2015 WCWS Game 7 “Quotes and Notes”
Auburn 4, Tennessee 2
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.
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.
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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