team persevere?

BRANNDI MELERO: I’m just going out there playing like it’s my last game because it could be any minute. But like you said, it’s forgotten. And I’m happy that my teammates behind me came up and got big hits. Because it was obvious they weren’t going to throw to me again. So the fact that I can have 25 girls behind me that can go in and get the job done is exactly what I want and exactly the type of team I want to be on.

Q. In that situation, do you feel you’re pressing or you’re totally calm?

BRANNDI MELERO: I’m not pressed at all. I feel like I’ve been the most confident I’ve been all year, being here. It’s nothing new to me. I’ve been on this field before. But like I said, the fact that it could be my last game is probably what’s in my head. But it’s not going to press me or it’s not going to stress me at all. Just makes me want to do better.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

UCLA

An Interview With: COACH KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ, GABRIELLE MAURICE, MADDY JELENICKI, ALLY CARDA

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez and student-athlete Gabrielle Maurice, student-athlete Maddy Jelenicki, student- athlete Ally Carda.

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: I’d like to congratulate Auburn on a well-played game. It was a great battle going back and forth, and that’s what you would expect here at the College World Series. For my team, I’m walking away very proud of a year that was defined by great athletes, versatile selfless athletes that played and truly had each other’s backs and never stopped fighting. That’s something that you hope that you can create in a program is to have a culture that is so bought into whatever it takes to win that they will have a lasting memory, this group together. We’re led by the senior class. Wouldn’t be here without them, and the program will definitely miss them. But I commend, as I just finished talking with my team about that senior class, we wouldn’t be here. That mission started a while ago. It’s a big burden to take that on. I’m super proud of how they did it. We ended too soon, but I promise you that the UCLA softball program is back and we will be back next year. That mission starts immediately.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Ally, 205 pitches for you, walk in the winning run, just how tough was just that moment for you seeing the winning run go across the plate?

ALLY CARDA: It’s tough. Not only is the season lost, but I was more mad that I didn’t do it for everyone else. So I was mad at myself for not being able to come up with better pitches. Walking people is not the way to do it in those kind of innings. So more so just mad at myself I didn’t get it done for my team.

Q. Can you talk about the game itself, the highs and lows, and have you ever been in a game like this where there was so much drama just throughout the game?

MADDY JELENICKI: There was a lot of ups and downs throughout the game. And I think what kept us is, more than wanting to win the game, just wanting to have another game to play with this group of girls. It was probably one of the tightest group of people I’ve been on a team with. And when you’re down, you just want to get up for the next person or keep going for Ally (Carda) and just get it going for her because she was out there working the whole game.

GABRIELLE MAURICE: You know, I’m happy for our team and our seniors. It’s really a group of great girls, and I can’t wait to come back next year. I think it just makes us hungrier.

ALLY CARDA: I’m very proud of this team and I think it was a great fight all the way through the end. No, to answer your question, I haven’t been in a game like that before, I don’t think, at least with that big of a crowd and that intense of moments. So we did lose, but it was fun. It was a great experience for the younger ones. So next year they can get back after it.

Q. Coach, if you can, talk back about when, in your eyes, did this particular team that you saw a change was coming to get to this point?

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: There were several. I think every season has some defining moments, and one thing they’ve done, they’ve been very resilient. They respond to adversity. And that’s something that I think is going to allow them to be successful beyond the softball field. But softball doesn’t define them. We’ve had moments throughout the entire year, from fall to preseason, to Pac-12. Even here. And the one thing that they have a defining characteristic trait is they never quit. They don’t stop fighting. That is something that will allow them to be successful beyond. I’m super proud of that. I’m very proud of that. Specifically, I mean, I have it all written down in my coaching notebook if you want me to get dates, but there’s some specific moments where they’ve made a decision and they’ll have that for the rest of their lives, definitely.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

PostGame Notes

No. 4 seed Auburn defeated No. 7 seed UCLA by a score of 11-10 in 10 innings in the ninth game of 2015 Women’s College World Series. The Tigers moved to 56-10 overall this season, while the loss ended the Bruins’ season. UCLA finished the year with a record of 51-12.

Auburn advanced to face No. 1 seed Florida at noon CT on Sunday. In order to advance to the championship series, the Tigers will have to register two wins against the Gators.

Auburn is now 2-1 in its first WCWS appearance, while UCLA fell to 91-31 in its 25th WCWS appearance (first since 2010).

In a back-and-forth ball game, the two squads scored a combined 21 runs, second most in WCWS history (behind UCLA and Arizona’s 24 runs in 2010). It also marked the first time both teams scored at least 10 runs in a WCWS contest. In the third inning alone, UCLA and Auburn combined to score 11 runs, with five in the top of the inning and six in the bottom, respectively.

UCLA’s 17 hits tied for second most all-time in a WCWS contest (with Iowa against Michigan in 1995 in a 14 inning game).

The teams’ 26 combined hits were the fourth most ever in the WCWS.

The game ended on a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning to Auburn senior Morgan Estell, which scored Emily Carasone.

Auburn’s Lexi Davis secured the win, improving to 26-2 on the season. She threw 5.1 innings in which she gave up three runs on five hits with three walks and one strikeout. Marcy Harper and Rachael Walters also appeared for the Tigers. Harper surrendered five runs on 10 hits while walking two batters and striking out one, and Walters pitched a third of an inning.

UCLA senior pitcher Ally Carda fell to 32-8 this year. She pitched 8.2 innings, surrendering 10 hits, 10 runs, 12 walks and striking out seven batters. Selina Ta’amilo threw a third of an inning for the Bruins.

UCLA sophomore Gabrielle Maurice sent in the first runs of the contest with a three-run triple in the third, her second triple of the season. Freshman Kylee Perez then added an RBI single, and senior Gracie Goulder scored from third base with a steal.

Auburn responded with six runs of its own in the frame to take the lead. With the bases loaded, sophomore Kasey Cooper drew a walk for the Tigers’ first run. Senior Branndi Melero then recorded an RBI base hit before a wild pitch scored another run. Freshman Carlee Wallace closed with a three-run double.

The third-inning hits from Melero and Wallace were the first two for Auburn with bases loaded in the 2015 NCAA Tournament (now 2 for 19 with bases loaded).

Auburn’s Melero added to her hit total on the night with a three-run shot to left center field in the fifth inning, her first home run since April 26 and 11th of the season. Melero finished the game 3 for 3 from the plate with four RBIs and two runs.

UCLA freshman Maddy Jelenicki’s two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning put the Bruins on top again, 10-9. The home run was her ninth of the season.

Auburn responded with an RBI double from Wallace to tie it in the seventh. UCLA closed the inning with a double play to force extra innings.

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2015 WCWS Game 8 Quotes and Notes Alabama 2, Oregon 1 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-8 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-8#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 01:49:51 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38399 2015 WCWS Game 8 “Quotes and Notes” Alabama 2, Oregon 1 Alabama An Interview With: COACH PATRICK MURPHY, ALEXIS OSORIO, MARISA RUNYON, DANAE HAYS, DANIELLE RICHARD, CHANDLER DARE THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy, student-athlete Alexis Osorio, student-athlete, Marisa Runyon, student-athlete Danae Hays, student-athlete Danielle Richard and student- athlete Chandler Dare. […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame8

2015 WCWS Game 8 “Quotes and Notes”
Alabama 2, Oregon 1

Alabama

An Interview With: COACH PATRICK MURPHY, ALEXIS OSORIO, MARISA RUNYON, DANAE HAYS, DANIELLE RICHARD, CHANDLER DARE

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy, student-athlete Alexis Osorio, student-athlete, Marisa Runyon, student-athlete Danae Hays, student-athlete Danielle Richard and student- athlete Chandler Dare. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH MURPHY: I just want to say congrats to Coach (Mike) White on a heck of a year. This is the second year in a row we had to play them. And he just does a great job and a very, very good team and a hell of a pitcher. Just congrats to them. And I know at the World Series everybody is good. But she comes in and she’s 30 and 3. And just a great pitcher. But I thought Lexi (Alexis Osorio) came back bigger, better, stronger than she ever has this year, especially from Thursday night. And then I thought our defense did a really good job. And usually in the postseason you have to have good starting pitching. You have to have good team defense. And the third key is a timely hit and Chandler Dare got it.

Q. Patrick, can you talk about Chandler, I know you have a lot of options in that position and Chandler, can you talk about your big day and being a World Series hero?

CHANDLER DARE: First off, I couldn’t have done it without my two teammates on base, Dani (Danielle Richard) with the clutch hit, being out there first off. And then I was just seeing it down, see it down, see it in my zone and happened to get that pitch and drove it.

COACH MURPHY: I don’t remember when it was, but I know it was either, it was before a game or maybe the day before a game and we were going to face a lefty. And I went up to Chandler (Dare) and I said, you’re not going to freak out against a lefty, are you? She said, no, sir, my dad’s left-handed. I’ve seen a left-handed pitch since I was 3 years old. I said, okay, and I remembered that. That’s why she got the start.

Q. Chandler, is this the first game in which your hit scored the winning runs?

CHANDLER DARE: South Alabama was the other one. South Alabama was the other game.

Q. I wanted you to be able to say first time ever.

CHANDLER DARE: Thank you. At the World Series, yes.

Q. Danielle and Danae, you guys, you got the double, can you talk me through the at-bats?

DANAE HAYS: Yeah, it was my first at-bat and I was just telling myself to see a lot of pitches because it’s been an entire year since I’ve seen (Cheridan) Hawkins. So I just wanted to see a lot of pitches off of her. And it worked out in my favor. She couldn’t find the zone. And then Dani (Danielle Richard) came up.

DANIELLE RICHARD: I’m just going up there, always having a plan. Looking in. Got two strikes on me. And I just knew I had to battle, battle, battle until I could get a pitch I could hit. I think it was 3-2, and she brought one in right over the plate. I knew she would either have to bring it in over the plate or it was going to be a ball. So just a great hit, I guess.

Q. Coach, can you talk about going up against LSU tonight and the job that Beth Torina has done in the four years?

COACH MURPHY: Beth has done an awesome job. The whole organization is great. We knew it was going to be a battle. We didn’t get to play them this year. They were one of the four off our SEC schedule. I told the team I watched them probably at least 15, 16 times on TV. And top to bottom, they’re very, very good. They have a deep pitching staff. And they’ve got some pop in their lineup, specifically, with Bianka (Bell), Sahvanna (Jaquish), even the — (Bailey) Landry, the slapper, has got major pop. So it’s going to be a good matchup.

Q. Coach, three hits, I think. Do you think it’s coming around at all? Or is it just enough or is the hitting —

COACH MURPHY: I think it’s better. I thought, you know, one thing that we had said we wanted to be really aggressive. And I thought the majority of the hitters were aggressive. I know Danae (Hays), (Marisa) Runyon, Leona (Lafaele) — Chaunsey (Bell) hit the ball hard. It seemed like it was hanging up in the air today. The wind was blowing across left to right. And Runyon’s, specifically that one, I thought it had a shot but it kind of died when it hit the air. But lefty versus lefty, that really worried me. And of course the little lefty gets a double and the two RBIs on a single. So, you know, it was much better than Thursday night.

Q. Coach, Alexis, for both of you, Alexis faced one over the minimum today. Had some help with the caught stealing. What was working, what helped get through this game?

ALEXIS OSORIO: Everything — pretty much my curve and back-door curve were working really well today. I was moving it off the plate. Me and Steph (Stephanie VanBrakle) had a game plan that we were going to work back and off the plate. We weren’t going to give them anything too sweet for them to hit. My rise ball, it came in handy when I really needed it.

COACH MURPHY: I thought her spin was awesome. I know one of her backdoor curves, you could hear it as it crossed the plate. It was spinning that much. So for a freshman to do what she did against a really, really good hitting team, it’s a great feat.

Q. Patrick, didn’t have a lot of hits. How much did it help, I think five of the last six games coming into this you had seen a lefty? And also how big was the pick-off, the caught-stealing play there, especially for the fielder to stay with it?

COACH MURPHY: Number one, that was huge. It was a good throw and she probably would have been safe if she would have stayed on. But Demi (Turner) kept the tag and that was a huge out. And then lefty, we were kind of lucky that we saw Paige Parker for three games, and we saw the young lady from Washington for two games, about 12 innings. So we saw 12 innings in regionals, 21 innings in Super Regionals. And I think everybody was okay with it. They’ve seen so much of it the last three weekends, I don’t think it fazed them.

Q. Marisa, can you just talk about this past week for you, last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, grand slam, come back here, lose on Thursday, help the team win today, what has it been like for you?

MARISA RUNYON: It’s been fun. Last weekend I was struggling, obviously. And I’ve told a lot of people I just went up to at-bat and looked for a pitch to hit. And the greatest part was meeting my team at home plate and celebrating with them. And we still had to get three outs. But coming back, we’re just living in the moment here and playing where our feet are. And it’s fun to keep on going, and as Haylie (McCleney) said yesterday, why not us? And we’re just going to keep fighting and fighting to wear the jersey again.

Q. Patrick, what are the advantages and disadvantages of having yesterday off, because it seemed you get a day to rest but now you’ve got to turn right around and play again?

COACH MURPHY: That’s the big disadvantage. You’ve got to play two today, two tomorrow, if you can get there. So you’re playing back-to-back doubleheaders which hardly ever happens anymore in college softball. SEC plays Friday, Saturday, Sunday — single, single, single. The doubleheader really hasn’t come into our play since probably the last weekend of February when we played a tournament at home and played two games on a Saturday. Advantage, I think you can use that day off to wash away the bad. And we had about an hour and a half practice, and we ended it with staff batting practice, which is one of the most fun times we had. Everybody from the SID to the radio guy to the managers to our boss, Marie Robbins, the SWA. And our team doctor, who was a former baseball player at Alabama that took me deep, that everybody was really impressed with. So it lightened the mood. It was the end of practice and you saw a lot of smiles and laughs, and that’s what we need at this time because it’s really — it’s still the three things, the pitching, the team defense and then the key hit. I still think that’s the recipe.

Q. Alexis, did you know any of the hitters from the traveling circuit and secondly your coach said bigger, better, stronger than ever. What enabled you to do a couple of days after the opening round?

ALEXIS OSORIO: Oregon has really good hitters. And me and Steph (Stephanie VanBrakle) have been talking about that since yesterday that we were just going to go right at them, and like I said before we weren’t going to give them anything too good to hit. And just working it off the plate. And then — I’ve known like one of them, maybe a couple of them. I knew Nikki Udria and then Lauren Lindvall. I knew I had to — I was going to do whatever it took to help the team, just coming back stronger and getting mentally tougher the next game, and fighting to wear the jersey the next day.

Q. Danae and Danielle, when she said fighting to wear the jersey one more day, how important was it for you guys to not end this on a 0-2 and you have a whole day to think about this game and not over- think that this could have been the last game?

DANAE HAYS: After this tournament is over with, I can speak for me and Danielle (Richard) both, our softball career is done for. And our passion for this game for the past four years is gi-normous. And the heart we have for this game as five seniors, we just love it. We also love our teammates just as much as the game. And we want to win the game for our teammates. And I know they want to win them for us. And it’s easy to over-think something when you have an entire day. But I don’t know it’s not really in the back of my mind that this could be the very end. Because I’m just trying to win a ballgame. So as of yesterday I didn’t really put too much thought into win or loss. I just knew we had to give our team the best chance to win, so…

DANIELLE RICHARD: I just think the good part about having the day off yesterday is we just got to be around each other and enjoy each other’s company. And I think it helps take our mind off who we’re about to play and keep us from over-thinking, ah, I should have done this, should have done that in the last game. You be where your feet are. That’s just what we’re best at and just hanging with the girls and that helps us keep our mind right.

Q. Your thoughts on playing LSU tonight? You played big games over the years obviously and now it’s on a huge stage here in Oklahoma City?

DANAE HAYS: All I can say is thank God it’s not in Tiger Park. That’s a tough place to play at. But we’re just excited about playing them. I was kind of disappointed this year when I didn’t see them on the schedule. They’re always a really fun team to play and compete against and they have great players with, they’re just really nice people as well. And so I’m really looking forward to playing them and it’s going to be a really fun game.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Alabama

An Interview With: COACH MIKE WHITE, JANIE TAKEDA, JENNA LILLEY, CHERIDAN HAWKINS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Oregon head coach Mike White, student-athlete Janie Takeda, student-athlete Jenna Lilley and student-athlete Cheridan Hawkins.

