Washington Post Game 11 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

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Washington Post Game 11 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

Sunday June 4, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Florida – 5, Washington – 2

Washington interview with Heather Tarr, Julia DePonte, Casey Stangel, and Ali Aguilar

HEATHER TARR: You know, I think we are on a mission to go with our best stuff, and today we decided on Taran (Alvelo). You look at it, maybe hindsight, other two pitchers, Madi Schreyer and Samantha Manti did a phenomenal job containing Florida's offense, which is getting on a little bit of a roll. But you know, hindsight is 20/20 and maybe we pitch backwards to get to Taran in this type of a game. But like I said, we were going with what got us here.

(Delanie) Gourley was tough today, as she always is. She's fresh. She hasn't thrown that much. One of the best changeups that we've ever seen that's out there, very deceptive, throws it similar to her other pitches, so makes it tough. But I think she was at her best. We were trying to compete in the box the best we can, and we came up a little bit short, but what happened in that last inning when we scored those couple runs is this team. That's what this team does. Fights. Believes. Trusts each other. Trusts the plan, and couldn't be more proud of a group. Never coached a better group.

Q. Delanie Gourley is one of two senior pitchers in this tournament; can you talk about what you've seen out of the pitching in this tournament and maybe possibly the future? You've got three young pitchers. Just talk about your thoughts on that.

HEATHER TARR: Yeah, pitching, I think, is in a good place in our game, as evidenced by this tournament. I think the strike zone was fair. It was a true strike zone. I think in the past it's been a little bit iffy, maybe not calling the corners. But good strike zone for our game, and I just think the game is at a high right now in terms of pitching, defense, athleticism, just overall. It's an exciting time to be part of college softball and this game.

Q. Coach, Taran (Alvelo) finishes with, I think, 34 or 35 wins; what does that say about her in an age where softball is not usually one pitcher, it's usually more two pitchers?

HEATHER TARR: Yeah, the girls with Taran — although this season has been tremendous, but I think a pitcher doesn't get to that point without a team, and the team had her back, and they taught her a lot of things throughout the season, and there was a lot of things that this team helped her with, and obviously in the end, you know, a pitcher like that that can learn a lot of lessons throughout the season with her team can carry her team, and that's exactly what this team did. They were like the magic carpet that took her where she needed to go, and then likewise, she took us where we needed to go.

Q. Julia, you saw your coach get a little emotional talking about those last two runs. Can you talk about from your perspective what it meant to get those?

JULIA DePONTE: Yeah, like Coach Tarr said, it wasn't about me, it was about our team and doing it together. It wasn't about me. I did it for these two right here. They showed us a tremendous way, they showed us the way, they got us here. We wouldn't be here without them. They changed this culture, and like I said, that home run, whenever that hit, it's all about us. It's all about together. But it was for them, and it was for this team.

Q. Coach, talk about playing in the Pac-12 and how that conference prepares you all for postseason play, also in scheduling non-conference games that sets you up for conference play and then you get into Oklahoma City.

HEATHER TARR: Well, first and foremost, we literally have to thank our institution for supporting us in our endeavors. As you all know, we don't really live close to many teams that you can play outside of conference, so we have one other Division I school that is in our state.

For us to be able to travel and play and compete against the teams that we need to build our schedule for, I mean, we need that support, and we couldn't do it without it. When you do go and play the teams that you sit yourself up for, you have to win, so you have to have a team that can do it.

Playing in the Pac-12 conference, no disrespect to anybody else, but I believe that the conference has the best coaches, the best athletes, and it's a grind, and sometimes I think it's — and in a way, we kind of almost undermine ourselves, and that's no excuse. We compete. We have equal opportunity to get here and compete here as evidenced by UCLA, Oregon, and Washington all playing up until yesterday.

But we compete, and it's a grind, and they're smart coaches, and we play everybody every single year and everybody faces off, and no, we don't have a tournament at the end of the year, but the Pac-12 conference, like I said, it's a grind, and you can't hide in that conference, and you'd better bring it, or you're not going to be able to get out of it.

