Game 10 Quotes and Notes Oregon 4, Oklahoma 2
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Oregon Head Coach Mike White, Cheridan Hawkins, Janie Takeda and Kailee Cuico. We will start with comments by Coach.
COACH WHITE: First off, I want to say congratulations to Oklahoma. What they've achieved this year has been tremendous. A lot of people wrote them off and said they couldn't do it with the people they'd lost and I think they proved everybody wrong. They came back and had their best hitter up in the country, or one of the best hitters in the country, up there in the last inning and they fought right to the very end. Hats off to the seniors, Henson, Martinez, and Williams. They had great careers and won a World Series ring. It was tremendous for them.
Thank you to the Oklahoma public for coming out and supporting this tournament. I think this was the third largest session crowd, which is tremendous and it shows why we want the tournament in this city. The way it's been run is tremendous and I think it continues to get better and with the improvements they're bringing to this stadium it's tremendous. We're in seventh heaven coming here. It's every little girl's dream to be here, and for my girls it's surreal. And maybe in a couple of weeks you start to think, “Hey, we were there.” It's tremendous, so thank you very much.
Q. Did you want to talk about just the strategy with the pitching, bringing Cheridan out and back in there in the last inning?
COACH WHITE: Yeah, the No. 9 hitter had some pretty good atbats off Cheridan and I thought she was on her and I thought I would bring in just a different look. It worked good for the first two pitches and then a coach's nightmare — 02 pitch and it gets hit and you go “What are you doing out there?” I think she was pretty pumped up and sometimes you get the best of the moment, but she hung on there and made some good plays. Obviously it was a great dig by our first baseman on the throw. That's the difference in the game. It's always about inches. I know Cheridan struck out Williams before on the rise ball and I felt pretty confident with lefty versus lefty in that situation and that's why I brought Cheridan back in.
Q. Kailee, when did you find out you were going to be moved up in the order and what was your reaction, you came up with a couple of big RBIs.
KAILEE CUICO: I found out in the locker room right before the game and I don't know; it made my presence here on this team and it solidified why I'm here and the trust that my coaches have for me and that my team has. It felt really good. It was great to be back in a spot that I'm pretty familiar with.
Q. Coach, in retrospect how big was that play where their runner was caught off third on the missed bunt?
COACH WHITE: Definitely. I love the strategy she was employing there. The first time it was a fake bunt and threw our defense off, taking time, expecting the same play and she threw a squeeze out there. Unfortunately for them we were throwing outside quite a bit and that's what happened. You roll the dice and things happen that way.
In retrospect, you say why did you do that. If it turned out to be a great bunt it would have been a tremendous call. But Patty does a tremendous job and I appreciated the strategy. I thought it was pretty good. Just didn't turn out for her.
Q. What challenges does Alabama present?
COACH WHITE: A lot. I mean, obviously they've got a good pitching staff. Jackie Traina, when she is on, she is pretty tough. And obviously right now she is throwing pretty well. We've got to be patient and hold them down and do a better job of scoring our runners and zoning the ball up. We're letting too many pitches go. We have to be aggressive in the strike zone because you can't let a pitcher like Jackie Traina get ahead of you. And of course their offense is very tough. We will see what tomorrow brings. We'll come out and do our best and hopefully we’re on the right side of the score.
Q. Cheridan, from your perspective, can you give us your thoughts as you got back on the mound for that final out?
CHERIDAN HAWKINS: You know, I was really happy for Hove. I thought she did a great job getting those two outs. She came in and did a good job and I was glad to get out there and help her finish it. And I was glad I was given that opportunity to get that last out for my team. It was exciting.
Q. Janie, talk about getting that early lead and the early jump and what it provided for Cheridan giving her that early lead.
JANIE TAKEDA: I think, especially on our team, we really try to work for our pitchers and our pitchers work for us, so that's huge. I came up and told myself to see the ball. So it was obviously an exciting moment, and I was glad that I could come up clutch for my team.
Q. Kailee or Janie, you guys had a rough day at the plate yesterday. What was the difference for you guys today?
KAILEE CUICO: For me it was just settling in and just getting really comfortable. Yesterday I didn't really hit the ball, but I did feel more comfortable in the box, and that's just a feeling you know yourself.