COACH WHITE: As usual, I congratulate the winner, which is Alabama. Did a good job. (Alexis) Osorio pitched a great game against us, and they were very opportunistic again with some timely hitting there in the lower order. I want to thank our athletic director, Rob Mullens, senior women’s administrator, Lisa Peterson, and all our support staff for really getting behind us this year throughout the whole year and especially in the postseason. I don’t know what it is: We’re a very consistent team. Over the three years we’ve played extremely well. We won three 12 Pac championships in a row which puts us on the level playing field with Arizona and UCLA. But unfortunately we haven’t found a way yet to get over the hurdle here at the big one but that doesn’t mean we didn’t try. I’m very proud of our team, the way they conduct themselves both off and on the field, in the classroom, and as a family. I think that’s one of the things a lot of our recruits say, we’re a family and we care about each other, and I think that’s very true. And again just very proud of our team the way they left it out in the field, didn’t work the way we wanted, but we’re sure as heck going to try to be back here next year.

Q. Coach, can you share your thoughts on your hitters against Osorio?

COACH WHITE: We had a game plan. And unfortunately we just didn’t have the discipline at the plate. And we expanded the strike zone. I’m not sure if that was because of the umpire’s strike zone. I think it was pretty inconsistent. And that’s all I’ll say on that. And kind of made it a little tough for us. Obviously we can’t blame that person for that. That happens. We’ve got to be better than that. But we still chased some balls out of the strike zone, which is not going to do well against any pitcher the level of (Alexis) Osorio.

Q. Cheridan, talk about that struggle early at least in the second and gave up the two runs but you settled down the rest of the game, what was the difference for you?

CHERIDAN HAWKINS: I think I made a mistake, and I missed my spot, and that ball just happened to land. And it was unlucky, but I think I just realized if I really wanted to give my team and our offense a chance to win I had to keep it at two runs. So I definitely just tried to limit the number of people on base and do the best I could to give our offense an opportunity.

Q. Cheridan, when you said you missed your spot, are you talking about to (Chandler) Dare, on the single, the two-run single?

CHERIDAN HAWKINS: Yes.

Q. Secondly, it appeared that there were some inconsistencies with you getting the outside corner call. Did you have kind of a time dealing with that in the first couple of innings before you found your rhythm?

CHERIDAN HAWKINS: I think it’s just best to try not to let things you can’t control get to you. I just tried to ignore it the best I could, keep attacking the strike zone and throw the ball where I thought I might get the calls.

Q. Jenna and Janie, you’re at different spots in your careers in terms of this experience and how it fits in the continuum. Could you each reflect on this, Janie, what it’s like to get here three times? Did you feel much more comfortable? Did you feel like you benefited from that experience at all this time, and Jenna what you took from this and what you’ll take going forward?

JANIE TAKEDA: I think every time we come back here we’ll learn something new. Coach says no loss ever goes in vain. So we take what we learn and apply it to next year. Unfortunately you have to wait a whole year to get back here. But I mean, I just think our players are amazing people, amazing players, and I think they’ll just keep working because that’s what our team does. And I think that they’re going to figure it out hopefully next year. And I think that hopefully the seniors left them with something to take with them.

JENNA LILLEY: I would say that wherever you are, the game always stays the same. And I just want to thank being around people like Janie (Takeda) has made me a better player, teammate, and person. And I’ve learned a lot from her, playing with her, just seeing everything that she does. So having people like Janie as your teammate, definitely a blessing.

Q. Janie, wonder if you could put in perspective for us the type of year that Jenna Lilley had, maybe focus on something a little more positive here. I know you guys are pretty crushed with the loss. But for a freshman to come in and impact you guys with such electricity and it’s obvious how much this loss has crushed her. It’s great to see that from a freshman. So just summarize that.

JANIE TAKEDA: I think Jenna (Lilley) as a player is more mature beyond her years. She inspires everyone on the field with her work ethic. And just the focus she has up to bat is not a freshman. And I’ve said since January she’s going to be a four-time All-American. She’s just incredible. Like I just wish that I was at that level as a freshman. It’s incredible. And I just can’t wait to see what she does over her four years and after that.

Q. Jenna, just from your perspective, from what I understand, Lauren Lindvall may have seen from the summer circuit the pitching of (Alexis) Osorio a little bit. Did she pass along anything to you; and just from your hitter’s perspective, can you describe what you saw from her on the mound today, in the circle?

JENNA LILLEY: I actually faced her last summer. I want to say once or twice. But, yeah, very similar, improved a lot. But definitely a similar game as she did last summer.

Q. Velocity?

JENNA LILLEY: Yeah, velocity. It’s all relative as to what you see every day. So I think she definitely matured as a player. Hats off to her. She did a nice job.

Q. Can you just talk about the season in general, even though obviously exiting a little bit earlier than you wanted to, Coach, but talk about how the season has gone, especially coming into the tournament?

COACH WHITE: Well, I think, you know, having, starting off, starting last year, the end of last year was supposed to be a rebuilding process. And we were able to pick up a couple of nice transfers in (Hailey) Decker and (Geri Ann) Glasco, and then all of a sudden we changed from a rebuilding year to, hey, we have a shot here. It took us a little while to get clicking. And I thought halfway through the season, starting with that pivotal series against UCLA, I thought we were really starting to hit the ball pretty well, pitched well, and everything was coming together. The last weeks of the postseason we were really fielding well, we were making some great plays and everything was starting to go, hey, this is good, we’re doing well. But unfortunately, sometimes it’s the luck of the draw and having to play against a team that knows us very well, and they kind of got off to a great start and having to play at 10:30 at night. I’m not trying to make excuses, but there’s a lot of things that goes into these types of stuff and the luck of the draw and the luck of the play of the game, and so it just didn’t turn out for us. I don’t know the reason for it. But we’re playing here for a reason, it’s going to make us better and stronger and be able to come back and finally bust through. We have to come out with some determination and we have to make it happen because right now we’re just leaving our best game not in this environment. And that’s what we’ve got to change. We’ve got to find a way to elevate our game to the game we can play in this environment.

Q. Janie, as a senior on the team of a school that devotes itself to football, is there now an awareness that you’ve got one of the best softball teams in the country on that same campus?

JANIE TAKEDA: I definitely think so. I think Howe Field has become a mini Autzen Stadium, that’s where our football team plays. It’s a great college town, and becoming a Duck was the best decision I made in my life because you don’t get that all the time. And I think just living in Eugene with that community and how much support they put behind our softball program for the past few years has been incredible. Especially because football dominates people’s interests usually in that town. So I definitely think Oregon softball is growing exponentially in Eugene.

Q. Janie, you’re part of a senior class that’s had more career victories than any other class in program history. What does that mean to you?

JANIE TAKEDA: I think it’s a testament to Coach White. We’re his first recruiting class. It’s a huge honor just getting anything we could do to get the team closer to a national championship and the more you win, the closer you get to that. So we just all feel really honored to be a part of this program.

COACH WHITE: I’m honored to be their coach. It has been a pleasure to have these players starting from very first year six years ago to start to buy into new concepts. It takes a little bit — it doesn’t just take a little bit, it takes a lot of trust to do things that are against some conventional wisdom. But starting with this class and what’s made it easier for us as coaches and coaching staff is, are these players, are these seniors because they help revolve things around, they turn it around for us without having for us to do everything ourselves. And so I want to thank them again, the senior class of Janie Takeda, Jamie Rae Sullivan, Sara Goodrum and Karissa Hovinga, because they’ve been tremendous athletes and people. That’s the best thing I can say. I’m proud of this team, over and beyond, on and off the field, they’ve been tremendous for this university and for this program.

Q. Alabama, they’re a nemesis, they’re a thorn for you, aren’t they?

COACH WHITE: Them and Florida. But they’ve been here a few more times than us. And I think we match up very well on paper, but the difference is they had the big hit at the big time and had some big pitches at the big time. That’s the difference in this game sometimes. And again we’ve got to go back and figure out a way to make this work. We’ll get it done. It’s going to take us a while maybe, but we’ll get it done.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the eighth game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 6 seed Alabama defeated No. 2 seed Oregon, 2-1. The Crimson Tide improved to 48-14 overall this season with the win, while the loss ended the Ducks’ season. Oregon finished the year with a 51-8 record.

Alabama will next face No. 5 seed LSU at 8:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The winner of that contest will advance to play No. 3 seed Michigan at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday.

In its 10th WCWS appearance (2000, ’03, ’05, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’12, ’14, ’15), Alabama improved to 17-18 overall. Oregon is now 4-8 overall (0-2 this year) in four WCWS appearances (1989, 2012, ’14, ’15).

Both pitchers turned in strong performances, with Alabama freshman Alexis Osorio earning the win. Osorio, who moved to 22-9 on the season, gave up one run on three hits. She struck out nine batters and walked just two in a complete game’s work.

Osorio tallied 111 total pitches on Saturday, marking the sixth time in her seven starts in the 2015 NCAA Tournament that she has thrown at least 100.

Oregon junior pitcher Cheridan Hawkins fell to 30-5 this year with the loss. In six innings, Hawkins gave up two runs, three hits and three walks and struck out seven batters.

Sophomore Chandler Dare put the Crimson Tide ahead with a two-RBI single to right field in the second inning. In the game, Dare went 2 for 2 with two RBIs.

Oregon added a run in the third inning on an RBI single from senior Janie Takeda. Takeda finished the game 2 for 3 at the plate.

In the fifth inning, Alabama senior catcher Chuansey Bell caught Oregon’s Takeda stealing second base. Prior to the WCWS, Bell had thrown out three runners. In two games in Oklahoma City, she has caught two. For Takeda, it was just the third time this season she was thrown out stealing.

Oregon finished with single-season school records in batting average (.359), slugging percentage (.593), runs per game (7.4), RBIs (399), doubles (97), home runs (81), walks (250) and total bases (927).

Saturday marked the first time Oregon has lost back-to-back games since 2013.

Total attendance for Session 4 was 9,094, the ninth largest session all-time.

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2015 WCWS Game 7 Quotes and Notes Auburn 4, Tennessee 2 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-7 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-7#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 01:38:57 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38398 2015 WCWS Game 7 “Quotes and Notes” Auburn 4, Tennessee 2 Auburn An Interview With: COACH CLINT MYERS, CARLEE WALLACE, RACHAEL WALTERS THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Auburn University Head Coach Clint Myers, student-athlete Carlee Wallace and student-athlete Rachael Walters. Coach, general comments about the game. COACH MYERS: First, I want to congratulate Tennessee on […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame7

2015 WCWS Game 7 “Quotes and Notes”
Auburn 4, Tennessee 2

Auburn

An Interview With: COACH CLINT MYERS, CARLEE WALLACE, RACHAEL WALTERS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Auburn University Head Coach Clint Myers, student-athlete Carlee Wallace and student-athlete Rachael Walters. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH MYERS: First, I want to congratulate Tennessee on a great season. They’re coached by dear friends and they’re well coached. They’re great athletes. And they’ve had a tremendous season. They’re one of the eight best in the country. I would say this young lady to my right (Rachael Walters), the little Choompa Loompa (Carlee Wallace) over here to my far right really came out big today. I mean Rachael just attacked. I mean, here it is and it was good to see. I thought it was well played. We made an error, which was kind of a first for us. But overall I thought we really played well and we’re excited and we’re going to start getting prepared for the next one.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Carlee, you like to play Tennessee, huh, couple of big hits against them?

CARLEE WALLACE: I do.

Q. Talk about your double, what kind of pitch it was?

CARLEE WALLACE: I know I hit a changeup, I finally hit one to right center. It was a great feeling. I knew I had to put a good team at-bat together. I had to find a way to get the run in. We’ve had too many runners on base this season, especially at third base and not scored them. I was looking for a pitch out over the plate and do as much damage as I could.

Q. Rachael, looked like your changeup was working today coming in in relief?

RACHAEL WALTERS: That’s actually my off-speed drop ball, but it correlates as a changeup because I don’t always have a lot of success with it. I don’t know, it worked well today because it’s good to throw off the hitters a little bit, especially Tennessee, because they swing away. Just trying to mix up speeds and throw them off, which worked out in my advantage.

Q. How do you spell and how do you define Choompa Loompa?

COACH MYERS: It’s not going to me. I’m a coach so spelling is out.

CARLEE WALLACE: Choompa. It’s like an Oompa Loompa with a “ch” in front of it. I don’t know. I got the name Oompa Loompa, and then Coach messed it up in practice and said Choompa Loompa, and I guess it just kind of stuck.

COACH MYERS: Coach did not mess it up. (Laughter).

Q. For all three of you, you’ve done something else now that Auburn had never done before. How important was it for that to happen for you not to come here and go two and done?

RACHAEL WALTERS: I think it was important for us as a team just to win, not so much set history. But we came here to win the whole thing. And going home in two games was not part of the plan. And we had a little setback the first game, but you know, now we’re ready.

CARLEE WALLACE: Losing is not an option for this team. I think now it’s really not an option. We’re going to fight until we’ve got absolutely nothing left to give on the field. And I think it’s a testament to our character and how we fight and there’s a lot of fight left in this team. So I think it was just important for us to come out and prove to ourselves that we’re fine, we’re going to fight through this.

COACH MYERS: It’s important to win. I mean, regardless of which team it is. I mean, we’ve said that since day one. This program is going to win. And these ladies are setting a legacy for future Auburn teams, and they’re setting it in the right way. They’re playing hard. Like Carlee (Wallace) said, there’s no option. Now we’re going to leave it on the field. And we’re going to play a good UCLA team and we’re going to battle our ass off.

Q. Clint, Tennessee has had some come-from- behind wins this season. Were you feeling comfortable with the four-run lead?

COACH MYERS: Well, you said it. We only beat them by two, so they are capable of putting crooked numbers on the board anytime. They’re a very, very good team. They can swing it. They just — they just got beat by a pitcher that was really pitching very well.

Q. This tournament has kind of a unique setup where you lose the first day you’re, quote/unquote, rewarded by getting a day off. Curious whether you were chomping at the bit wanting to play right away or if you use that as a positive. Coach or players, if that played a role in today?

CARLEE WALLACE: I think that we took it, as obviously it left a bad taste in our mouths after LSU. No one likes to go out and lose the way we did. But I think we used the day off. We went out, we practiced and we kept it business-like, and we knew there were things we needed to work on. But we also took the day off to kind of realize and understand that there are a lot of teams that are sitting, watching us play right now. And that we never want to take for granted the fact that, yeah, we may have lost but there’s a lot of games left to play. And I think we have another chance to redeem ourselves and I think that’s kind of the driving force for today’s game. Just don’t take for granted the games we have to play.

RACHAEL WALTERS: I agree with Carlee. Obviously it was kind of hard watching the winner’s bracket play last night while we’re sitting in the hotel. But we definitely used yesterday to regroup and practice and just prepare for today. But then again we went out and we had fun and we enjoyed the day with our families and experienced Oklahoma for what it is. And the day off wasn’t — it was just to get better and prepare for today.

COACH MYERS: We used the day to prepare for Tennessee. What they said were all great words and very accurate. But we went and swung the bat and worked on our swings. And we ended up with seven hits. We’re capable of more. And we need to. But also we took and gave them a mental day off. They didn’t have to really think. They got to go to Dave & Busters and play games for a couple of hours like they were 6 or 8. And we had other people that were really having a lot of fun doing that. And then they bought their prizes with their tickets and we went to a museum. The Oklahoma City Monument Museum. This way they also got a sense of reality. And we’re playing a game. The people that lost their lives in that was a tragedy, unnecessary, but reality to kind of go. So that kind of sets in and protects us as a body and sets forth what we want to do and what we want to accomplish. Because you just don’t know. It was a good day.

Q. Clint, in your opinion was this one of the better coaching jobs for Ralph and Karen, given their inexperience in that they were able to make it to this stage?

COACH MYERS: Well, Ralph and Karen are great coaches. They’re great people. I mean, I love them both. We’ve been friends for years. Somebody did an article that Ralph and I combined in age is well past the decade mark and close to 4,000 games. So, I mean, there was little experience. But it is a situation in which they have done a phenomenal job. But this team was not young tonight. They really weren’t. They had some things that we’re facing. But after 60 games there are no more freshmen. There are athletes out there who have really been prepared. We don’t have freshmen anymore. Like, 60 games does a lot of confidence building. And they did things to draw back on all season long and it prepares them. They did a great job. Their teams did a great job.