Q. Ali and Casey, I know it's emotional right now, but if you could could just sum up your careers at Washington.

CASEY STANGEL: I mean, this is the greatest thing I've ever been a part of. It's going to be really tough to not be a part of it every single day. We're always going to be Huskies and we're always going to be a part of this. But this group this year is the greatest thing that I think I will ever be a part of, and so I'm so thankful to the University of Washington and to our coaches and to our team and to our fans. A dream come true is truly an understatement.

ALI AGUILAR: Yeah, I think for Casey and I, we've never been to the World Series, and from the beginning of this year, we — like we have put on our shirts, we wanted to leave no doubt in people's mind that we were going to get here and that we were going to make a statement, and I think that the emotions come from how hard our entire team, our coaching staff and everyone that has been there like on a daily basis for us, like how hard we have worked to get here, and just how hard we've worked to keep the team together. There's a lot of pressure situations, but just a lot of good that's came from it, and I can't think of a better coaching staff that we get to play under. It's going to be hard not being around Coach Tarr all the time, just an amazing person to be able to learn from, and the rest of the coaching staff.

But yeah, I think it's just all that hard work that we've put in, and like Coach Tarr said, there's never going to be another thing that you work together with in a team more than getting to a World Series and winning a national championship. So yeah.

Q. Heather, is there a guessing game you have to play whether it's going to be (Delanie) Gourley or (Kelly) Barnhill, and is it hard to get the team prepared for both of them not knowing which one it's going to be?

HEATHER TARR: I think just, you know, hats off to Florida for having two and three arms. I don't know for the Washington Huskies if it was hard for us to prepare. I think we were ready. I think Gourley pitched a great game. I mean, I don't think it was us. She didn't miss. Maybe one time she missed, and we took advantage of it.

But they're very good. I think we would have liked to have seen both today, but we didn't. We were ready for either one.

All super regionals we had to face three arms, not to the caliber of those two, but we're used to having the preparation to have to do it. Just tip our cap to their pitching staff and their pitching coach. Very good.

Q. I have kind of a two-parter for you. First, can you just talk about what it meant for the program to get this group of seniors here to the World Series, and then can you talk about what they've meant to you as a coach and personally?

HEATHER TARR: Yeah, just in terms of like I have been lucky to have a lot of things set up for me to be successful, and like I'm just trying to give that back to the other people that get to play in this program. It's kind of like a gift that keeps on giving. Like fortunately for us, we were able to earn our way here and continue that gift. What they did for this program this year and the environment that they created and the standards that they helped us continue to set are things that will live forever, and how cool is that that you can say that you had that influence on a program that's already pretty dang good. So I'm just really proud right now.

Q. Julia, earlier you said these two helped change a culture. Can you expand on that a little bit?

JULIA DePONTE: Yeah, so since my freshman year, we've ended our season in Alabama, and yeah, we take the charter bus home two times in a row from Alabama. We're a really good team. We have really good players. But there was just something missing. There was something missing, and I think after sophomore year, we kind of went home that — because I think we were the best team last year. I really do. I think that we had the best offense. I think we had dynamic pitching. I think that we had everything that we needed to win a national championship, but we were missing something, and these two figured it out.

They led us here by bringing us together. That was something that we really appreciated was just being together, being a family, and it started from these two, they recognized that we needed to do something about our team chemistry, and we had team meetings, we did everything that we could to stay together, if there was a problem we stomped it out right away. We kept it in our circle, and they led it. They led it, and we didn't have that before. We didn't have those leaders. We had really good players, but we didn't have any leaders.

But these two are leaders, and they're very different liters. Casey Stangel is more outspoken, Ali Aguilar leads by example, and she tried to improve on being a leader, and I'm so proud of her because I like look up to her now, and I think I look up to both of them because they're both really good leaders, and like Coach Tarr said, they paved the way for our future and they changed our culture here and they changed what it meant to be a Husky, and like Coach Tarr said, this was already a really good program, but I mean, they did it, and I couldn't be more thankful for these two right here.