Today was just about seeing the pitch in the zone and putting a swing on it and hopefully it comes out for you in the right way.
JANIE TAKEDA: Yesterday I hit a couple balls hard on the inside part of the ball, so I wasn't too disappointed with my performance, they just went right at people. So you gotta think about if you hit the ball hard, not how many hits did you actually get, so it's just a mindset.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso, Lauren Chamberlain, Kelsey Stevens and Shelby Pendley. We will begin with an opening statement from Coach Gasso.
COACH GASSO: First, congratulations to the Oregon Ducks for playing a hardfought game. They're a tough team. They keep pressure on you with the pitching staff. They're just a very complete team. I have to say that we understand that we've been blessed by God with some great gifts and this team every day goes out to leave those gifts on the field and you can feel that every day of practice. This is always the hardest part of the season, being in this press conference, unless you're holding a trophy. Then things feel a little bit better.
But I cannot tell you how incredibly proud I am of this team. Each one of these athletes up here have their own story, from Shelby Pendley throwing, pitching in a game at the College World Series when she hasn't thrown for two years. She came to us and said “I can help you if you need me,” and the next thing you know, she is saving games, getting wins and she is a starter at the College World Series.
Kelsey transferring over to OU and working to find out how to fit in our program. I truly have seen the growth of this pitcher to become and will be one of the forces in this game for the next couple of years — just her tenacity and her grit and her competitive spirit. I got to really see it grow and it was wonderful to watch. Lauren Chamberlain went through the aches and pains of everything from her back, and we're trying to stay in the season so she can come back and help us. And she comes in and then she has a knee problem, and the pain this young woman has gone through to help her team win and get to the College World Series was incredible.
Every player on this team has a story of selflessness and hard work and teamwork. I’m incredibly proud of my coaching staff. They were phenomenal. They were trying to piece things together and pull things out of players. And, man, I've had so many different lineups and worked these athletes in different places. Athletes like Georgia Casey, who is playing short, second, third base and pitching. The growth of kids like Whitney Ellis who had we had a beautiful double play with strike three and throw ’em out at second earlier this evening. Just different names. Everybody has a story. Kady Self — if we didn't have her we wouldn't be here right now, and she goes down with an ACL.
It's an incredible story about the journey. I talked to the team and it's not about the ring right now, it's about the journey that we took. We trusted the path. We give the glory above and we respect each other and this group as a team and all their hard work. It was an incredible ride as a coach. I'm so thankful for their efforts and so incredibly proud.
Q. Kelsey, could you give us a sense of what you went through today physically to throw so many pitches and to really hang in, basically, not just tonight against Oregon but gutting out what you did against ULL earlier?
KELSEY STEVENS: I think it's just a lot of mental toughness. I mean, I honestly was feeling pretty tight the first game, but I said no matter what I'm going to leave it on the field for my team and I actually felt really good going into the second game. I got some good rest. But I think it will be good. I feel like I'm getting strong and getting to throw more pitches and I'll be ready for next year.
Q. Coach, you talked about the journey that you guys have been on. Last night you talked about the way the season started and to be here. Emotional roller coaster this weekend, but at what point do you guys sit back and appreciate all you've accomplished this season and could you talk about the fan support and how much that meant to you guys and how much it boosted your confidence and everything?
COACH GASSO: I think it will take us a little bit of time, because there is just this team believed they could win it all. As soon as we started to figure some things out and got on a roll we felt like we were invincible.
So it's going to take a little time to come down from that, especially when you're a team that was holding the trophy last year. Once that happens, that's the only thing you want to do. That's what you live for on the field. That's the only thing that this program and this team will accept is carrying that trophy.
But we also understand that journey. So it was something that I know we'll look back on with fondness and fight, and in preparation for these guys for their lives in the future, all those things that sports brings to young athletes and learning how to live.