Q. Rachael, you came in, faced seven batters, struck out five of them, basically shut the door on Tennessee. What — is that what your teammates come to expect of you now in this kind of relief role? You’ve been doing this for the last few appearances you’ve made. Is that what they’ve come to expect what you expect of yourself in a relief role?

RACHAEL WALTERS: My kind of forte is throwing to lefties. So my curveball works to my advantage to them. Coming today Corey (Myers) told me you need to have your curveball working and your rise ball working on the inside. So that’s all I focused on in the bullpen. I think I’m comfortable coming in as a closer and kind of helping us out of tough situations now, especially in the end of the season. That’s what I like to do. That’s what I’m good at. And I think my teammates see that as well.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Tennessee

An Interview With: COACH RALPH WEEKLY, CHEYANNE TARANGO, ANNIE ALDRETE, TORY LEWIS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by coach Ralph Weekly, student-athlete Annie Aldrete, student-athlete Tory Lewis, student-athlete Cheyanne Tarango. Coach.

COACH R. WEEKLY: I’d like to thank the NCAA, the ASA, national committee and the city of Oklahoma City for hosting us. It’s been a great few days. And congratulate Auburn. We’re very proud of our team. About mid-season we challenged our team, what is going to be your legacy? What legacy are you going to leave at Tennessee? We’ve been a team — in fact we’re team No. 20 at Tennessee. We’ve been a softball program for 20 years. And seven of those have ended in Oklahoma City. There’s not very many programs that can say that. They left the legacy of being one of those teams, and I’m very proud of them. I’m very proud of every player on our team, especially these three young ladies up here. But obviously we would have liked to finish. But what I told them inside, we’ve got three 3s and two 2s and nobody remembers that either. The only thing people remember is who was there and who won it. So we’re proud.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Annie, for you, just how frustrating were these last few weeks for you even though you didn’t get the result you wanted today, just get a couple of hits, is that momentum for next season?

ANNIE ALDRETE: Yeah, I think it’s momentum. I’m not really concerned with myself. I’m just proud of my team we made it this far. I don’t care if I went 0 for 20 or 20 for 20. I’m just glad we could make it here. And I’m proud of my team for everybody stepping up the whole year.

Q. Tory, now that it’s over, what does it feel like for you, just you’ve been here three times now and kind of sum it up with this particular trip and what your feelings are right now?

TORY LEWIS: Like Annie (Aldrete) said, I’m just proud of my team and my teammates. We did something that people didn’t think we were going to do. So, I mean, I am happy I got to finish my last season here. I got to finish three out of my four seasons at the World Series. What more could you ask? A lot of people don’t get to come. There’s so many teams that have only been here one or two times. And I got to come three times.

Q. Was this any different that you weren’t really supposed to be here, a lot of people thought that during the season anyway?

TORY LEWIS: I think it was — it felt a little more special because people doubted us. The other two times people expected us to come here. This year the whole year was full of doubt. So we proved a lot of people wrong. We got here, played two games. We came out strong. We came out hot. I’m proud of my team.

Q. Cheyanne, the first batter you faced got a hit but after that you rebounded really well. What was your mindset and how did you brush off that first at-bat?

CHEYANNE TARANGO: I just went out there trying to throw strikes and let my pitches do what they’re supposed to do and just give my team a chance to come back and win the game.

Q. Coach, if you can, when did the team make a change that you saw in your eyes that they were destined to finish the season strong?

COACH R. WEEKLY: It started right after the first SEC weekend, when we lost two out of three to South Carolina, who is a good team in our league. But we challenged our players really strongly at that point. And they responded and continued to respond. And I’d like to add something to the question that you just asked Cheyanne (Tarango). Cheyanne was injured the day before our season started, and she missed, what, six weeks, something, close to six weeks. And we had a conversation near, right around that time when she was scheduled to come back, whether she should redshirt or not. And Karen (Weekly) and I strongly encouraged her to redshirt. We told her there will be some good times ahead and there’s just as good a chance as this team to go to the World Series as any other. And she chose to stay with the team and she’s been such an important part of the team. Because she could have applied for a redshirt. But I’ll always be appreciative of that.

Q. Could you follow up on just her performance today, both the clutch pinch hit and pitching?

COACH R. WEEKLY: We know it’s there. And she’s helped us so many times. It goes back to the Alabama series two years ago, when she came in with the bases loaded and put them down one, two, three. But she’s pitched some quality games. I mean, hitting was what got us to the playoffs. But pitching has got us through the playoffs. And Cheyanne (Tarango)’s been a big part of that.

Q. The big inning today, it eluded you all. You had chances, several chances. Auburn did get the big inning, just kind of how did you see the way that played out?

COACH R. WEEKLY: Coach (Clint) Myers and I were talking about that. You know, when you’ve got two good teams, luck figures into the thing. And he was talking about the slow grounder that went down the third baseline that nobody, Derek Jeter couldn’t have got that one. And then the fly ball that the wind held up and, yes, maybe we could have made that play. But we didn’t. But we ran ourselves out of the game. I think everybody would agree with that. And that’s not negative toward anybody. When you hit a line drive like that, usually everybody is on the move any how. So we had the bases loaded twice and got doubled off. But that happens when you play aggressive. And we challenged our kids to play aggressive. There was nothing dumb about it. We just ran ourselves out of it.

Q. Cheyanne and Tory, what do you think is the outlook for this team next season? And how do you feel about the state that you’re leaving the program in?

CHEYANNE TARANGO: Honestly, I think this team is a great team. It will improve with more games, especially with new players coming in. I know that they’re going to play hard and attack pitches, and like I said go off of what we did this year. So I think they’ll start off great and keep doing better.

TORY LEWIS: I agree completely. The team we have right now, they grew tremendously throughout the season. So just imagine that next year, like they, the experience that all our freshmen got is just going to help them so much more next year and then help the people coming in, when we have a lot of people coming in. So I think it’s going to be amazing next year.

COACH R. WEEKLY: We’re returning eight of nine hitters in the batting order. And we’ve got 12 recruits coming in off an incoming class that’s rated No. 2 in the country. So I think the sky’s the limit, but they’re going to have to work hard.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

The No. 4 seed Auburn Tigers defeated No. 7 seed Tennessee by a score of 4-2 in the seventh game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series. The Tigers are now 55-10 overall this season, while the loss ended the Lady Vols’ season. Tennessee finished the year with a 47-17 mark.

With the win, Auburn will next play at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday against No. 7 seed UCLA. The winner of that contest will advance to face No. 1 seed Florida at noon CT on Sunday.

Auburn is now 1-1 in its first WCWS appearance, while Tennessee dropped to 15-14 all-time (0-2 this year) in its seventh WCWS appearance (2005, ’06, ’07, ’10, ’12, ’13, ‘15).

Auburn junior pitcher Lexi Davis earned the win, improving to 25-2 on the season. She allowed two runs on nine hits, walked one batter and struck out another in 4.2 innings. Junior Rachael Walters earned her fourth save of the year, pitching 2.1 innings with no runs, no hits and no walks while adding five strikeouts.

The Tigers opened the scoring in the third inning, adding all four runs with two outs in the frame. Sophomore Haley Fagan provided the first run with an RBI single before freshman Carlee Wallace added a two-run RBI double to right center. Junior Jade Rhodes then doubled down the left field line for an RBI. Fagan finished the game 2 for 3 from the plate, Wallace went 2 for 2 and Rhodes was 1 for 2.

In the fourth inning, Tennessee got on the board via an RBI double from sophomore Shaliyah Geathers, cutting Auburn’s lead to 4-1.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, Tennessee senior Cheyanne Tarango came in as a pinch hitter and sent an RBI single to right field, bringing the Lady Vols within two runs of the Tigers.

Auburn turned two double plays in the contest, one to close the second inning and another in the fifth. They were the Tigers’ seventh and eighth double plays of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee junior pitcher Erin Gabriel fell to 17-8 this season with the loss. She allowed four runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of play. She also walked two batters and struck out one. Tarango spent 4.1 innings in the circle for the Lady Vols, giving up a hit and a walk.

The two-run margin was the closest of this year’s WCWS, the previous being four runs.

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2015 WCWS Game 6 Quotes and Notes Michigan 10, UCLA 4 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-6 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-6#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 01:21:22 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38395 2015 WCWS Game 6 “Quotes and Notes” Michigan 10, UCLA 4 Michigan An Interview with: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, KELSEY SUSALLA, KELLY CHRISTNER, LINDSAY MONTEMARANO, HAYLIE WAGNER THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by University of Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, Kelsey Susalla, Kelly Christner, Lindsay Montemarano and Haylie Wagner. Coach, general comments about the game. COACH HUTCHINS: […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame6

2015 WCWS Game 6 “Quotes and Notes”
Michigan 10, UCLA 4

Michigan

An Interview with: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, KELSEY SUSALLA, KELLY CHRISTNER, LINDSAY MONTEMARANO, HAYLIE WAGNER

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by University of Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, Kelsey Susalla, Kelly Christner, Lindsay Montemarano and Haylie Wagner. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH HUTCHINS: That was a game. What a great game. Exciting. I’m so excited for my kids and I’m so proud of them. And we were down — we weren’t just down, they were going after us. And that is one heck of a hitting lineup. And I think it’s the best one we’ve seen all year. They were just going to threaten the whole game. Haylie Wagner was as great as I’ve ever seen her. She didn’t get to pitch in the World Series two years ago. She was injured when we got here and she didn’t see a pitch. All year long, she said I didn’t get to pitch in the World Series. It’s driven her all year. I couldn’t be prouder of her. Because she shut down a really great lineup. But all these kids sitting up here and all the kids in the locker room, we just play one pitch at a time. We didn’t get ahead of ourselves. We didn’t get down on ourselves. We just fought pitch after pitch. And every pitch of the game I couldn’t be more happy for them. And I’m really happy to have a day off.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Haylie and Kelsey, could you explain how that experience in the Super Regional against Georgia helped you guys play from behind today?

HAYLIE WAGNER: I just think going out there when we were at the Georgia Super Regional we played as a team and we did the exact same thing today. We were one heart, one heartbeat, and we played together and we kept chipping away afterwards. We knew they were going to come after us and we just attacked back.

KELSEY SUSALLA: In practice we do a drill too, where we actually come from behind to simulate what happened today. So it’s definitely not something new to us and we, I think, executed well.

Q. Haylie, you also, if I’m correct you were losing 3- 0 to Michigan State that rainy night and 3-0 here and 3-0 Georgia. That’s a wild coincidence to come in three times down 3-0 and win all three?

HAYLIE WAGNER: Each time I knew that Megan (Betsa) knew I had her back and I knew that she had mine every step of the way. And I think that’s what’s been great for us all year is that we know we have each other’s backs so we could come in for each other at any time. I knew that they were attacking and I had to attack right back, and I wasn’t going to let them beat me.

Q. Carol, talk about the way that your team played seven innings, that had to make a coach happy. And also the small ball. Doing the little things. Abby was such a big part of the game and talk about those two things.

COACH HUTCHINS: The thing is, I don’t think we played seven innings. We just play one pitch at a time. You only have to play one pitch, and the kids really embrace that and they really execute it well. And we weren’t worried about seven innings at any point in time. We were just worried about the next pitch.

Q. And the small ball, the little things, the attack.

COACH HUTCHINS: It was just really key for us to get bases — getting bases, and we don’t use the bunt a whole lot. But I think biggest for us was just finding a way to keep attacking and getting on base.

Q. Any of you could answer this. The catch by Sierra Lawrence in center field, what did you see and what did it do for the team?

LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: We really build off each other. We’ve grown close as a family and we like to focus on each other. When one of us makes a big play, all of us get excited because it wasn’t just her play it was our play because we play together. So it really just fired us up and momentum is huge we just kept that momentum going.

HAYLIE WAGNER: I just think that seeing her make that play is that I knew I could trust my defense. And I just knew that no matter where the ball was hit they were going to get it done. If it was catchable, it was going to be caught. And I just had all the trust in her. Like Monte (Lindsay Montemarano) said, we’re family. If somebody makes a play, we all make the play.

KELLY CHRISTNER: Right before that inning actually, me and Kelsey (Susalla) and Sierra (Lawrence) were out in the outfield talking and she just didn’t have the normal confidence she has in left. I said you’re going to get a huge defensive play right now because you haven’t gotten a ball yet in the World Series. You’re going to make a huge play. And then she made that play and she came in and got a huge hit. I think just the momentum that built off of that was huge.

ABBY RAMIREZ: Off the bat I saw it but then I lost it in the lights, so I just saw Sierra’s body slide. It was just definitely a great play on her part and definitely a confidence booster for Haylie (Wagner) knowing we have her back.

Q. Kelly, after two innings where the team wasn’t able to score any runs what adjustments were you guys making in the batter’s box to get better at- bats against UCLA pitches?

KELLY CHRISTNER: I think honestly we were just trying to go out there and get our cuts. We knew (Ally) Carda was going to give us something early to hit in the count. So we just wanted to attack it from the very beginning and not let any good pitches go by.

Q. Hutch, I have two questions also. The first is (Megan) Betsa, what was going on in that first inning and was she tired from yesterday’s game?

COACH HUTCHINS: I don’t think she was tired. Tough to come back out the second night. I personally just felt she knew they were a good hitting team. They came out and hit her best pitch, her changeup, to the fence. And that can definitely wear on your confidence. They were swinging. They were aggressive. She got on her heels a little bit. She didn’t attack them. She wasn’t fading the ball as well. So she’ll be better. She’ll be back.

Q. Haylie, Hutch (Carol Hutchins) has talked about the motivation not pitching. How has that motivated you this season and what did this game do for you?

HAYLIE WAGNER: Like I said two years ago I didn’t get to pitch in the World Series. And just coming out here I knew my chance was going to come. When it was coming I was going to do my best. I’m at the World Series and I’m just going to leave it all out on the field. This entire year and last year I just wanted to come out and get back here and experience this atmosphere and just work my butt off and trust my team no matter what and just coming out here and having the motivation behind me and the trust in my teammates has been great.

Q. Coach, not only was the game close, but so were a lot of the plays. What makes the game of softball close and especially in the World Series, how slim is the margin for error?

COACH HUTCHINS: Pretty slim. I mean, every pitch of the game matters. Every out matters. Every base matters. You never know how important a run is going to be or an out is going to be and why it’s so important. You just attack every play and play your heart out and we played our hearts out.

Q. Kelly and Kelsey, you both hit so well and you never want to brag about how you’re hitting. I thought it would be interesting: Kelly, could you talk about what Kelsey is doing well, and Kelsey talk about what Kelly is doing well?

KELLY CHRISTNER: She’s going out there with the confidence I know she has seeing the ball really well attacking early in the count. Even if she has a bad swing or a bad pitch or bad at-bat she comes back and attacks at the very next one.

KELSEY SUSALLA: I’d have to say the same for Kelly. Definitely just going up there with a swagger on her and knowing that she was going to get the job done, puts good contact on the ball and puts it in play.

Q. More concise question for you tonight. Coach, it’s always great to see a team in person because you can see the whole field as it’s developing and also for you Kelsey, the way you guys run the bases. Aggressive but economical, not a lot of wasted movement. Kelsey going first to third and then Ramirez motoring in on the slap fly. Is that something that you worked on this year in particular or is it a tribute to the players — just the role that plays? Everyone knows about your home runs. Kelsey and Coach, if you could talk about that?

KELSEY SUSALLA: Okay. We practiced it a lot in practice, running bases and running them well. So definitely that’s part of the game that’s really important and can be the difference between your season ending and going on. So, definitely just being aggressive and taking extra bases when we can.

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, we’ve got some good speed. Throughout our lineup, there’s only a couple of kids that really don’t run well. And I won’t name them here tonight. And I think we’re fitter than we’ve ever been. We’ve worked hard in the offseason. And we just — we have a saying, we attack, we attack everything, we attack the bases, and I think we have run the bases well this year. I think it’s a credit to our kids. I think we’ve got good base-running kids.

Q. After the first inning when you were down 3-0, you had all your players in a huddle on the sideline. You talked to them quite a bit. What did you say? You were aggressive in there talking?