POSTGAME NOTES
Game 11: Florida 5, Washington 2

  • No. 1 seed Florida topped No. 6 seed Washington 5-2 on Sunday to remain undefeated at the 2017 Women’s College World Series. The Gators improve to 58-8, while the Huskies end their season with a 50-14 mark.
  • With the win, Florida advances to the WCWS Championship Series for the third time in the last four seasons. Florida will be making its fifth appearance in the WCWS Championship Series (2009, ’11, ’14, ’15, ’17). Florida won the NCAA title in 2014 and 2015. The Gators will take on Oregon or Oklahoma in the 2017 WCWS Championship Series starting Monday at 6 p.m. CT.
  • Florida is 25-12 all-time in the WCWS, and Sunday’s victory marked its 13th win at the event since 2014. The Huskies, who were playing in the semifinals for the first time since 2013, dropped to 24-21 at the event.
  • The Gators jumped out in front in the top of the first as Kayli Kvistad recorded her second home run at the WCWS, a solo shot to left center. After Amanda Lorenz pushed Florida’s lead to 2-0, Kvistad added two more RBIs with a single in the top of the second to tack on two more runs. The junior finished 2-for-3 with a run scored, a double and three RBIs.
  • Florida catcher Alex Wheaton drove in her fifth run of the WCWS with a single up the middle in the fifth, plating Nicole DeWitt. DeWhitt added two hits, walked once and scored once for the Gators.
  • Florida’s 1-2-3 hitters (Lorenz, Kvistad and DeWitt) were 5-for-11 with a home run, three runs scored and four RBIs against the Huskies.
  • In her first career start at the WCWS, Florida pitcher Delaine Gourley (22-4) threw a two-hitter to earn the win. The senior struck out 10 in the complete-game performance, allowing two unearned runs by surrendering a home run to Washington’s Julia DePonte with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. The complete game was Gourley’s 17th of the season.
  • Gourley has not allowed an earned run in 60.1 innings pitched dating back to April 15 at Kentucky.
  • Florida’s pitching staff has yet to allow an earned run in 19 innings at the 2017 WCWS.
  • Washington pitcher Taran Alvelo (35-9) lasted 1.1 innings, surrendering four runs on five hits in the loss. The sophomore finishes the year tied for third in Washington single-season history with 35 wins. Madi Schreyer threw 4.2 innings in relief, giving up a run on two hits. Samantha Manti threw the final inning in relief for the Huskies.
  • Washington designated player Julia DePonte picked up her seventh home run season by drilling a two-run blast to left center in the bottom of the seventh. Taylor Van Zee provided the Huskies with their first hit in the game with a second-inning infield single.
  • Florida is 34-1 when hitting at least one home run in a single game.
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LSU Post Game 10 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

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LSU Post Game 10 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

Saturday June 3, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oregon – 4, LSU – 1

LSU interview with Heather Tarr, Morganne Flores, Ali Aguilar, and Taran Alvelo.

BETH TORINA: Well, just a big thank you to Oklahoma City. It's an honor to be here. It's a huge honor to have been here for the past three years in a row, and just everything that this city pours into this event and the NCAA and all the people that make it happen, just a huge honor to be a part of it.

I think the biggest message I have today is just a thank-you to my seniors, three of the four sitting here today. Layna Savoie isn't here but she's a huge part of this, too. But these guys have just raised the bar. They have set the bar. They have made the expectations for this program very difficult for me as a coach moving forward. We have a lot to live up to. The records they've set, the things they've done, and it's more than just about softball, it's about the people that they are. We just have a huge appreciation for these guys and what they've done for LSU softball, and we'll just work hard to live up to these expectations they've set for us and try to keep moving forward and finishing even better next season.

Q. Beth, was it a little bit like last night when you couldn't string anything together early, had chances?

BETH TORINA: Yeah, we did. We had runners on base. We had some at-bats we'd like to have over. We had some moments where we weren't very productive with our at-bats. I think every out needs to be a productive out, and we didn't do a very good job of putting our runners in scoring position, moving them up, and having productive at-bats with runners on base.

Q. Allie, how is your hand?

ALLIE WALLJASPER: It's okay.

Q. And did you have Carley warming up before the game or did she come in cold?

BETH TORINA: Oh, she was warm. If she wasn't, she could have taken as many pitches as she wanted due to injury, so she was warm.

Q. Is there any way to find out about Carley's knee now?

BETH TORINA: I don't know what there is to talk about. You saw her pitch pretty successfully here. I don't know what else there is to talk about with her.

Q. You got the home run from (Shemiah) Sanchez early, big shot, cut the lead in half; what did you think right then that you had a very good chance of getting back in it?