But it also prepares us for the future. Our seniors did a nice job of stepping up when we needed them. I could tell you, I don't think we had a very good weekend, honestly. I think our pitchers kept us in the games. We had opportunities at times. We just didn't clutchup when we needed to and that's something that's been with us for the last couple of months. We just didn't swing the bats very well tonight. We wasted some opportunities early. We can look back at that, but it won't last very long. I think we're excited about where we went and where it's going to take us next year. We're really excited about that. But the love these guys have, it's special. It's special.
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: The fans were awesome. I think individually and as a team we can say the same thing. I know individually when I was going through some of the things with my injuries. I'm big on social networks and my fans were there for me. It was really cool because it helped me keep my head in the game and keep my head in the season when it could have been easy to check out on my team. But the love and support of when I came back and also just to see how much they gave us an advantage at home, especially here in the World Series. It's awesome to come in and calm your nerves when you know you're playing in front of your home crowd and they make it feel like a home game.
Our fans have been awesome and the coaches and the rest of the team, we have asked them to step up numerous times and they haven't let us down. I think it's awesome when we can look up and see them having so much fun. I think it's cool that we could feed off each other throughout the season. I know they're already ready for us to start playing again, so thanks for the fans.
Q. Coach, you talked about not being able to kind of capitalize on the opportunities and tonight you had a lot of opportunities but you have to at least be pleased that you guys were relentless in putting yourself in so many positions to where you could score. Not giving up, basically.
COACH GASSO: Yeah, this team has never if we had that mentality, we would not be standing here. There was a time I think it was in midMarch, we're defending national champions and we're getting ranked, down, down, down. We were down at No. 23. We hold, I believe, the record for the only team that's been in the national rankings every week since the inception of the rankings. That's big, to me. I don't care a lot about stats and things like that, but to me that is just a tribute to the consistency of this program.
We were panicked that this team was going to be the team that gets knocked out of the top25, and we would even tell them that to try to fire them up, whatever it took. And to see where we were then and right now, we're in the final six. It's close to being in the final four and that was our goal, to be standing on Sunday and being one swing away from short of our goal, is pretty amazing. That's where we are. These guys will not quit. They will never quit. As long as you're wearing a Sooner uniform, you will not be allowed to quit.
Q. Lauren, two years ago you guys came up short. How much do you see this fueling this team with so much talent coming back? You used that two years ago, this year moving forward how much do you see this coming up short fueling you this coming year?
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: I think what fuels us the most honestly this year would be the senior class that's leaving. They've paved the way and them passing the torch to those of us that are now going to be seniors. Just to leave our legacy on the field as well because they left an awesome legacy. Big shout out to our seniors. Ending on a loss always fuels us for the next season and we have some really good kids coming in and a lot of returners, so I'm really excited for it.
Q. Lauren, you obviously tried not to let it show but can you talk about how much pain you've been in in the last few days or even weeks?
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: It was challenging at first, I guess to kind of recognize that I was going to be in a lot of pain for the remainder of the season. But I think a lot of it was mind control and just managing the pain. I worked a lot on visualizing that I was going to be in pain and that it was going to go away, so I think that was a big part of it. Being put in pressure situations with my team and the adrenaline gets going, it kind of takes over. So I think most of my pain would kind of come on a certain play if I pushed a little too hard or it would show after the game when my adrenaline would kind of go away. But the high spirits in the dugout and everything takes your mind off the pain. I'm looking forward to a good summer of rehab.
Q. Kelsey, what do you take away from your first appearance in the World Series?
KELSEY STEVENS: It was an amazing experience. What I will take away are the memories I made with my teammates. I'm just so happy to be on this team and I really saw so many people grow and step up and, yeah, I'm so happy to be here. I love my team and I'm just excited for next year.
Q. Shelby and Lauren, you guys swing as a lineup you swing the bats here like you did in the regionals, supers, you're probably still playing, especially with the way Kelsey pitched. Is that the breaks of the game or are you seeing better pitching here than you were back in Norman is that just Hawkins and Traina getting the better of you? What was going on?
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: I think we have to give it up to the pitchers that we were facing. They threw really well against our team and at the same time we could have been better and we will take that with us into next season to be better in situations. But shoutout to the pitchers that faced us because they were pitching really well.