COACH HUTCHINS: Just telling them there was a lot of game left. That there was a lot of game and we could get this. That we had to stay together and we had to stay calm and we had to believe. And we just had to make sure we were all together. And they believed it. And I had to definitely let them know that I thought we could still win.

Q. Hutch (Carol Hutchins), does this team ever surprise you?

COACH HUTCHINS: Every day. I never know what’s going to come out of Monte’s (Lindsay Montemarano) mouth. (Laughter.) This last couple weeks it’s been really enjoyable for me because our destiny is in their hands. I trust them completely. And whatever they do out here, they play their hearts out for Michigan all year. There’s nothing they could do to disappoint me. This is a great team. That’s all I can ask for.

Q. Follow up to last night you talked about vision training. Is that something you’ve been doing over the years or is that new this year and could you all talk about what that’s done for your hitting?

COACH HUTCHINS: We brought it out, we learned about it in ’05. We learned about it from the Olympic team. We brought it out, really used it in ’05. And over the years we just haven’t utilized it as much. I think the kids here have utilized it somewhat and this year we brought it back from day one and said we really need to see the ball better. And there’s not a doubt that it has helped us see the ball better.

KELSEY SUSALLA: I think seeing the ball is the first aspect of hitting. If you’re not seeing the ball well you’re probably not hitting it well. I think adding that into practice as a daily exercise has helped us a lot.

KELLY CHRISTNER: Yeah, we had a machine called the Lobster. We didn’t really use it that much last year but this year it’s been a big part of our offensive practice. So I think just seeing the ball, and we have like numbers on tennis balls. So I think that really helps us zone in on the pitch.

LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: I think when you’re not hitting well, if you’re in a so-called slump, first thing a lot of people aren’t doing is seeing the ball. So being able to read a tiny number and name the color and point out where it is on the bat knowing we do that in practice every day we have to take deep breaths and say keep your eye on the ball and it could really help you make good contact. You can’t control if it drops in, we just try to make good contact and it helps.

HAYLIE WAGNER: Basically said it all, but I think the key thing to seeing the ball is seeing the back of the ball, hitting the back of the ball. As long as you’re seeing it and have your eyes on that and the few things I do is the timing swing, see a little bit better. And I’m up there, kind of try to vision like what color and what number am I going to try to see and going after it.

Q. Coach, Sierra Lawrence’s first at-bat, she swung at every pitch and then grounded out. And then her next at-bat she didn’t swing at all and got walked. Did you tell her to be more patient at the plate?

COACH HUTCHINS: No. I trust she has a good eye. I think she just didn’t get any good pitches to swing at. I like that she came out swinging at the first pitch. It was right there. Sometimes she’s a little too patient for me. We just need her to have good at-bats.

Q. The benefit of having someone like Haylie being able to come in, not everybody has a second person they can bring in, bring this kind of performance, just your thoughts at having that luxury?

COACH HUTCHINS: I think you saw it tonight. We don’t have to live and die with one pitcher. I don’t call them names, we have a deuce. We’ve had that for years. Definitely have to have more than one strong pitcher. Too long of a season and too many games and they’ve been a fantastic tandem.

Q. Coach, you said you were looking forward to having a day off. How are you guys going to use that tomorrow?

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, I’m going to sleep. I don’t know what they’re going to do. We’re going to just relax. Pretty intense. There’s a lot intensity left. There’s a lot of tournament left. We haven’t won anything yet. We’re going to have a day off. We’re going to have pizza tonight and let them sleep in and relax.

Q. Haylie, Coach mentioned the deuce, but really you guys had a trio coming in to the season. You could have had one of the best three-pitcher staffs in the country. Sara is obviously injured, may come back for another year. But could you talk about the role she’s played for you and Megan and how you guys help each other as the season progresses, kind of a unique situation there?

HAYLIE WAGNER: Sara has been absolutely outstanding. She is a great captain and great leader. Whenever we’re both in trouble, we go to her. And she’s just there to calm us down and help us through it. And I think I talked to her every single day about my playing and my mindset and making sure I’m right. She’s outstanding and she’s a great teammate and great player and a great person.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

UCLA

An Interview with: COACH KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ, ALLY CARDA, MYSHA SATARAKA

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez and student-athlete Ally Carda and Mysha Sataraka.

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: You know, I think the best part about coming to the World Series is every team you play is a quality team. And Michigan is an outstanding team from literally offensively and defensively and just well coached all around. So we knew it would be a tough game tonight. And things didn’t go our way as we’d like to have them finish. But the best part about where you’re are at in this tournament is now you’re in a situation where there’s no other options. Have a great deal of faith in this team. Great fight. They play together. They have each other’s backs, and we’re not done yet.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Question that’s not about tonight’s game, but particularly because of where you stand in the field, Kelly (Inouye-Perez), and because Ally being a pitcher, you had the accident or you played Missouri, do you think that pitchers should be wearing masks. I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail on that. And it’s split.

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: I actually answered that question in the press conference earlier. And this is my stance. A mask is used when needed. It’s been an injury, prevention, if somebody gets hit, and there’s a concussion, then it’s mandated for them to be able to continue to play to wear the mask. I said that I would never prevent a player from wearing a mask, but I don’t believe it should be mandated. So that’s just my take on it in the sport. But, like I say, I’m not here to take the stand on what kids shouldn’t do. I just don’t believe it should be mandated for all. Does that answer your question? With my opinion. I don’t know if I answered your question.

Q. Coach, speaking of Michigan, they’re obviously known for their home runs, but really was impressed when you see them in person, aggressive base running, but smart base running. Some teams run themselves out of games and I think they ran themselves in the back and forth. I don’t know if you picked up on that and seeing them the limited times you’ve been able to. But speak about how important that is for winning a game.

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: I think what great teams do they take advantage of the little things. We had some miscues on defense tonight. And I wouldn’t have anticipated, some of the shots that were hit. But we did, we had some miscues that added to their aggressive base running that allowed them to be more successful. Straight up, that tying run was out at the plate, if we don’t cut that ball. I couldn’t tell you why that ball was cut. But it’s kind of part of the experience of getting that under your belt. And then there were a couple of other miscues in general but that’s what great teams do. Michigan was very aggressive, literally both offensively on the bases and it definitely helped them be more successful tonight.

Q. Talk a little bit about, you’ve been a part of a team that’s come out of the losing bracket and went on to win it. What do you tell your team from your past experience about looking forward and how they have a lot of softball to play?

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: I was talking to Ally (Carda) and Mysha (Sataraka) about that. That’s one of the best things about being a Bruin is we have such a wealth of history that says everything is possible. There’s a saying that we have in our program that is very true, whatever it takes to win. And when your back’s against the wall, it’s an amazing thing that can happen, when you get great athletes that are committed to fighting to the last pitch. So I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of it. I’ve seen it lived it and I believe this team can do it too.

Q. Could you give us kind of a testimony on the type of player Ally Carda has been in terms of the two-way player, there’s a lot of talk about Lauren Haeger and the 70 home runs and 70 wins. Ally has two big home runs this season for you, 43. Keilani Ricketts. Jennie Finch was here today, where she ranks. I know Ally says she looks at Lisa Fernandez in that role too?

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: Absolutely. To be able to have access to the two-way player as you said, offensively and defensively, Ally hasn’t been just for the last two years, she’s been, for the program, she’s been literally a go-to and we were in a place where we hadn’t been as successful, and Ally Carda is literally the reason we’re here. We’re in Oklahoma City because of her ability to impact the field both offensively and defensively, but beyond that her leadership. She backs it with her work ethic. At the end of the day, this team buys into being Bruins and working hard because they have a great role model in Ally Carda. The one thing that’s been unfortunate for Ally is we haven’t truly been able to have a pitching staff that has been able to have her back. Paige McDuffee has undergone several injuries. And Johanna Grauer, she was on the Junior National Team and was injured. I’m not here to make excuses at the end of the day. We’re here because Ally Carda is the one. She’s impacted us not just offensively, but defensively and her leadership. And you could ask anybody on the team, this team has her back. The program has her back. She’s left her mark in the history books. At the end of the day, that’s all we can ask for. As Coach Wooden says, the satisfaction of doing the best you possibly can is through competitive excellence. If you ask anyone on our team, who truly defines competitive excellence, they would take Ally Carda.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the sixth game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 3 seed Michigan defeated No. 7 seed UCLA, 10-4. The Wolverines are now 58-6 overall this season, while the Bruins have a record of 51-11. In this year’s event, Michigan is now 2-0, and UCLA is 1-1.

With the win, Michigan will next play at 2:30 CT on Sunday. UCLA will take on the winner of Saturday’s game between No. 4 seed Auburn and No. 8 seed Tennessee at 6 p.m. CT Saturday.

In its 11th WCWS appearance (1995, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’04, ’05, ’09, ’13, ’15), Michigan improved to 11-20 overall at the event, while UCLA is now 91-30 in its 25th WCWS appearance (first since 2010).

The Wolverines are riding a 27-game winning streak (have not lost since April 3).

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, UCLA junior Mysha Sataraka hit an RBI single to score Delaney Spaulding, giving UCLA a 1-0 advantage. Freshman Maddy Jelenicki then drew an RBI walk before Gracie Goulder was hit by a pitch to put the Bruins on top 3-0.

Michigan got on board behind an RBI single from sophomore Kelly Christner. Junior Kelsey Susalla added a two-run single to tie the ball game, and sophomore Lindsay Montemarano’s sacrifice fly to center field scored Susalla and gave Michigan the lead.

Montemarano recorded another sacrifice fly to center field in the fifth inning, giving the Wolverines a 5-4 advantage, a lead they would keep the rest of the game.

Two Michigan batters were perfect at the plate in Susalla and sophomore Abby Ramirez. Susalla went 4 for 4 at the plate, her career high for hits, and tallied three RBIs in the game. Ramirez finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs.

The contest marked the second time in three games that Michigan rallied from a 3-0 deficit, also doing so against Georgia in the second game of the Super Regional. UCLA and Georgia both jumped to 3-0 leads in the bottom of the first against Michigan.

Michigan senior pitcher Haylie Wagner got the win in relief, improving to 23-2 on the year. Wagner gave up one run on four hits in 6.1 innings of work. She struck out five batters and walked just one. Sophomore Megan Betsa started the game, giving up three runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Senior pitcher Ally Carda took the loss for UCLA, falling to 32-7 on the year. She pitched 5.2 innings and gave up nine runs, 13 hits and four walks. Freshman Selina Ta’amilo pitched 1.0 inning, allowing two hits, a run and a walk, while freshman Johanna Grauer played for one-third of an inning and gave up a walk.

Session 3 attendance was 9,425, the third largest session total in the history of the WCWS.

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2015 WCWS Game 5 Quotes and Notes Florida 4, LSU 0 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-5 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-5#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 00:23:03 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38394 2015 WCWS Game 5 “Quotes and Notes” Florida 4, LSU 0   Florida An Interview with: COACH TIM WALTON, AUBREE MUNRO, KATHLYN MEDINA, LAUREN HAEGER, NICOLE DEWITT THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by University of Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Aubree Munro, student-athlete Kathlyn Medina, student-athlete Lauren Haeger and student-athlete Nicole DeWitt. COACH WALTON: What […]

The post 2015 WCWS Game 5 Quotes and Notes Florida 4, LSU 0 appeared first on Fastpitch Softball TV Network.

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2015WCWSQuotesGame5

2015 WCWS Game 5 “Quotes and Notes”
Florida 4, LSU 0

 

Florida

An Interview with: COACH TIM WALTON, AUBREE MUNRO, KATHLYN MEDINA, LAUREN HAEGER, NICOLE DEWITT

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by University of Florida head coach Tim Walton, student-athlete Aubree Munro, student-athlete Kathlyn Medina, student-athlete Lauren Haeger and student-athlete Nicole DeWitt.

COACH WALTON: What a great environment today. We had a tough series with LSU back in March to open up the SEC play, and I thought we just didn’t pitch as well as we needed to, hit the ball pretty decent. Fortunately for us, Lauren Haeger didn’t really pitch that weekend. She didn’t start, so they didn’t have a great look at her. She only came in relief twice. What a magical night she had offensively and just pitching, set the tone. Really thought she had good stuff. Obviously pitches working really well, locating really well. And obviously using the defense when she had to. Big play by Taylore Fuller in the first, Katie Medina in the first inning, to get the tag and turn. So overall offensively, Aubree (Munro) is sitting up here for a reason. She’s our catcher, but tonight she was a great No. 9 hole hitter, turning the lineup over and giving us many opportunities to score. And that’s why we were able to score four runs against one of the best ERAs in the country and one of the best pitchers. So just give Aubree credit and our offense. I thought they did a good job grinding things out and did things that they had to to get it going. I think the article I read the other day or yesterday or last night was that we just have a little bit of a mediocre offense. And I thought tonight we were pretty well rounded and really poised to do small ball, big ball, and do some things with two strikes and two outs, and I just want to commend our athletes for stepping up today.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Tim and Katie and for Lauren, the first inning, they get the bases loaded with no outs. Lauren, you can start, what are you thinking about just during that time?

LAUREN HAEGER: I felt okay. I was hitting my spots fine. Couple of balls got through the infield soft. And that happens. People are going to get hits like that. But Katie (Kathlyn Medina) made an amazing play, double play to end the inning. Taylore Fuller did a great job going home and saving a run, too. I credit my defense for that inning. But I felt fine. My stuff was good.

KATHLYN MEDINA: I felt great. Like she said she was hitting her spots, and I knew as soon as I looked at her, just get me a ground ball, I’ll get us out of it. And we were back to get a double play, and it just worked out in our favor. It was great that she was able to get the ground ball.

COACH WALTON: What Katie (Kathlyn Medina) alluded to, with (Sahvanna) Jaquish we were in tight to get the force at the plate. And after we got Jaquish and the bang-bang play at first with (Kellsi) Kloss and (Kelsey) Stewart is looking in the dugout I just gave them the green light to back up and turn and roll the double play. I think it got away from the runner a little bit too. Katie was behind her instead of in front of her. That’s kind of a tweener ball. And she was just right in the perfect spot. She did. She told Lauren (Haegerlet’s roll this up, let’s get, let’s go.

Q. Lauren, can you talk about you were the first player to go 60-60. Now the first player to go 70-70. And what that means to you and also to get your 30th win tonight?

LAUREN HAEGER: I mean, it feels great. I’m just doing what I need to do up there in the circle and at the plate. I’m not really paying attention to numbers so much right now because I’m just trying to take it game by game. But that is a really cool accomplishment and I hope I can keep it going.

Q. Coach, first inning you guys got to a pretty good situation there. It was 0-0 situation even though there were bases loaded for both teams. I lost my thought.

COACH WALTON: At first I thought you were just giving us a recap. (Laughter).

Q. Coach, Lauren talked about giving up those three singles and still staying so confident, not getting shaken. Is that what you’ve come to expect from her at this point in her career on this stage? And how amazing is it that she can have that focus in that kind of moment?

COACH WALTON: Just fortunately for us she’s a senior. She’s really had a great career, a very well documented as far as how well she’s been kind of raised to be this. She had a great high school career, great international career. Now she’s finishing it off with a great collegiate career. She’s poised. I really feel like she’s more prepared now. Again, it’s easy to get frustrated in the first inning. She gives up a ball in the infield and a nice bunt base hit and then two strikes on (Bianka) Bell and she bloops it in between left and short. I thought she was making good pitches, too. And I saw the poise in her. I come to expect that, yes. She’s thrown so many shutouts this year and really done a good job not only using herself and her stuff but using her teammates as well.

Q. Nicole, what were your thoughts when you saw the ball get over the fence with the home run?

NICOLE DEWIIT: I was so excited, I just jumped and I was just clapping. It was so cool. And then looking at my team, they’re just waiting for me at home plate. It was just the greatest feeling I ever had.

Q. Coach you saw Kayli yesterday have a big home run and Nicole today. How big is it to have a freshmen contribute?

COACH WALTON: Yeah, and Kayli (Kvistad) had another nice at-bat, two more good at-bats in this game. But it’s a proud moment. I think again just watching the young kids get up there and gain confidence and keep gaining it and gaining it, and I think Kayli talked about it yesterday, just learning from our players that have been there, done that. And we’re a program to keep building and keep getting better and we need those young kids to set the tone and to be the leaders maybe potentially next year. So it’s important. That’s a really good at-bat. Obviously with the base- running mistake followed by the home run, it was really a much needed, good two-strike swing.