BETH TORINA: Yeah, that was a proud moment. I think that was a huge moment for us, and she's worked so hard for that, and it's so cool to see that kid succeed because she's just an example for all of us about what work and grit and effort is. She's a huge example for all of us, so it was great to see that, and felt like we were within striking distance, just kept letting things slip away, had some sloppy defensive moments, had some pitches we'd like to get back, some at-bats we'd like to get back. You know, just let things slip away from us until we created a gap that was a little bigger than what we'd like it to be there at the end.

Q. Constance and Savannah, if you will talk about what you will take from this season.

CONSTANCE QUINN: I mean, I'm proud of this team. I'm proud to be an LSU Tiger. I don't care that we came up short. We did something that hasn't been done here before in LSU history, and that's to make it back here three times in a row. We didn't get the gold, but in my heart I felt like we did what we needed to do to prove that LSU is a name that will be remembered forever and will gain the respect that it deserves.

SAHVANNA JAQUISH: I don't know how to follow up with that. That was pretty good. I feel like even if I won or we won the national championship, I'd still be up here crying because I can't wear this jersey anymore, and I think that means a lot to me. These colors mean a lot to me, the city of Baton Rouge, and my teammates, and that's it.

Q. Bailey, talk about the single-season hits record, what that means.

BAILEY LANDRY: I mean, setting the record didn't really cross my mind. I was just worried about being out there with an LSU jersey on. It's just fun. Every day is fun, and it's going to be the biggest thing that I miss is just being able to represent LSU every day. But it's been a heck of a ride, and I got to do it with some pretty tremendous people. There's a lot to be said about there's so much more to be proud of, to be happy with. You know, it's a part of life. But it's one that I'll never forget. It's one that shaped me to adulthood, I guess, now. I guess I'll find out what that's like. But yeah, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Q. This week we've seen a lot of plays at home, and I know you guys were involved in some early on, but what are your thoughts going forward if maybe replay should be involved on plays at the plate at this stage?

BETH TORINA: I mean, I think that's definitely something we need to investigate. I know they're using it in baseball and I think having some success. I worry a little bit about what it does with the length of the game when we've made all these new rules, sacrifices and things to try to keep our game at the right length. That would be my only concern. But I don't see the harm in it.

Q. Coach, if you could just put into perspective what this team has done. I know this is three teams in a row that's been to the World Series, but do you pick up something with each trip, do you learn, and what will you remember this specific LSU team for?

BETH TORINA: Yeah, I think I'm growing as a coach all the time. I think I still have some years left and I'm growing as a coach and learning all the time, and I think every time we come here we try to get a little better. It's a tough tournament, it really is a tough tournament. We try to get a little better. I don't know if we're close or if we're far to winning a national championship because I've never won one, but hopefully we're chipping away at it, and I think these guys will tell you we talk all the time that it's not necessarily — we want to win the national championship, don't get me wrong. That's the program's goal. That's something that I will die trying to accomplish, but our main focus is the journey and who these young women become. You know, and living every day at the end of it, they're not going to remember who got hit or what the score was or any of that stuff. They're going to remember how they felt about each other and how they acted as a team. I think that's what these guys did such a great job of is reminding us that every day we're growing as people, we're growing as teammates and friends, and I think it's really about what we learned on the journey and not just about this one moment.

