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