Q. Coach, is it harder for somebody in college softball to be both a top-tier pitcher and top-tier hitter in 2015 than it would have been 15, 20 years ago?

COACH WALTON: I have a hard time answering that, I think just because of the fact that when I saw on TV popped at the bottom that Lauren (Haeger) was the first 60-60, I would have assumed that somebody else had done that before. I didn’t realize that that had never been done before. So I’m going to say now I don’t know that — it’s a hard accomplishment. I told her in the recruiting process it’s hard to be a pitcher and hitter at this level. You’ll have to dedicate yourself. Seen good ones: Nancy Evans at Arizona and Jennie Finch at Arizona comes to my mind. And Ally Carda at UCLA comes to mind. Some good two-way players. It’s really difficult. I don’t know if you can compare but I know it’s probably going to be very difficult now and it was very difficult in the old days, too.

Q. Lauren threw 79 pitches today, 81 against Tennessee and you get to rest. How important is that and what kind of position does that put you in going forward?

COACH WALTON: I think the greatest day off at the College World Series is a Saturday off. It’s a great feeling to have to be beaten twice. It’s a great feeling to get your players some rest, some shopping. All the little things we like to do on those days. Really excited about having that. I think again 81 pitches yesterday was awesome and 79 again today. It’s a good feeling. It’s a good feeling for her to be able to use her defense and get some quick and easy outs.

Q. Nicole, eight of the ten hits tonight came from the top half of the lineup. Do you guys really kind of feed off of each other a lot of good hitters up there? Do you kind of get that contagious feeling whenever you guys start hitting like you were tonight?

NICOLE DEWIIT: I think whenever one of us gets a hit it leads to others and it just wants us to just keep going and keep getting on base and moving runners and scoring runs.

Q. We’ve obviously had a lot of rain over here in the last week, month, really and left field has been one of the tough areas for them to get a tarp out there and cover. I was curious what the field has been like out there to play in left field?

NICOLE DEWIIT: I mean, it’s pretty mushy in shallow left field. But you just have to play in it. You can’t complain about it. You just have to deal with it.

Q. Lauren, when you got your 70th home run, actually ESPN put a graphic with you and Babe Ruth as the only people to have 70 wins and 70 home runs, what’s your reaction to that?

LAUREN HAEGER: Again, that’s so cool. I mean, it’s hard because he’s got a lot more than me and he’s Babe Ruth. But again if we’re the only two people to do it, that’s like amazing, and I’m just proud of myself, I guess. (Laughter.) I mean it’s really cool and something that I’ll remember forever.

Q. Lauren and then Nicole, was there any additional motivation today with LSU beating you guys in Gainesville two out of three? I know LSU beat you two out of three in Gainesville, was there any additional motivation today knowing that happened earlier in the season?

LAUREN HAEGER: I mean, yeah. They’re a good team. We’re fired up to play them every time. Again, they’re a good team. Of course we want to beat everyone we play. But again, us losing to them obviously gave us a little more fire but gave us a little bit more experience against them. So, yeah, they’re a good team. We really wanted to beat them.

NICOLE DEWIIT: Just like Lauren (Haeger) said, we were ready for them. We just wanted to come out, play them, beat them, because we did lose to them twice in the first week of the season and we just had that revenge on them.

Q. Aubree, as a so-called captain of the defense to see everything play out from the way defense makes plays, what’s it like from your vantage point just to see? I think I asked the same question the last week in the regional, these great defensive plays always happen. What is it like from your vantage point to see that?

AUBREE MUNRO: It’s really cool with K (Kathlyn Medina) making that super heads up play because I’m watching everything happen, I’m seeing her move in for the tag, and I’m just hoping, get really excited. Kind of the same thing last year when we turned all those double plays. It’s cool to actually be involved in the actual play, so I get to kind of see everything pan out and not running to go back to first, but I’m trailing the runner. And it’s really fun and it gets me super pumped up, super excited for Katie (Kathlyn Medina), super excited for Lauren (Haeger). It’s been awesome working with her especially this year just watching her kind of become the pitcher that she’s kind of always wanted to be, watching her get these awards. It’s been really cool to work with her. We’ve always been the pair that gets really pumped up. Sharing that with her has been cool and being able to watch, watching a pitch come in and knowing it’s a pretty pitch, and just being able to get excited with her is a really good feeling.

Q. To follow up on that, you gave up 27 runs the last time you played LSU in the series in Gainesville, did you think there would be a lot of people crossing the plate in this game?

AUBREE MUNRO: I think with our mentality going into this game, no, we knew it was going to be a dogfight. They’re a good team. They play with a lot of energy. We play with a lot of energy. I knew it was going to be kind of tight and we were just going to probably feed off each other a little bit and try to break each other’s momentum. I figured it would actually be a more low- scoring game than a high-scoring game.

Q. Coach, it was mentioned you guys allowed 27 runs to LSU back in the series. When you prepared for this game what was the main difference you saw from today’s game and those games in that series?

COACH WALTON: I think in those series LSU had some big first innings. So the double play in the first inning was probably the key to limiting the runs scored. We were down in every one of those games by a lot. I think we were down 9-0 on Saturday. So ultimately I think we just, the first inning double play was huge. Like I said, to open up, Lauren Haeger didn’t start any of those games leading into the LSU series. I think that was a big key. And I think obviously the way she’s throwing the ball right now is one of the bigger differences, too.

Q. As a follow-up, you guys have double plays in each of your last three games. As a coach how much pride do you have when you guys have a knack for turning those double plays?

COACH WALTON: It’s difficult to turn double plays in softball. It’s a tough thing to do. And especially when you’re playing some of the best. And on this stage to be able to turn double plays and how important those double plays have all been, the one Taylor Schwartz turned yesterday and the one Katie (Kathlyn Medina) turned today. The one we turned in the Super Regional was phenomenal against Kentucky. Just those things. And anytime you get two for one, I’m going to take my chances. I think that’s a big, huge bonus when we can get that thing done like that.

Q. Katie, can you talk about the things that were running through your mind as the ball’s hit to you? Because I mean you could go home. You could go to second and the runner flashes in front of you, could you talk about all the things that were going through your mind there?

KATHLYN MEDINA: Before the ball was hit to me I kind of knew where I was going to go. I was either going to go to second or I was thinking if she comes across me since I’m back I’ll just tag her. I got the ball she happened to be right in front of me I put a tag on her I threw it. I knew Lauren (Haeger) would make a good pitch to me, she gave me a ground ball. It’s just those little things of making sure I know what I’m going to do when I get the ball.

Q. Coach, was there a key to getting (Carley) Hoover’s pitch count up, and did you feel like you wore her down a little bit or were you just hitting home runs like you normally do?

COACH WALTON: Well, I chuckle. Sorry. I think it’s what we do. I mean, we get criticized a little bit for some things with our offense, whether it’s walks or hit by pitches. But it’s what we do. At the end of the day the goal is to swing at strikes. And I think that’s what we try to do. We try to swing strikes. If the team throws balls or throws balls in the batter’s box or don’t throw pitches over the plate, I train my hitters to swing at strikes. If you’re going to criticize someone for not being as fun to watch in some categories, we want them to throw strikes. So I think the goal is again for us to swing at strikes. When people throw strikes and we’re on time, good things happen. We weren’t really going into the game trying to make her throw strikes or grind her out. But that’s just what we do as a whole program anyway.

Q. Coach, you just mentioned something about double plays. If you can expound on that, because actually that double play I’m glad to see a good one but you mentioned it’s more about spacing, because you mentioned it’s harder to do in softball?

COACH WALTON: With the 60-foot bases and the speed of the runners and we’re having a little bit more left handed play in softball versus baseball typically. You have to make good decisions and you have to make them quickly. I think it’s harder to get a double play. I look at some baseball double plays, I saw somebody had 83 double plays. If a softball team turned 83 double plays it would have the best fielding percentage in the country. I think overall it’s more difficult to get a double play because of the speed, because of the shortness and proximity of the bases home to first.

Q. Why didn’t Lauren (Haeger) start, anything different from the games against LSU in Gainesville?

COACH WALTON: At the time, coming off of what we were going with, we had Aleshia Ocasio had thrown some good. She had beaten Michigan, I think she beat Michigan twice, beat Oregon. It’s just the matchup we were trying something again. Same thing I did last year. I think Delanie (Gourley) started our first weekend last year against, I don’t even remember who it was at this point, I think maybe it was Ole Miss or Alabama was the second series. Just trying to figure out what we have, and at the time Lauren was throwing the ball good. But she wasn’t throwing the ball like she is now. And after that weekend or even kind of leading up to that weekend, she really said, Coach, I really worked hard and I want Friday nights. And I said, well, prove it to me. Go out and make sure your bullpens are good and go out there and win ballgames. And she has. Again, I call it like it is. We were going a different direction. She wanted it to go the other direction and she earned it. And I think that’s what makes me the most proud of somebody who can have a meeting with a coach, call a meeting with a coach and say this is what I want and I’m willing to work for it. And for that like I said she’s been rewarded for it.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

LSU

An Interview With: COACH BETH TORINA, CARLEY HOOVER, BIANKA BELL, KELLSI KLOSS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by LSU head coach Beth Torina and student-athlete Carley Hoover, student-athlete Bianka Bell, and student-athlete Kellsi Kloss.

COACH TORINA: I think we understand why Lauren Haeger is the Player of the Year. She’s a special player. She had a great day. We didn’t make very good adjustments against her on the mound. And she had the big hit that really was the difference in the ballgame. So we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to make adjustments. But ultimately I’m still really confident in our team. I think we’re still in a good spot to make a good run at this. We still have plenty of pitching left. I feel really good about our chances, though.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Coach, how disappointing, I guess, is it to load the bases in the first inning and not get anything out of it, especially when you’re playing against a pitcher of this magnitude?

COACH TORINA: I think that was a big turning point. Even though it was so early in the game in the first inning I think if we can capitalize right there after we shut them down on their offensive side. If we could capitalize right there, I think it puts them in a different mindset and I think it’s a completely different ballgame. It was a huge moment. She made big pitches. That’s why she is who she is.

Q. Carley, can you talk about, did you have your strength? Did you feel good going into the innings or did you get a little tired or how did you feel?

CARLEY HOOVER: No, I wasn’t tired at all. I was really pumped up for this game. I really was thinking before I came in here. I really can’t think of a single time this season that we haven’t come back ten times stronger. So I’m just ready for tomorrow.

Q. Carley, with the bases loaded in the first, how did it feel to get out, get them out of that with a strike out?

CARLEY HOOVER: It felt good. On top of the strikeout, our defense was strong all day. We made that double play. Everything that we were doing all day, we were really strong. So just hopefully our bats are working tomorrow.

Q. Kellsi, not only as a hitter who had to face Lauren, but also seeing her as a catcher, what impresses you so much about her as a pitcher?

KELLSI KLOSS: As a pitcher, Lauren (Haeger) keeps a really good mix of pitches. She has an off-speed pitch, which is really good. Her hard stuff is pretty hard, it’s almost to 70 miles an hour. They call a really good mix of pitches. She’s a veteran. She’s a senior. She’s been here three times before. She knows what she’s doing. And then on the opposite side I think that’s to their advantage with hitting, she’s a very good hitter as well. Like Coach, said that’s the reason she’s the player of the year.

Q. Coach, could you speak to you guys got 27 runs against them in the series in Gainesville. Did you think it was going to be that kind of a game tonight?

COACH TORINA: Of course not. I mean, this is a different team I think that we’re facing. I think Lauren Haeger is in a different spot. She’s continued to get better as the season’s gone on. We knew we had our work cut out for us. We knew this wasn’t going to be a blowout by any means. We thought we would compete with them a little bit deeper into the game. It never was out of hand, by any means. But I thought we would have more opportunities with runners on base and things there. But by no means did I think we were going to walk in and blow out the University of Florida, who is the reigning national champion. That never crossed my mind, no.

Q. Bianka, what did you see from Lauren Haeger today?

BIANKA BELL: She just did a really good job jamming us on the inside pitch. She just made adjustments on us and found a way to get it done for her team.

Q. Coach, did you struggle with the decision who to pitch today, or was it easy, and how do you feel about your pitching trying to fight through the loser bracket moving forward?

COACH TORINA: I think if anybody can come through the loser’s bracket it’s our team. We have the most pitching depth, I think, in the tournament. I feel really good about what we have left. We haven’t even put Allie Walljasper who was named an All-American on the mound yet. We have a lot of good options left. I feel really confident in our depth there. And I thought the decision to give the ball to Carley (Hoover) today was a good one. How could it not be with her postseason numbers, her ERA, the things that she’s done for us in the postseason? Anytime we’re giving her the ball, we have a great opportunity to win ballgames.

Q. Coach, how much preparation did you guys do against Haeger as opposed to scouting (Aleshia) Ocasio or Delanie Gourley?

COACH TORINA: I would say 100 percent of our preparation was for Haeger. They hadn’t started the others in a while, since I think the first game of the regionals. We were pretty confident that’s who we were going to get. Tried to prepare for her. She’s tough to prepare for, though. She does a lot of different things. She puts the ball hard on your hands and throws a changeup away from you. It’s tough to prepare for her. We know she’s throwing well right now. That’s the whole thing. It seems like Florida has a senior pitcher that steps up this time of year every year that really does a great job for them. Like I said before we even took the field, Florida understands how to win. They understand how to win this time of year. We’re still young. We still have a lot of young kids. I’m sitting here with two juniors, a freshman. We have a lot of underclassmen in the game today. That’s something we’re still learning. I think we have a really talented team. I think we’re getting better every time we step on the field in these situations, and I think we’ll be better from this.

Q. Coach, in all five games now the team that scored first has gone on to win. How much does it change the complexion of the games on this stage when you’re going in with a deficit?

COACH TORINA: No question. Like I said, if we can score with the bases loaded there in the first inning, it’s a completely different ballgame. I think it just gives your defense so much more room to work. I think your pitchers get to pitch — they get to attack more, get to pitch ahead more they get to go at hitters a little bit more. I think it completely changes the dynamic of the game scoring first. And obviously we know our team does a better job when they score first. But I would think every team in America would say that same statement. So we played from behind. We can play from behind. But we would have loved to have scored first.

Q. What can you draw on losing to Arizona State way back when and going on a roll again to try to do that again here in the World Series?

CARLEY HOOVER: Well, like I said earlier, I can’t think of a single time we haven’t come back stronger. We even beat Florida twice in the series in regular season. We scored nine runs in the first inning. That was great. I have 100 percent confidence in this team. Like Coach said, we have the depth to do it in every single way. I think we have the depth in hitting, pitching, defense, everything. And I know my team and I know we’re very, very capable.

BIANKA BELL: I would just say we need to flush it out, let everything go, just come back stronger tomorrow and just try to get the timely hits and make the timely plays when it’s needed and just get the job done.

KELLSI KLOSS: I just think we have a lot of fight. And all of us want this really, really bad. We weren’t satisfied with just making it to the World Series. Our goal is to win it. It’s about how much fight you have. And I think this team has a lot of fight. You can see that with Regionals, how we won the game against Nebraska and then beat Arizona twice on Sunday, put up the numbers like we did against Arizona. So I think it just comes down to fight and how much we want it and we want it really bad.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach

 

POSTGAME NOTES

By a score of 4-0, No. 1 seed Florida defeated No. 5 seed LSU in the fifth game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series. The Gators improved to 57-6 on the year, while the Tigers fell to 51-13 overall. In this year’s event, Florida is now 2-0, and LSU is 1-1.

With the win, Florida will next play at noon CT on Sunday. LSU will face the winner of the Saturday afternoon contest between Alabama and Oregon at 8:30 p.m. CT Saturday.

In its seventh WCWS appearance (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’14, ‘15), defending national champion Florida improved to 19-11 all-time in the event with its win tonight. LSU fell to 7-7 overall in its fourth WCWS appearance (2001, ’04, ’12, ’15).

The game remained scoreless through four innings before Florida senior pitcher Lauren Haeger put the Gators on the board when she sent a two-run home run to left field. The hit gave her 70 in her collegiate career to go along with her 70 pitching wins. The only other player to reach the 70/70 mark in Division I softball, baseball or Major League Baseball history is Babe Ruth.