POSTGAME NOTES
Game 10: Oregon 4, LSU 1

  • No. 3 seed Oregon won its second consecutive elimination game by knocking off No. 13 seed LSU 4-1 on Saturday. The Ducks improved to 54-7, while the Tigers finish their season with a 48-22 overall record.
  • Oregon will play Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday in the WCWS semifinals. The Ducks and Sooners last met in the 2014 WCWS, with Oregon winning 4-2.
  • Oregon is now 6-9 in its five appearances and will playing in the WCWS semifinals for the second time in program history. LSU, in its third straight appearance in Oklahoma City, fell to 11-12 all-time at the WCWS.
  • Oregon grabbed the lead in the bottom of the first as Gwen Svekis belted a two-run blast to put the Ducks up 2-0. The home run was the first for Oregon during the NCAA Tournament (eight games). The Ducks had scored 47 runs in the postseason without hitting a home run before Svekis’ two-run shot.
  • LSU answered in the top of the second with a leadoff home run from Shemiah Sanchez, her second home run of the season. The home run was the first for Sanchez since Feb. 23 against Bethune-Cookman (50 games).
  • Shannon Rhodes extended Oregon’s lead to 3-1 in the third with a RBI single to right field, scoring Alexis Mack.
  • Mia Camuso drove in her fifth run of the WCWS with a single to left field, scoring Nikki Udria to push Oregon’s advantage to 4-1 in the sixth. Camuso ranks second on the team with 47 RBIs this season for the Ducks.
  • Alexis Mack led the Ducks with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. The sophomore is 6-for-11 (.545) in three games at the WCWS with five runs scored.
  • Oregon’s Megan Kleist (21-4) recorded nine strikeouts in the complete-game performance. Kleist’s nine strikeouts were the most by the sophomore in a postseason game during her career and just two shy of tying her career high. Kleist allowed one run on five hits in her 20th complete game of the year.
  • LSU’s Allie Walljasper (18-6) got the start for the Tigers and allowed three runs on six hits in 2.2 innings pitched. Carly Hoover surrendered one run in 3.1 innings of relief work.
  • Bailey Landry set the LSU single-season record for hits with a leadoff infield single to start the top of the fourth inning, passing former Tiger Ashlee Ducote (1999).
  • Sanchez was 2-for-3 to lead the Tigers at the plate, while Sahvanna Jaquish and Amber Serrett also provided LSU hits in the loss. 
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Oregon Post Game 10 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

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Oregon Post Game 10 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

Saturday June 3, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oregon – 4, LSU – 1

Oregon interview with Mike White, Megan Kleist, Jenna Lilley, and Gwen Svekis.

MIKE WHITE: Yeah, well, it's great to be back up here tonight, another win under our belt. Congratulations to LSU on a fine season. I mean, we followed them throughout the season, and it's remarkable what they've done the last several years fighting off adversity and from the brink of elimination in a number of tournaments, it's just an incredible feat for them to do that. It inspires all of us, and it's kind of what motivates us, as well. We fight when our backs are against the wall, and that's what they did.

It just tells you how good a job Megan Kleist did tonight for us, pitched extremely well, good defense by Jenna Lilley and several others out there. You know, with Gwen (Svekis) getting that big-time hit in the first inning, I think that helps for sure, then they bounced back, got a big home run, and Megan shook that off and was able to carry us through the rest of the game and just did a fantastic job, probably one of the best games she's thrown this year. It's great to see her getting stronger. We're going to need her to be strong tomorrow against a very good Oklahoma team.

Q. Megan, talk about your mindset coming into this game after picking up the save earlier in the day; just what were you trying to do against this LSU offense?

MEGAN KLEIST: I was just really trying to vibe off of how we ended the last game, just kind of carrying that energy. I don't really show a lot of emotion out there, but with Jenna (Lilley) to my right, it's hard not to. Really just kind of attacking and just doing what I did the first game coming in, and that's what I did, and it worked out nice.

Q. Coach, could you just put into perspective the challenge that's before you, facing the defending national champions, you're in Oklahoma and you've got to win twice?

MIKE WHITE: Yeah, well, I think we've just got to take it one game at a time. Obviously I'm not sure who we're going to pitch tomorrow, but I do have three good pitchers to choose from. And we'll use all three in the first game. It's about winning that next game. We can't look forward and say we need to save someone for this or if this happens. We can't do that. We've just got to go out and try to play the ball we're capable of.

Right now I think we're playing pretty well, and hitting is contagious, and I feel that's what's happening right now. Everyone's picking each other up. I think we got a number of two-out hits today in big situations when some other players didn't produce, and I think that's the mark of a good team, a team that's got each other's backs, and that was the same with the pitching staff today. All three pitchers in their first game had a challenge against Baylor, and Megan (Kleist) came in and picked up her teammates, and then did a great job tonight.

Q. Megan, all three of you have had the opportunity to pitch here, but going into tomorrow, you guys haven't been in this situation before in Oklahoma. Just talk about how you are going to prepare for tomorrow.

MEGAN KLEIST: I mean, I don't really think I'm going to do much different than I've done for the previous games. The crowd is going to be bigger. It's going to be louder. You can vibe off their energy. Just kind of take it to them and attack each batter and we have in the past.