SHELBY PENDLEY: I agree with Lauren. I feel like the best pitching is at the College World Series right now and that's the pitching we're facing and when you're facing that kind of pitching you have to make adjustments quick, and we didn't really do that.
Q. Patty, since you guys won this back in 2000 with 2000 seats and fans sitting on the hills, talk about how much not only the stadium but this event has grown and what does it mean to you guys to know that it's going to be here for the long term?
COACH GASSO: It's been something to see, truly. I remember back in 2000. It was our first showing here, and a crowd of 5,000 was overwhelming and we were just rattled. It was like, you can't hear anything!
I look up at the scoreboard tonight and it said 9,000 something for an 8:30 game. It's just the way the sport is growing, the athletes, the passion, the intensity. I've got some of the best athletes sitting right here. People want to come out and see that. It's a great sport to watch and the fans have a blast. There are so many little young, young kids that are just following these guys. To me the beauty of our sport is that probably back in 2000, you would ask some of our athletes “Who are your heroes?” and it's Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan. It’s all male athletes. These kids know Lauren Chamberlain and Jackie Traina and Shelby Pendley. They know the names. They'll name the names because of what television has done for the sport and the exposure and the interest, and it's really been something else. I am just so honored to still be in this game and a part of it to see it and where it's going to go. It keeps going and going and going. It's really incredible.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everybody.
In the 10th game of the 2014 Women’s College World Series, No. 1 seed Oregon defeated No. 7 seed Oklahoma, 4-2. Oregon improved to 56-8-1 this season, while the loss eliminated defending champion OU. The Sooners finished the season with a 51-13 mark, good for the fourth-highest win total in program history.
The Ducks will face No. 2 seed Alabama on Sunday at approximately 2:30 p.m. CT. In order to advance to the championship series, Oregon will have to register two wins against the Crimson Tide.
Tonight’s attendance of 9,323 set a WCWS Session 5 record and represented the third-largest single session crowd in WCWS history.
With the win, Oregon improved to 4-5 all-time in its third WCWS appearance (1989, 2012, ’14), while Oklahoma fell to 16-14 all-time in its ninth appearance (2000, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14). Oregon is 2-1 in this year’s WCWS, and its two wins match its total from the two previous trips. The Sooners finished the tournament with a 1-2 record.
Oregon improved to 29-0 when leading after six innings.
Oregon senior Courtney Ceo finished the ball game 2 for 3 at the plate with a walk. With a fifth-inning bunt single, Ceo became the 25th player in NCAA history to record 102 hits in a season, tying her for 19th on the all-time list. Ceo extended her hitting and on-base streaks to 18 and 31 games, respectively.
Junior Janie Takeda tallied an RBI-double to give Oregon a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Senior Kailee Cuico added a two-run double later in the inning to increase the margin to 3-0. Takeda recorded another RBI in the seventh inning and finished the contest 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Oregon pitcher Cheridan Hawkins started the game and, after being relieved, came back in the seventh to finish it. She allowed two runs (both earned) on four hits and four walks while striking out five batters in 6.1 innings of work. The sophomore improved to 35-5 on the season. Junior Karissa Hovinga relieved Hawkins to start the seventh inning and gave up two hits while recording a pair of outs.
The Sooners got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning on a Jessica Vest single that drove in junior Georgia Casey from third base.
Oklahoma’s Shelby Pendley belted a two-out home run to right field in the fifth inning to cut Oregon’s lead to 3-2. The home run was the junior’s 19th of the season and 60th of her career. Her 67 runs scored this year tied her for fourth most in a season in Big 12 history. Pendley’s home run was the 89th for the Sooners, the third most in a season in Big 12 history.
Pendley started in the circle for the Sooners, just her second start of the season (other was May 4 vs. Texas Tech). The team’s usual third baseman, she dropped to 2-1 on the season. In 2.1 innings of work, Pendley allowed three runs on three hits and one walk. Sophomore Kelsey Stevens gave up one run on four hits and struck out seven batters in 4.2 innings of relief.
After recording three at-bats against Oregon, Oklahoma senior Destinee Martinez finished her career with 799, the second most in the Big 12 annals.
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