In the circle, Haeger threw a complete-game shutout. The senior gave up five hits, no walks and struck out four batters. The 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year improved to 30-1 on the season with the victory. Haeger has now tossed 11 shutouts this year.

Freshman Nicole DeWitt added another home run for the Gators, her second of the season, in the sixth inning to build the Florida lead to 3-0. DeWitt finished the game 2 for 4 at the plate.

Florida junior Kirsti Merritt went 3 for 3 from the plate, scoring a run after stealing third base and advancing home on an error from LSU.

LSU freshman pitcher Carley Hoover fell to 18-5 on the season. She gave up three runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work. She also walked four batters and struck out another four. Sophomore Kelsee Selman pitched 1.1 innings for the Tigers, giving up one run on two hits, walking one batter and striking out a batter.

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2015 WCWS Game 4 Quotes and Notes UCLA 7, Oregon 1 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-4 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-4#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 23:43:45 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38385 2015 WCWS Game 4 “Quotes and Notes” UCLA 7, Oregon 1 UCLA An Interview With: COACH KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ, GABRIELLE MAURICE, ALLY CARDA, STEPHANY LAROSA THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. To her right we have student- athlete Ally Carda, student-athlete Gabrielle Maurice and student-athlete Stephany LaRosa. COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: First, we’d like […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame4

2015 WCWS Game 4 “Quotes and Notes”
UCLA 7, Oregon 1

UCLA

An Interview With: COACH KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ, GABRIELLE MAURICE, ALLY CARDA, STEPHANY LAROSA

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. To her right we have student- athlete Ally Carda, student-athlete Gabrielle Maurice and student-athlete Stephany LaRosa.

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: First, we’d like to say it’s a great opponent we just played in Oregon. Very talented. We had some dog fights against them. So we knew today was going to be a great game. But I’m so proud of my Bruins. They just made a little history for themselves here. First World Series, to be able to get out there and get the W in the fashion they did playing their game. I’m just very proud of them. We’re not done yet. But day one is the big one, and I’m really proud of where we are right now.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Coach, if you can, talk about the barrage that five-inning run?

COACH INOUYE-PEREZ: You know, I think what’s most impressive about this team, I couldn’t even tell you any one individual that stood out tonight. Some great at-bats. For Steph (Stephany Larosa) to be able to come out and strike and throw that first punch was outstanding in the first couple of runs that we scored. And then Gabi (Gabrielle Maurice). But definitely that one inning — that’s something that we do well. When we get going we can definitely score in bunches. That’s a product of them having quality two-strike, two- out at-bats. They do a great job of being able to compete down to the last pitch. So, very unselfish team and quality at-bats across the board, and definitely some big runs to get Ally (Carda) some assurance so she didn’t have to be so perfect at the end.

Q. Stephany and Ally, curious what role the two of you have played for each other over the years and how has that partnership worked over the years?

STEPHANY LAROSA: Me being the catcher, I’m kind of new to the position, still it’s only my second year. But Ally (Carda) has done a great job for me in a sense where she’s definitely instilled that confidence in me that I could get behind the plate regardless of having no experience at all. So much credit to her for kind of instilling that in me and it makes me come out here and be as strong as I am behind the plate because of her.

ALLY CARDA: I’ll give the credit right back to her. I think she instills the confidence in me as a pitcher. Especially playing Oregon tonight, they’re a tough team and unfortunately earlier in the year we lost two. So for her to be behind the plate with me tonight and to re- ensure that we’re in a good place and make sure my stuff’s moving. It gives me great confidence and makes me nice and calm on the mound, and she makes me feel I can do anything out there. So it’s been great.

Q. Ally, early on, you know, you had many of your pitches come in late, you got it back. Talk about being in the circle and just having command and being able to dominate your opponent?

ALLY CARDA: I think we’ve really prepared for the team tonight and for this tournament. We’ve been doing it all year. For me on the mound, I think I’ve been taking it, we talk a lot about it, but one pitch at a time. I need to focus every pitch. We can’t really take any breaks because all these teams are really good. They’re great hitters. So once I take one break, that’s where we’re in trouble. So everything I’ve been focusing on is just one pitch at a time and making good pitches move and putting them where I need to.

Q. A little bit off topic, but we’ve seen some creative stuff in dugouts over the course of the year. And especially here this weekend. LSU bought a goldfish. You guys had fun stuff going on, Stephany and Gabrielle, if you could both touch on this. Any symbolism to what you guys do in the dugout or any fun stories connected to it?

STEPHANY LAROSA: Absolutely we have a theme established. We like to produce runs. But when you get to this point in the season your dugout is a huge part. They’re kind of where your energy comes from. So we kind of take anything and we run with it. Just something to buy into. So being able to buy into lime drives and producing runs, it’s big for the team, and it’s definitely contagious, and I think it plays a big part, especially out here tonight.

GABRIELLE MAURICE: Going off of that, I think it just keeps everything simple in the dugout, not making anything much bigger than it is, and it keeps everyone loose and goofy so we can play relaxed and I think it really benefits us.

Q. Stephany, to have to wait four years to get here, were you able to savor where you were out there, were you too locked into the actual game to kind of savor it?

STEPHANY LAROSA: No, absolutely. I think it’s a big thing. Try not to make things as big as they are but we talk a lot about living in the moment, taking one pitch at a time and enjoying it because it is our senior year, it’s our last hurrah, and to be out here with this group of girls it’s going to be quite a memorable experience.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Oregon

An Interview with: COACH MIKE WHITE, CHERIDAN HAWKINS, JANIE TAKEDA

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Oregon head coach Mike White, student-athletes Cheridan Hawkins and Janie Takeda. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH WHITE: Obviously congratulations to UCLA. It’s good to see at least one Pac-12 school go through right now. Obviously not the way we kind of wrote it up. But UCLA were opportunistic and they had opportunities, hit the ball hard the second innings there, we kind of settled down, got into a game where it could have gone either way for quite a while. I don’t think the score, 7-1, really tells the story of the game. It was a lot closer than that game. They just happened to get that big break in, I think, it was the sixth innings and kind of blow it up a little bit. What I’m really proud about our ladies, they never quit. They keep trying, keep trying. And just the game comes down to inches, as I told the team before. Just didn’t go our way today. So the big thing for us now is bouncing back and getting ready to play Alabama.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Coach, talk about being in the moment and then moving on to the next game.

COACH WHITE: Well, yeah, at this stage, it really comes down to again a little bit of luck. And you have the talent there. We had the talent. We didn’t get the luck tonight. UCLA played very well. Excellent defense. Made some great plays out there. Ally Carda made some great pitches. But that’s the story of the game. That’s what makes this game great; you don’t know what’s going to happen. Now we have to come out, rebound, get after Alabama. And you have to play for our life, so to speak. We’ll make sure that we’re not going home Saturday. And we look to fight another day.

Q. Coach, how do you keep everybody kind of focused and locked in during a weather delay like that?

COACH WHITE: Well, in Oregon it rains every now and then. So we’re kind of used to that. That wasn’t a problem. In fact, it was good for our team. I thought the team came back and it was a 0-0 game for the next four and a half innings. I thought we bounced back pretty well after that. As I said, we hit the ball hard. We really hit the ball hard. I don’t know if you noticed the radar game, (Ally) Carda was hitting 71 there a couple times. She was pumped. But I thought we did a really good job. Like I tell you, a few inches either way, we could have had some runs up on the board.

Q. Janie, the play in the first where you get thrown out, you hit a ball really hard with runners on I think your next time up. Any one of those opportunities stick out the most where you think, hey, if we could have just got that one to go our way, it might have gone a different way?

JANIE TAKEDA: Yeah, I mean, you can go over the game thousands of times in your head and think about what could have happened, what you could have done differently. I think the most important thing is to take the positives away, obviously reflect on any mistakes I made and fix them the next time I step on the field. Yeah.

Q. Cheridan, first can you talk about the two pitches in the second inning that went out of the park; and then secondly, knowing your hitters and how well they can get you back in the game, what was your mindset from that point forward?

CHERIDAN HAWKINS: I think with the home runs, I felt really aggressive. And they’re good hitters and they make adjustments and I think that I felt confident in those pitches I threw and I felt like I attacked the zone well. They hit the ball. They’re a good hitting team. I think for offense, I didn’t ever lose hope that we wouldn’t hit. They’ve had my back so many times and sometimes it just doesn’t go our way. And like Coach White said, we did hit the ball really hard quite a few times and it just didn’t fall for us. And that’s all right. And we’ll get it next time.

Q. Cheridan, you have been tough to beat two times in a row, been a couple of years since that happened, why do you is think that. And does it give you confidence going forward you can bounce back from this?

CHERIDAN HAWKINS: I think we’re pretty determined, and we’re just — I think a moment today we didn’t make every pitch count. And I think we do a good job of learning from our mistakes. And the most we can do is compete on Saturday. And obviously no one likes losing. So, we’re going to hopefully come out aggressive and just attack and play Oregon softball and see what happens.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the fourth game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 7 seed UCLA defeated No. 2 seed Oregon, 7-1. The Bruins improved to 51-10 on the year, while the Ducks fell to 51-7 overall.

With the win, UCLA advances to face No. 3 seed Michigan on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CT. Oregon will play No. 6 seed Alabama at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.

In its 25th WCWS appearance (first since 2010), UCLA moved to 91-29 overall at the tournament. Oregon is now 4-7 overall in its fourth WCWS appearance (1989, 2012, ’14, ’15).

UCLA senior pitcher Ally Carda moved to 32-6 on the season. In a full game’s work, she allowed just one run on six hits. Carda struck out three batters and walked one.

Two second-inning home runs gave UCLA a 2-0 advantage. Senior Stephany LaRosa sent a solo shot to center field, while sophomore Gabrielle Maurice hit one to left field, her 10th of the year, with two outs.

LaRosa’s home run was her 20th of the season and brought her RBI total to 70. She has hit home runs in seven of her last eight games and is riding a 16-game hitting streak.

The Bruins added to their lead in the sixth inning, scoring five runs in the frame. Junior Mysha Sataraka hit a two-run double to right field, senior Gracie Goulder added another run with a single and freshman Kylee Perez sent a double to right field to score two runs.

As a pinch hitter, freshman Lauren Lindvall put the Ducks on the board with an RBI single to right field, scoring junior Koral Costa from second base.

With a single in the fourth inning, Oregon junior Hailey Decker increased her hitting streak to 14 games.

Oregon junior pitcher Cheridan Hawkins fell to 30-4 on the season with the loss. In 5.2 innings, Hawkins gave up seven runs on eight hits. She walked one batter and struck out six. In relief, senior Karissa Hovinga pitched 1.1 innings, allowing one hit and striking out a batter.

The contest was in a lighting delay for 49 minutes in the top of the third inning.

Attendance for Session 2 was 8,360.

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2015 WCWS Game 3 Quotes and Notes Michigan 5, Alabama 0 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-3 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-3#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 20:45:18 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38383 2015 WCWS Game 3 “Quotes and Notes” Michigan 5, Alabama 0 Michigan An Interview with: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA ROMERO, KELLY CHRISTNER, LAUREN SWEET, MEGAN BETSA THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by University of Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, followed by student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Kelly Christner, student-athlete Lauren Sweet, student- athlete Megan Betsa. Coach, general comments […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame3

2015 WCWS Game 3 “Quotes and Notes”
Michigan 5, Alabama 0

Michigan

An Interview with: COACH CAROL HUTCHINS, SIERRA ROMERO, KELLY CHRISTNER, LAUREN SWEET, MEGAN BETSA

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by University of Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, followed by student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Kelly Christner, student-athlete Lauren Sweet, student- athlete Megan Betsa. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH HUTCHINS: I think it’s a great effort by my team. I was really proud of them tonight. I thought we came out and played our kind of softball and stayed to our moment. And that’s a great Alabama team. And to shut them down it’s a great credit to Megan Betsa’s performance and some of the great defense that we played. And really it was just one inning at a time. And that’s the way we play softball. It’s, I think, why we have done what we’ve done all year. We told our kids tonight just come out and do what we do. And our kids were — they gave us their best effort and that’s all we ever ask.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Coach, in the second and third you guys weren’t able to get anything going. What was it like trying to adjust to Alabama’s pitching tonight?

COACH HUTCHINS: I thought (Alexis) Osorio pitched very well. And she was definitely getting us at the top of the zone. And we got a little better when we saw more pitches. And I thought we got to her a little bit later in the game there. But it’s the first game, and I thought our kids weren’t as one-pitch focused at the plate as I’ve seen them. But she’s a good pitcher. And this is the World Series. So it’s going to be tough. All the pitching is going to be tough.

Q. Lauren, talk about that at-bat, falling behind 0-2, working it full, talk about the whole at-bat and what you got in the end?

LAUREN SWEET: The at-bat before that I obviously struck out on a rise ball, and I swung at a bunch of rise balls. My adjustment was to go up there and use my timing swing and just really see a lot of pitches. Even though I got down in the count I was able to come back and really see the ball and really see it down, so my game plan worked out.

Q. Kelly, what was it like for you to hit a home run in that first at-bat when you told us earlier in the week that you played here before and it was a dream come true to come here for the first time?

KELLY CHRISTNER: Obviously the nerves were a little high. Everyone was trying to calm me down before the game. I think I just went out there, first at-bat and realized that it was just like any game we played the entire year. So I just focusing on seeing the ball down, like Lauren (Sweet) was saying, and it was nice to get that early lead there.

Q. Carol, you made a real hustle play to hold her at third to load the bases. Can you talk about what went into that decision and just talk us through the play and Sierra also?

COACH HUTCHINS: We hit the ball well and (Haylie) McCleney was going to her right and (Sierra Romero) Romo runs well and was running hard, and I was pretty fired up to get another run across. I made a really athletic move and almost tackled her because it would have been a really poor out at the plate, and obviously I have a lot of respect for McCleney, and fortunately Romo looked up at the right moment, because she was on her way.

SIERRA ROMERO: We know (Carol Hutchins) Hutch likes to hold us late sometimes, so we kind of try to take a sneak peek up before we decide if we’re going to go home. I just happened to look up as she was falling over on top of me at the same time. I just hurried up and planted my foot and tried to get back.

Q. Megan, you played really well like you had been here before. Does it feel like that while you’re pitching?

MEGAN BETSA: My biggest thing was getting past the first inning, I knew I would have jitters and nerves. I knew if I could get past the first inning then I would be fine. After that I was just focused on throwing 85 percent and making my ball move.

Q. Lauren, you had a walk-off grand slam to win a state title in high school. What’s your bigger thrill, this or that?

LAUREN SWEET: Playing on the biggest stage here is so awesome. To do that here is obviously really cool. I’m just trying to help my team out as much as I can. So it’s pretty awesome. I don’t know it’s hard to rank them. But obviously, I mean, the World Series is my dream and I’ve got here and I think it’s awesome that could happen here.

Q. Carol, could you talk about Lauren this season and how far she’s come both as a hitter and behind the plate?

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, you know, (Lauren) Sweet has just been a fantastic player for this team and a team player her entire career. And she’s having her best season as a senior. And you love to see that. And it’s what we need. We need your seniors to be the leaders out there. And she’s just been fantastic all year long. And we just want her to keep playing as long as possible.

Q. Megan, if you could talk about how you guys connect the game that Lauren calls and how you guys connect out there and how important you are to one another?

MEGAN BETSA: We’re obviously very important. But I think something that’s really important is how well (Lauren) Sweet knows me. So when my ball is not moving as much, she comes out and she’s, like, hey just spin it. That’s all you need to do. Your spin is good enough. Or if I’m moving, my pace is too quick, she comes out and tells me just to breathe. So I think the way that she’s developed, like, to know me really well is a big aspect in this season where we are right now.

Q. What did she tell you tonight?

MEGAN BETSA: She came out and she told me just make the ball move, throw 80 percent, trust my spin.

Q. Carol, did you think that Lauren’s ball was fair, that double that came back?

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, I’m on the other side of the field. So I am not objective either. I’m going to be the first to tell you. But you should probably ask Bonnie Tholl that question.

Q. The other question for all of you, can you talk about the letters that you received from the 2005 players, what that meant for you and was it a motivation for you tonight?

MEGAN BETSA: It’s definitely something special because I received my letter from Jennie Ritter who was obviously a pitcher, an All-American here. She had some great words of wisdom — let go of the good and be great was something I really liked and that was something that I focused on tonight was just letting go of what I’ve already done just focus on now.