Q. Gwen, can you talk about the home run and how big of a momentum shift was that for the entire team?

GWEN SVEKIS: It was really exciting, first of all, because on this stage, it's just 10,000 people watching. It's what you dream of from the time you're a little girl. But I thought it was very exciting for us because we've been playing very well in the seventh inning, so in the past couple games, we're trying to simulate the energy of being in the seventh inning. You know, we went into that inning thinking, okay, our backs are up against the wall, what are we going to do, we need to get a run in this situation, so the home run definitely got us the energy to keep us rolling with that momentum.

Q. Jenna, can you talk about just the emotions that the team goes through in a day like this where you're going through Baylor and have to go through a long game, then come back and this nightcap? What are the emotions of the team right now?

JENNA LILLEY: Definitely high. We've been playing every inning today like it's the seventh inning, and like our season is on the line, we all know that, so we play like it, and we play to the best of that. But playing every single pitch with everything you've got and not letting down, not giving in to anything, any pitch, and I'm talking to the girls in the dugout every single pitch, I'm talking to Megan (Kleist) every single pitch, do not give in.

Q. Gwen, people here talk about the three-headed monster that's known as Florida, but I think you guys also have a three-headed monster, and you have that perspective almost every game, so can you talk about how special your pitchers are?

GWEN SVEKIS: I'm first of all, very fortunate to get to catch these three, and they're very young and I get to watch them grow and work on what they need to work on, and they've gotten so good at knowing what they need to get better at and attacking those problems and really going forward in their games, and I'm so proud of Megan (Kleist). I thought this was one of her best games I've ever caught, and I'm very fortunate to catch all three of them. I have full confidence that if any one of them is in the circle, we're going to be fine, we're going to get outs, we're going to do what we need to do, and if they make a mistake, they know that our offense will have their back; we'll find a way to get it done. Florida has got three great pitchers, but I'd like to see ours match up against theirs.

POSTGAME NOTES
Game 10: Oregon 4, LSU 1

  • No. 3 seed Oregon won its second consecutive elimination game by knocking off No. 13 seed LSU 4-1 on Saturday. The Ducks improved to 54-7, while the Tigers finish their season with a 48-22 overall record.
  • Oregon will play Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday in the WCWS semifinals. The Ducks and Sooners last met in the 2014 WCWS, with Oregon winning 4-2.
  • Oregon is now 6-9 in its five appearances and will playing in the WCWS semifinals for the second time in program history. LSU, in its third straight appearance in Oklahoma City, fell to 11-12 all-time at the WCWS.
  • Oregon grabbed the lead in the bottom of the first as Gwen Svekis belted a two-run blast to put the Ducks up 2-0. The home run was the first for Oregon during the NCAA Tournament (eight games). The Ducks had scored 47 runs in the postseason without hitting a home run before Svekis’ two-run shot.
  • LSU answered in the top of the second with a leadoff home run from Shemiah Sanchez, her second home run of the season. The home run was the first for Sanchez since Feb. 23 against Bethune-Cookman (50 games).
  • Shannon Rhodes extended Oregon’s lead to 3-1 in the third with a RBI single to right field, scoring Alexis Mack.
  • Mia Camuso drove in her fifth run of the WCWS with a single to left field, scoring Nikki Udria to push Oregon’s advantage to 4-1 in the sixth. Camuso ranks second on the team with 47 RBIs this season for the Ducks.
  • Alexis Mack led the Ducks with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. The sophomore is 6-for-11 (.545) in three games at the WCWS with five runs scored.
  • Oregon’s Megan Kleist (21-4) recorded nine strikeouts in the complete-game performance. Kleist’s nine strikeouts were the most by the sophomore in a postseason game during her career and just two shy of tying her career high. Kleist allowed one run on five hits in her 20th complete game of the year.
  • LSU’s Allie Walljasper (18-6) got the start for the Tigers and allowed three runs on six hits in 2.2 innings pitched. Carly Hoover surrendered one run in 3.1 innings of relief work.
  • Bailey Landry set the LSU single-season record for hits with a leadoff infield single to start the top of the fourth inning, passing former Tiger Ashlee Ducote (1999).
  • Sanchez was 2-for-3 to lead the Tigers at the plate, while Sahvanna Jaquish and Amber Serrett also provided LSU hits in the loss. 
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How Do You Define Success?