LAUREN SWEET: Same thing. Becky Marx wrote mine and she was the catcher of the 2005 team, so it was kind of awesome to hear some words from her. And she was awesome. She wrote me a whole page. It was so cool to see them take the time to actually do that for us and show us their support. So it was really awesome.

KELLY CHRISTNER: Mine was from (Rebekah) Milian, and she was actually No. 21 and left fielder also. So we have a connection there. But she basically just said go out there and play our game. And I know we’re excited to be here, but go out there to win it. And I think that really stuck with me.

SIERRA ROMERO: Mine was from Angie (Danis), she also wore No. 32 while she was here. It was really cool to have team 28 come back and tell us what it was like and what they experienced, and they gave us great advice and it was just really cool that we had their support.

Q. Megan you pitched against Alabama earlier this year. I know it was a few months ago but how much were you able to take from that game and apply tonight, because obviously you were able to shut them out?

MEGAN BETSA: I think I’ve grown a lot since the beginning of the season. And I’ve developed a few other pitches that helped me out tonight. But I didn’t really receive anything, like news for the hitters or anything like that. So I think we were just really focused on the batter who was up at the time and just attacking them getting ahead in the count.

Q. Sierra and Coach correct me if I’m wrong but Coach talked about her challenge to you is that you will be, your legacy will be defined by what your teams do. Can you talk about what that discussion with her and what you do other than just try to do your best when your number is called to affect others to be better?

SIERRA ROMERO: She brought up Derek Jeter a lot in our meetings in her office, and she talked about how he elevates everyone around him to be better and do better. And that’s what I focused on this year. It took me a while to really understand what that meant. But I found a way to just put all my focus in my teammates. Once I was able to do that everyone started doing really well. And just letting them know that they can do it. And if they believe in themselves and trust in what they do, that we’re going to be successful altogether. And just really focusing on them rather than myself has been the key all year.

Q. Coach, I wanted to talk to you about the sort of like the anatomy of the home run and how it’s become such a big part of your team. You’ve been coaching for so long. And some people think it’s just all about power. But there’s so much more that goes into it. Seeing the pitch and the communication between the batters, the coaching. Have you thought about it on a more philosophical basis about how this team — I mean, Sierra Romero has got 21 home runs and only seven strikeouts outs, and Sierra Lawrence is about one to one, and the fifth-best home run hitter had the grand slam. And I find it interesting those around you on a weekly daily basis how it’s evolved and the team accomplishment. Sorry, it’s a long question?

COACH HUTCHINS: I’m not sure what the question is, but I believe one thing that we went back to this year was we went back to vision training, something we’ve done over the years. And really just tennis balls and numbers and really focus on seeing the ball. And our kids do see the ball well. And they strike the ball well. And that was our other emphasis was strike the ball well. Hit the back of the ball, try to hit it square. We hit the ball square a lot. And I believe they’ve really embraced that and they have really, their confidence is so important in that. Because a confident hitter is so much better than a non-confident hitter. Their trust and their belief in each other, it’s a lot of things you hear all the time, but our kids are really embracing that.

Q. I apologize for the convoluted question. But do you have anything to add?

SIERRA ROMERO: All year we focused on seeing the ball and trusting our swings and our preparation. We’ve also realized that the second we start doubting ourselves is when we start to struggle. But hitting is contagious on this team. Once one of us goes we all go. If we trust what we do, then there’s no stopping us.

KELLY CHRISTNER: Basically what Sierra said.

LAUREN SWEET: Yeah, I feel like it’s kind of just the same. I feel, like, we don’t try to hit home runs. And I think that’s like the key. We’re just trying to hit the ball hard. We’re never going up there to try to hit home runs. Like (Carol Hutchins) Hutch always says, they’re going to come. If you go up there to hit the ball, then home runs will come. That’s been our focus all year.

Q. Lauren, following up on that, how hard is it to do that? It’s easier said than done. You hit that home run on that cold rainy night that cleared the bleachers that’s the hit that makes it hard for a hitter — how do you stay disciplined and not let that happen?

LAUREN SWEET: It’s hard. Hitting is a very hard thing to do. I think just staying focused every at-bat and going up there to hit the ball hard instead of, oh, my gosh, I have to hit it out right now to help my team win. Just going out there to be a base. We always talk about being a base and just getting on any way you can, whether it’s a walk, a base hit, bunt, anything. So I think just going out there and staying focused on just being a base, that’s the main thing.

Q. You’re just looking for a sac fly?

LAUREN SWEET: Anything that’s going to help us score.

Q. Megan, now that you’re seeing hitters in the World Series, is that different from what your expectations for yourself are or where you went on the regular season or earlier on in the postseason at all?

MEGAN BETSA: No, my expectations for myself are to give up the fewest amount of runs to give my team a chance to win. And that hasn’t changed from the first game to now.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Alabama

An Interview with: COACH PATRICK MURPHY, DEMI TURNER, HAYLIE MCLENEY, LEONA LAFAELE, ALEXIS OSORIO

THE MODERATOR: Now we have, to my right, University of Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy, student-athlete Demi Turner, student-athlete Haylie McCleney, student-athlete Leona Lafaele, student- athlete Alexis Osorio. General comments from Coach.

COACH MURPHY: Michigan played a great game. Congrats to them. Their pitcher was awesome. They had two key hits. And I mean other than those two big swings, (Alexis Osorio) Lexi pitched a good game. We just didn’t do enough offensively to support her. And I always tell them, you know, winning or losing doesn’t happen by accident. You have to do something to win; and then on the other side of it, unfortunately, you don’t do enough of other things when you lose. And we had way too many 0-fers. I think we only had one kid at second base. You’re not going to win many games against a very good team offensively like that. We had to put some more pressure on them and we didn’t do that.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Haylie, Demi and Patrick, can you talk about the lack of production at the top of the lineup, in particular the small ball game at times you’ve been able to create chaos and things and you’re just not getting them wanting to do anything lately?

COACH MURPHY: Andrea (Hawkins) did a nice job as a pinch-hitter. Demi (Turner) did a nice job in the first inning to make a good play on her. Other than that, there just wasn’t enough of that. And we continually did the same thing over and over, three pop-ups in a row or something like that. Again, against a very good team, a very good pitcher, you’re not going to win many ballgames like that.

HAYLIE MCLENEY: Along with what Coach Murphy said, you have to make adjustments every at-bat. And we didn’t really do a good job of creating offense. It was, like you said, over and over. And we just didn’t do it.

DEMI TURNER: Like both of them said, we just didn’t do it, and the whole game we’re saying we’re just missing everything. And it’s time to make a change. I went to hitting, simple, just tired of missing.

Q. Alexis, want to ask about the home run, the grand slam they hit. What do you remember about that pitch, I think it was a 3-2 pitch?

ALEXIS OSORIO: They’re a really good hitting team. So hats off to them. And I missed my spot. So they’re a really good hitting team.

Q. For all the players and for Patrick: Patrick, you’ve been in this situation before, losing in the first and having come through the loser’s bracket. I guess nobody, the players have. What do you tell them about it, and for the players what do you know what your path has to be and what you have to do to make this a successful run?

COACH MURPHY: Well, the great thing it’s a double elimination tournament. So we get to play again. And actually one year we played Michigan, and it was — we played poorly and they played great. I think they beat us maybe 7 to 1. And we came back and we played great on Saturday, won two games. Got to Sunday, and I mean — I don’t think anybody was nervous tonight. I don’t think we overlooked them. It was just she pitched a hell of a game and we just didn’t string anything together and now we have another opportunity. And we know whoever it’s going to be is going to be a very good team, because everybody that’s here is dang good. And you have to respect the hell out of everybody that’s here and just get a little more fight, a little more grit and hopefully we’ll show everybody the real Alabama. Because we have another opportunity.

ALEXIS OSORIO: We can’t let this game affect us. We just have to go back out there tomorrow and just have a short-term memory and make the adjustments that we need to make as a whole.

LEONA LAFAELE: Like (Alexis Osorio) Lex said and (Patrick Murphy) Murph, thankfully it’s a double elimination. And for the players it’s all about just living in the moment, having a short-term memory and really playing to fight to wear the jersey again. That’s what it’s all about.

HAYLIE MCLENEY: I mean, we lost the first game to Oklahoma. This team has a lot of grit. We’re going to show it. Like they said, you’ve got to have a short-term memory. Why not us? Has anyone ever lost the first game and won it twice, let’s be the third. Let’s make history. Why not us? I believe in this team. I believe in everyone up here I believe in everyone that’s out there signing autographs right now that we can do it. And everyone else believes that too. Why not us?

DEMI TURNER: Like they said, we’ll stay within ourselves, take one game at a time and play Alabama softball.

Q. Leona, you’re kind of an emotional leader of this team. What’s this mean for you this opportunity to reenergize things after this loss?

LEONA LAFAELE: I think we just really need to live in the moment and like not let this affect us and don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. Just forget about it, learn from it, learn how to make adjustments and really come out on fire, because like (Patrick Murphy) Murph said, every single team here is good and we can’t overlook anyone, and so we’ve got to come out with our hair on fire, whenever our next game is, just come out to play.

Q. For the three hitters, what made their pitcher so good what was she doing that kept you off strides so much?

LEONA LAFAELE: She did a really good job at just hitting her spots. And I think for myself I didn’t make an adjustment. I didn’t do a good job of laying off the rise ball or laying off or seeing the changeup. I think we could have just done a really better job at just adjusting us as players. She’s going to pitch the way she does. It’s us as hitters that have to make the adjustments.

HAYLIE MCLENEY: Along with what Leona (Lafaele) said, we didn’t really help ourselves. She was hitting her spots all night. Her changeup was one of the most effective I’ve seen all year. She was getting us to swing in the dirt and she was getting us to swing at pitches over our head. We didn’t do a good job of adjusting at all. And when you’re swinging at pitches that really aren’t in the strike zone, that pitcher is going to be effective. But hats off to her. She pitched one heck of a game, one of the best I’ve seen her pitch all season. So it was tough tonight, for sure.

DEMI TURNER: Like they both said, she pitched a great game. We’ve just got to stay within ourselves and make adjustments throughout the game, stop doing the same thing over and over again.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the third game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 3 seed Michigan defeated No. 6 seed Alabama by a score of 5-0. With the win, Michigan improved to 57-6 overall, while Alabama fell to 47-14.

Michigan will next play at 8:30 p.m. CT on Friday against the winner of the contest between No. 7 seed UCLA and No. 2 seed Oregon. Alabama will play the loser of the UCLA-Oregon matchup at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Making their 11th WCWS appearance (1995, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2001, ’02, ’04, ’05, ’09, ’13, ’15), the Wolverines are now 10-20 all time at the event. The Crimson Tide dropped to 16-18 overall in 10 WCWS appearances (2000, ’03, ’05, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’12, ’14, ’15).

Michigan sophomore pitcher Megan Betsa threw the complete game shutout, giving up four hits. She walked just one batter and struck out six. On the season, Betsa holds a 31-4 record.

Michigan sophomore Kelly Christner opened the scoring with a solo shot to right field, her 21st home run of the season.

Senior Lauren Sweet sent a fourth-inning grand slam to right field to increase Michigan’s lead to 5-0. Sweet has now hit three grand slams in her career and two this year. It was the first grand slam given up by Alabama freshman pitcher Alexis Osorio this season.

Michigan’s two home runs in the contest moved it into first place in the NCAA this season with 117 total.

Alabama’s Osorio surrendered five runs on four hits in six innings of play. The freshman, who fell to 21-9 this season, allowed four walks and tallied seven strikeouts in the game.

Michigan became the first Big Ten team to shut out Alabama since Penn State did so in 2003. It was also just the second time the Crimson Tide was held scoreless this season (March 21 against Florida).

The Crimson Tide recorded four total hits in the game, including two from senior Jadyn Spencer and one each from freshman Demi Turner and junior Andrea Hawkins.

The loss was the first time Alabama dropped its opening game of the WCWS since 2009, when it also fell to Michigan.

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2015 WCWS Press Conference Interview with Curt Schilling http://fastpitch.tv/interview-curt-schilling http://fastpitch.tv/interview-curt-schilling#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 19:57:57 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38382 2015 WCWS Press Conference Interview with American Major League Baseball Pitcher Curt Schilling Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message. Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites: http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook http://Fastpitch.TV/Store http://Fastpitch.TV/Instagram http://Fastpitch.TV/Newsletter http://Fastpitch.TV/Books http://Fastpitch.TV/Backers http://Fastpitch.TV/Apps http://Fastpitch.TV/Twitter http://Fastpitch.TV/GooglePlus http://Fastpitch.TV/YouTube http://Fastpitch.TV/Pinterest http://Fastpitch.TV/Flickr http://FastpitchMagazine.com […]

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2015 WCWS Press Conference Interview with American Major League Baseball Pitcher Curt Schilling

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2015 WCWS Game 2 Quotes and Notes LSU 6, Auburn 1 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-2 http://fastpitch.tv/2015-wcws-game-2#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 18:05:37 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38353 2015 WCWS Game 2 “Quotes and Notes” LSU 6, Auburn 1 LSU An Interview With: COACH BETH TORINA, CARLEY HOOVER, BIANKA BELL, KELLSI KLOSS, EMILY GRIGGS THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by LSU head coach Beth Torina, Bianka Bell, Carley Hoover and Kellsi Kloss. Coach, general statements about the game. COACH TORINA: I think that Auburn played […]

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2015WCWSQuotesGame2

2015 WCWS Game 2 “Quotes and Notes”
LSU 6, Auburn 1

LSU

An Interview With: COACH BETH TORINA, CARLEY HOOVER, BIANKA BELL, KELLSI KLOSS, EMILY GRIGGS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by LSU head coach Beth Torina, Bianka Bell, Carley Hoover and Kellsi Kloss. Coach, general statements about the game.

COACH TORINA: I think that Auburn played a really good game against us. I think they’re a tough team. I think they’re going to continue to do well throughout the week. We wish them luck. Our team played a great game. I thought the best thing about the game was it was well pitched, well played, but I liked our team’s fight. I thought they scored whether we had two outs or not. They were able to score and answer to Auburn anytime they did something. I thought our team showed a lot of guts and a lot of fight.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. I think you won six straight games in this tournament. Carley has four wins, two saves, could you talk about her rising to the occasion beyond what she did beyond that?

COACH TORINA: I think the bigger the game, the better she pitches. From what we know about her this year, she wants the ball in these situations and she truly thrives in them. So it’s a lot of fun having somebody like her on our team and having somebody you know can perform under pressure. I think that’s the whole key to this is being able to get it done when the lights are on.

Q. Bianka Bell, your first ever at-bat, home run, can you talk about it?

BIANKA BELL: With two outs just trying to get on base, find my way on, do it with two outs and just hope someone can score me in. I guess I just got all of the ball and it went out but that was really cool, exciting I guess.

Q. Carley, talk about being in the circle today and being able to do what you needed to do every inning?

CARLEY HOOVER: I think what was really cool about today was that I personally didn’t feel like I had 100 percent, I was missing a lot of middle. But our defense was so strong. We made amazing plays and our offense rallied. It always helps when we score first. Bianka’s home run — I think it’s an overall good team win and like I said really strong defense.

Q. For those who haven’t seen LSU before, they seem to have an excitable bench, a lot going on during the game. Can you talk about what’s taking place on the bench with maybe some of the masks or whatever is happening and just talk about how that helps I guess the team rally?

EMILY GRIGGS: I think the main thing on this team is everybody knows that they have a part in everything that we do. So whether you’re playing shortstop or you’re on the bench, we need every single person. So just everybody being 100 percent, like diving into the game and giving their all, all their energy for us. I think that really helps our energy.

KELLSI KLOSS: I think it’s cool to see our personalities come out during the game. I think that stuff is good to keep us loose and just reminds us that it’s a game. If we’re not enjoying having fun, then we’re not going to play as good. We have crazy stuff like masks and horse heads and we got a fish named Juanita for the trip. It’s stuff to keep us loose. Coach says we always play better when we’re loose like that.

CARLEY HOOVER: I think we really scrape and fight for every single run. Every single run matters whether it’s a home run or whether it’s a grand slam, they’re all exciting and you can’t be crazy.

BIANKA BELL: Like she said, our motto is can’t be crazy. It just keeps the game fun for us. Nobody likes to press and be tight the entire game. By using the mask and having the new fish that we just got just makes it light and it keeps it fun for us.

COACH TORINA: I don’t know about the fish. I like personalities. I think there’s nothing like the dynamic of a team. It’s so cool to be a part of a team. It’s something that’s indescribable if you’ve never been a part of it. It’s something that I enjoy. I think all their individual personalities truly make us who we are. I encourage personalities. There’s some things we’re really uniform about. There’s some standards that we uphold and every single girl on the team upholds those, but for the most part who they are as people is what makes us LSU. So I love that side of them. Maybe they do get a little crazy at times and they have to rein them back in but I’d much rather that than the other way.

Q. Bianka, where did the fish come from?

BIANKA BELL: I don’t know, we went to Wal-Mart when we got here, and she’s, like, go get snacks. And me and Allie (Walljasper) just got a fish instead. (Laughter).

COACH TORINA: I was not on this trip. I was at the administrative meeting, just for the record.

Q. Kellsi, what do you feed the fish, and who is responsible for that?

KELLSI KLOSS: Bianka told me you only feed them once a month. So this particular fish you only need to feed them once a month. But we got her a home and some pebbles and some nice plants to swim through, so she’s well taken care of.

BIANKA BELL: I Googled it. So… Wikipedia is promising, so I hope she’ll live through the week.

Q. Kellsi, can you talk about your home run that went out of the park and hit the foul pole?

KELLSI KLOSS: I mean, I wasn’t trying to do anything too big, I was just trying to make an adjustment for my last at-bat and try to get a little more on top of the ball. And I put a good swing on it. And I stayed inside it enough to hit the pole and it’s really exciting. It kind of got me just a little more comfortable and in my zone, and I think that just set a good tone for the rest of the day and my team fed off of it which is really cool.

Q. Were you wondering, did it appear foul?

KELLSI KLOSS: I knew it had the distance to go out, but I was kind of willing it to go fair. So, it was a really good feeling when I saw it hit the pole.

Q. Beth, you’ve seen A.J. (Andrews) make a lot of great plays over her career. Where does the one she made in center rank?

COACH TORINA: I think it’s right there with so many others she made. It’s almost like we don’t have to watch her make the catch because we know as soon as she’s out there she’s going to make it. She’s such a spectacular defensive player. She dives as well as any player I’ve seen. Looked like she almost broke her wrist on the play it got caught. And you know what I thought? She would have broken her wrist to catch that ball. Because that’s who she is. She’s our leader. She’ll do anything it takes to catch any ball that we need her to. She’ll run through a wall. She’ll do whatever it takes. She’s our senior, our leader. She wants it as much as anybody for sure.

Q. Coach, getting on Marcy Harper as good as you guys did. She had a good game against you guys during the series you had against them. How much was that important and how much you guys broke her down to be able to jump on her like that?

COACH TORINA: She’s been so good for them lately. I think she has been a huge reason for a lot of their success lately. She’s thrown so well for them. So we definitely had a good plan, I think, for her going into it because we had to, because she’s really talented and has done really well. We were able to get to her a little bit on Sunday in the series so we came in with that same idea. And we were lucky we got a few things to go our way today for sure. If somebody got the breaks today we got them. We had everything fall in that possibly could, I thought, on the day. And she’s a great pitcher, has done a lot for Auburn here in the last few weeks.

Q. Kellsi, I just remember how excited you were last week going into the Super Regional and having a chance to make it to the women’s College World Series. Just talk about that excitement and also channeling that in the right way to produce the victory?

KELLSI KLOSS: I mean, this is something I’ve dreamed of attending my entire life. As a little girl this is what you play for. This is the moment you live for your entire softball career. And to get here, it was a complete dream come true for me. I didn’t even believe it an hour after we won to get into the World Series I was still in disbelief. But just getting here you have to take it all in for a second but then you remember it’s the game you’ve played your entire life. There’s nothing new, nothing changes. Coach said it’s the same, 60 feet to each base and 43 feet to the mound. I gave myself a minute to enjoy it and then I focused in and I acted like it was just another game.

Q. The two-out hitting, the clutch hitting, what did that mean to you? I think your first five runs all came with two outs.

COACH TORINA: I thought they did a good job of having the same at-bats, whether it was no outs or two outs. I thought they did a good job of just having quality at-bats and not necessarily worrying about the situation, just looking for the right pitch, staying in the plan, trusting Coach (Howard) Dobson’s plan and then going out and getting it done. I thought that was really good they just continued to keep the same mentality and continued to fight.

Q. Coach, this Auburn team last week played your in-state rival, correct, and the end of the game that one game was pretty crazy where they lost the lead. My question is regarding freshmen stepping into your sport and being able to perform at a high level. I talked to Jenna Lilley from Oregon and obviously Carley Hoover, do you feel it’s something particular to the sport of softball? A lot of time freshmen don’t play, they redshirt. Do you think that’s a testament to club softball, or is it more to the individual? I don’t know if you give much thought to it. And specifically with Carley, how she’s been able to — she didn’t walk anybody, didn’t hit any batters today, and that’s huge to closing it out.

COACH TORINA: I think the freshmen we have on our team are spectacular. I think they’ve been battle tested before they even got to LSU. I think they’ve been coached very well throughout their lives, played in some big stages already. They’ve played for great travel coaches and have really understood the game throughout their life. So it makes my job as a coach a lot easier. I think both Allie (Walljasper), Carley (Hoover) and Emily (Griggs) have all been challenged and play. They’ve been playing against these same kids on this field against us for their whole lives. So I don’t think it makes it that much different for them once they get here, different colors, uniforms, added pressure. I’ve watched these guys play under pressure for a long time. I already knew they were capable of doing the things they were doing here today.

Q. Beth, on the same lines, but what has allowed Carley, you talk about her being somebody who wants the ball in these kind of games, if you go back to fall ball or the first few weeks of the season, what separated her at that point in time from being able to throw this kind of game?

COACH TORINA: I think she’s just continued to grow throughout the year. I think she’s continued to get better and better. And she’s not the same pitcher today that she was when we started in February. And she definitely is not the same pitcher she was in the fall. The one thing she’s always had, though, is what’s inside of her. She’ll try to beat you, if we’re walking from the dugout to the fence, or whatever we’re trying to do, she’ll try to win. She’s one of the most competitive people I’ve been around. She’s always had that. She’s worked really hard on some things mechanically, doing some things better, making some adjustments. I mean, the way we call the game for her now, it’s not even close to the way we called the game for her early in the season. She’s grown so much. She’s able to mix pitches, mix speeds, do things so much better than where we were early. And I think that’s a huge reason for this late success, too.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

Auburn

An Interview with: COACH CLINT MYERS, BRANNDI MELERO, KASEY COOPER, RACHAEL WALTERS, MORGAN ESTELL

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Auburn University Head Coach Clint Myers, student-athlete Branndi Melero, Kasey Cooper, Rachael Walters and Morgan Estell.

COACH MYERS: We’re still in this. We talked about it as a team. We played a very good LSU team. The difference as I see it is that with two outs, they got key hits and we had opportunities. Again, we didn’t do it. But we hit a lot more balls hard. We had a lot more quality at-bats. I thought our pitching was good. We made two mistakes. And the balls that they hit for home runs, those weren’t pitches that were down the middle. One was in her eyes that she tomahawked down the line, and the other was a great change. I have no problem with those pitches. The key things is it’s just handling the ball. And we gave them an extra opportunity. But I like the way we finished. I thought we gained some momentum for our game on Saturday. We know who we play. It’s not like we haven’t seen them. It’s the same team we played in the SEC championship. So it’s going to be a great softball game. I like our chances, and I think we’re moving in the right direction.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. For any of the players who want to answer, were there any jitters, or did you guys feel calm, or did it take a little bit to get over the stage for any of you?

KASEY COOPER: I don’t think there were any jitters. It’s just another ballgame. Yes, it’s the College World Series, but I don’t think that any of us were nervous or played tight. You saw that was evident after we saw her one time around. We started hitting the ball more hard and had better quality at-bats. I don’t think there were jitters at all. I thought it was just another ballgame and another field we were trying to get used to.

MORGAN ESTELL: I agree with Kasey (Cooper). I don’t think there were any jitters. We had quality at-
bats. We hit hard balls right at people, and they had good hits with two outs, like coach said, and we couldn’t string enough hits together.

RACHAEL WALTERS: I agree with both of my teammates. I don’t think there were any jitters. Kind of helped that we played an SEC team that we’ve already played before, I think. And we just came out ready — well, ready to play. The odds didn’t really go in our favor today. But I don’t really think we were nervous and we’re ready to get back at it I guess on Saturday.

BRANNDI MELERO: We prepare for stuff like this. Coach has worked us really hard, and they prepared us and told us that crowd’s going to be big, make sure you communicate and everything. So I felt we were prepared coming out here. Like Rachel (Walters) said, the odds weren’t in our favor. But it doesn’t mean we were done. We’re going to come back and continue to win.

Q. Branndi, when you play against the teams that you’ve seen before in the tournament, five SEC teams, does that make things more comfortable for you, or would you prefer to see other teams? I mean, I guess is it more comfortable to play against teams you’ve seen before?

BRANNDI MELERO: You always feel comfortable playing against teams you’ve seen multiple times. You’re facing the same pitchers that you face in the SEC Tournament. And I feel like an SEC team playing an SEC team is kind of an upper hand for us. So to us it’s just like another game. Like we’ve done it before, and if we have to continue doing it, then that’s what we have to do.

Q. Rachael, looked like you had good stuff out there today and were throwing controlled. Did you feel that way?

RACHAEL WALTERS: Yeah, I felt really comfortable today. Like I said, there weren’t many jitters today. I faced the hitters before, so I pretty much know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and I just try to play to that. I just went out there and threw my game. And I thought it went pretty well on defense-wise.

Q. For anybody. You play Tennessee a few weeks ago in a clutch pressure game in the SEC Tournament championship game. Now that you’ve been here in this atmosphere, how will it be different playing a familiar team at this stage? How is this different, you played these guys three weeks ago, but this is a bigger game, how is it any different?

BRANNDI MELERO: It’s not going to be any different. A game is a game. Doesn’t matter who is across the dugout from us. We just have to go out there and play Auburn softball.

KASEY COOPER: For us at that point, that was the biggest game we ever played. I think it’s the same way. Now we’re playing for our lives, our backs are against the wall and we’re coming out fighting.

RACHAEL WALTERS: I agree. It’s not a bigger game to us because we do this every day. And I mean, yes, that was in the SEC championship, but this is at the World Series. And like Kasey (Cooper) said, we’re fighting for our lives. I think that’s just the point of view we’re going to come out playing for.

MORGAN ESTELL: I agree with everything they say, I’m not going to repeat it.

Q. Kasey, talk about the play on the bunt, the double play, and kind of how disappointing was it that that didn’t end up stopping that inning like it would?

KASEY COOPER: Well, Corey (Myers) and Coach really harps on not letting the bunts go down this week. We knew LSU is a speed team. We didn’t want that to come into play like the last series we played against LSU. So we really focused on being able, on bunts, to get the outs, and it just so happened that she left it in the air long enough for me to be able to grab it. And then I threw it up to (Emily) Carosone to hopefully make a play, and she did. So it was a little disappointing; however, they came out with two outs and we didn’t. So they capitalized.

Q. Coach, with the day off tomorrow, what do you guys focus on, or what do you work on, how do you use the day off to get ready for Saturday now?

COACH MYERS: It’s like any other day. We’re going to go do our work and we’ll let them experience the great city of Oklahoma City here, and do a few things. I mean, there’s a lot of the World Series that they haven’t experienced yet. They need to so they can see the vast entity that this thing really is. And we’ll go and do our daily workout and get our work done so that we’re prepared to play Tennessee on Saturday.

Q. You know better than they do what the path is to go from losing the first game to try to fight through four games in two days, if you’re successful. How do you prepare for that and yet still take it one at a time?

COACH MYERS: I mean, I think the last team to do it was Florida. And they came back and we played them in the World Series, so it can be done, in the championship series, I’m sorry. It is exactly what you said, it’s just one game at a time, and whether we have to play two or three or four, whatever it would be, we came here to play. We came here to prove that we deserve to be here. And we’re going to take it one game at a time and we’re going to go out there and we’re going to keep getting better. And it’s just one of those things. You just play one and take a little breather, go eat some dinner, and then come back and play a second one and I’m hoping we’re here to play that fourth one you were talking about. Because then that will put us in the championship game. It is just one at a time. But I was proud to how they battled back and the way we finished that. So we can do it.

Q. Coach, you said you like your chances playing against Tennessee. Just what’s that matchup like for you?

COACH MYERS: Well, it’s just two old guys that will be playing a game of softball. I mean, last time we played it was way past both of our bedtimes. So, Tennessee is a well-coached, well-disciplined team. They know us, we know them, and it’s going to come down to simple execution, not beating yourself, taking advantage of mistakes, timely hitting. So those are the things that they preached and we preach. And so it’s just which team can go out there and do the things that they prepared for. If we can do that, then I like our chances.

Q. Morgan and Branndi, you both had good solid hits off of Carley Hoover. What was it about the way she was pitching and how were you able to solve her to give your team a chance today?

MORGAN ESTELL: For me, I see a good pitch, hit it, it’s not any different, no matter who is pitching, just up there, get down on time and put your barrel on it, and that’s all I focus on.

BRANNDI MELERO: I think it was the fact this is the third time we’ve seen her pitch the whole game, and you go in there and you learn from your mistakes from the last time and you watch film. That’s what it comes down to.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

POSTGAME NOTES

In the first game of the 2015 Women’s College World Series, No. 1 seed Florida defeated No. 8 seed Tennessee, 7-2. Florida improved to 56-6 on the year with the victory while Tennessee fell to 47-16.

With the win, the Gators will next play on Friday at 6 p.m. CT against the winner of No. 4 seed Auburn and No. 5 seed LSU. The Lady Vols will face the Auburn-LSU loser at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday.

Making its seventh WCWS appearance (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’14, ‘15), defending national champion Florida improved to 18-11 all-time in the event with its win today. Tennessee dropped to 15-13 all-time in its seventh WCWS appearance (2005, ’06, ’07, ’10, ’12, ’13, ‘15).

Florida senior pitcher Lauren Haeger opened the scoring with a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning. The home run was Haeger’s 17th of the season and the first in her WCWS career. Haeger finished the game 2 for 2 at the plate.

In the circle, Haeger gave up two runs on one hit. She walked no batters and struck out four in seven innings. The 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year improved to 29-1 on the season with the win.

Freshman Gator Kayli Kvistad sent a two-run home run to right center field in the third inning to increase Florida’s lead to 3-0. The home run was Kvistad’s sixth of the season.

Tennessee’s only hit of the contest came from sophomore Megan Geer, who recorded a two-run home run in the fourth inning. The home run, her 14th of the season, was the 100th of the season for the Lady Vols. It also broke Haeger’s streak of 32 consecutive scoreless innings in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee junior pitcher Rainey Gaffin fell to 17-4 on the season with the loss. She surrendered five runs in four innings of work. Gaffin gave up five hits and a walk while striking out two batters. Junior Erin Gabriel pitched two innings for the Lady Vols, giving up two hits, two runs and three walks while striking out three.

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2015 WCWS Press Conference Championship Game 2 Florida http://fastpitch.tv/championship-game-2-florida http://fastpitch.tv/championship-game-2-florida#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 06:21:24 +0000 Gary Leland http://fastpitch.tv/?p=38357 Championship Game 2 Florida Post Game Press Conference Please become a BACKER of The Fastpitch TV Network (CLICK HERE) Have A Question or Some Feedback? Click and send me a voice message. Fastpitch TV Social Media Sites: http://Fastpitch.TV/Facebook http://Fastpitch.TV/Store http://Fastpitch.TV/Instagram http://Fastpitch.TV/Newsletter http://Fastpitch.TV/Books http://Fastpitch.TV/Backers http://Fastpitch.TV/Apps http://Fastpitch.TV/Twitter http://Fastpitch.TV/GooglePlus http://Fastpitch.TV/YouTube http://Fastpitch.TV/Pinterest http://Fastpitch.TV/Flickr http://FastpitchMagazine.com This content is provided with […]

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Championship Game 2 Florida Post Game Press Conference

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