Written By Jen Croneberger

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How do You Define Success

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According to Webster.com success is a favorable or desired outcome. It is something that is measurable and usually an end result. But what if the outcome really wasn’t what it was all about? OR, maybe the outcome is the most important thing. Sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes we put too much emphasis on something that may not really be all that important. But there are those sometimes, when we get it right. Even when we guessed. It’s about how we got there. And why.

A good coach sets goals. A great coach understands why every failure is critical to achieving them. What if there were a roadmap to get to the pinnacle, a laid out path to follow that would ensure success? What if that road came with failure along the way? Would you still go down it, even if you had to fail to get there? Some say yes, of course. Knowing what’s at the end is a no brainer. But what if you could never be certain, you just had to believe that it could happen, and you may hit some pretty big obstacles on the way? Would you still walk down that path?

We want so badly to say yes, but so often we stop JUST short of the finish line, and we don’t even know it. As coaches we change courses, we get a bigger ship, we throw away the map when we need it most. It’s like a player in a slump who most often tries to change things at the plate their very next at bat, when the most critical thing to do in that case is to keep things consistent.

If this is your off season, what are you looking to change or make better next year? Maybe this is the height of your season and you need to remind yourself and your team what path you are walking down. Sometimes, taking out the map is a good way to do that. Unfold it and look at the big picture. Yes, goals are good… but what good are they if you don’t check in to see if you ever meet them? The most successful people in life don’t just set goals, they recognize when they are not on the path anymore, and they reassess when necessary. Can goals change? Of course. What served you last season may not serve you this year. The players may have changed, your team is different in talent, chemistry and makeup and you have to understand all over again what you are capable of.

It starts by asking yourself what you want. What are you capable of? Not every team can win a championship. And success isn’t always about the trophy. We had the privilege of watching a lot of great softball teams compete for a national title this season at every level. Every year every team will fall short except one. Is the only successful team the one who wins? I would say no. Emphatically, no.

Find what serves you. Find what makes the most of your team. Maybe it’s playing as one, finding true chemistry, getting over the mental errors that will satisfy your checklist this year. Maybe it’s watching your pitcher master a new pitch. Maybe it’s watching that one kid who you knew could, actually have a breakout year. Maybe it’s changing a life. And maybe, it has nothing to do with outcome or the game of softball at all. I have the privilege of working with a lot of softball players in a lot of softball programs. I am amazed at some of the talent I see, but more importantly amazed at the desire to excel, a desire to improve and a desire to find their best in every situation. Helping them do so makes them feel successful beyond measure.

The last few weeks I have talked a client through a boyfriend issue, helped calm the nerves of one preparing to give a high school graduation speech and asked an 11 year old what their favorite ice cream is. This thing we call the mental game is so much bigger than the sport we coach. When we can define what we want to accomplish in these young athlete’s lives, we define success. And most often, it’s the only goal that really matters in the end.

So carry on in teaching the peel drop, helping your slapper keep her shoulder in a little longer, and making sure your slowest kid gets good arm pump when she runs. Don’t lose sight of what we are here to do. Just remember the rest of who she is. And celebrate all the victories. In helping them define success, we inevitably define it for ourselves.

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Washington Post Game 9 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

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Washington Post Game 9 Press Conference

2017 Women's College World Series

Saturday June 3, 2017
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Washington – 1, UCLA – 0

Washington interview with Heather Tarr, Morganne Flores, Ali Aguilar, and Taran Alvelo.

HEATHER TARR: Kind of a surreal game for us in terms of our pitching and our defense. I'm just really proud of how we were able to stick together from last night. Tough loss, not the way we wanted to play last night, and to give — kind of how we did in front of a tough environment and a tough crowd, it kind of left a bad taste in our mouth. But to wake up today, new day, wait all day to play, Taran (Alvelo) brought her A game today. It was big time. She was probably at her best, just in terms of mentality, execution of her pitches, getting back to where she needed to be when she needed to be there, and Ali (Aguilar) knew her team needed her to hit that home run, she absolutely knew and she knew she needed to make a clear plan when she went up to the plate to be able to execute when it mattered. That was huge, too.

Morganne (Flores) is kind of a little unsung hero. She was big for us in regionals, super regionals. Offensively you guys saw the news and all that stuff, but her being able to catch all those games and stay in it and do what we need her to do in terms of the battery with Taran is huge, and what a great opportunity for this group to be able to get to tomorrow.

Q. You still have softball to play, obviously, but what do you take away from your time with Ali (Aguilar) as the only four-year senior that you have?

HEATHER TARR: She's one of the best players that we've ever had and we've had a lot of good ones, and I think what sets her apart is who he is and the person she is, her family, the values that she has and the influence that she has had on our program in terms of character and values. Academically, just an off-the-charts student. But just in terms of like a softball player, she really understands the game of softball, and there's some kids that maybe think like a coach or maybe want to coach, but they can't necessarily play and execute it on the field. That was me. But just kind of in awe of her ability to really execute a game plan and seek information out, and this year I think was big for her to be able to bring others along, and she's taking advantage of that opportunity for her team, and she's found a way to lead her team in just way more ways than just offensive execution or defensive influence.

Q. Taran, you've been really good in this tournament. Tonight you were on another level. Did something change or what was your mindset going into tonight?

TARAN ALVELO: Like Coach Tarr said, last night kind of left a bad taste in our mouth, and I wasn't happy with my performance. I felt like I let my team down last night, so I did everything in my power to make sure that that didn't happen and I had their backs just like they had mine the whole time.

Q. Coach, when you played UCLA in the regular season, a lot of scoring was happening. What was the biggest difference? Do you think it was Taran (Alvelo) and her pitches?

HEATHER TARR: Yes. We go back and review the film. Of course once we knew who we were going to play today, you almost can't even look at the film because you have to see with the discount — sorry, T, but like she knows this, she was all over the place, mechanically, mentally. We ended up coming close and losing 9-8 in Game 2 and then we ended up winning Game 3 12-7. That's not us, that's not our game, and if we were going to be able to get to this point, that's not how we were going to be able to play the game. A lot of the growth that's happened within our team, specifically with Taran just understanding that she is the rock on the team. The team has really made that clear, and she's embraced that opportunity and that pressure, and it's been really cool to see that growth.

Q. Heather, yesterday you said you guys needed to be tougher. Do you feel like you accomplished that today?

HEATHER TARR: Yeah, I think just in terms of just the mentality of being here and owning it and taking possession of the opportunity, we didn't do that yesterday, and a tough team takes possession of every single opportunity, every single pitch and doesn't take a pitch off, and they did that today for the most part. I think offensively the game — we had a lot of opportunities. We had six lead-offs offensively that we didn't execute for — I mean, it took a solo home run to get the one run. We didn't execute like we could have offensively, but keep it in perspective, tip our cap to Rachel Garcia. What a great season UCLA had, a lot of growth for them, too, and just really proud of our team for being able to come back from last night and win a tough one today 1-0.

Q. Morganne, you kind of have a different perspective than all of us when you actually catch Taran (Alvelo); what were you seeing tonight, and maybe this whole tournament?

MORGANNE FLORES: Yeah, I just think that Taran is just 100 percent tough, and she has grit and 100 percent confidence, and that carries on to every single one of us. She leads the team very well, and yeah, like just 100 percent confidence every single game, I think, in this tournament.

Q. Taran, in that fourth inning you started with five balls and walked the lead-off and then Coach Roberts came out and talked to you. What did you guys talk to?

TARAN ALVELO: Basically he just said we need this one, kind of — like we say, one pitch at a time, but really I have to emphasize that a little bit more because if I focus on the fact that I just threw five pitches, the next one is going to be a ball, as well. So he just kind of came out here, he let me take a deep breath, and he's like, we need this, bear down and do it. So that's what I had to do.

Q. Ali, what was your plan for that last at-bat? Were you processing the information from what you had seen?

ALI AGUILAR: Yeah, I think every at-bat you kind of gain more information, and obviously I've faced her a lot of times, but I was just trying to stick to a plan, stick to an approach. I knew Taran (Alvelo) had been throwing lights out and she'd been going all game, and so I went up to her, and I was like, I got your back, and I was really just trying to get a base hit and get on base for her, and ended up going out, so it worked well.

Q. Taran, you guys face Florida tomorrow. I know it's one game at a time, but if called upon, can you throw two?

TARAN ALVELO: I mean, take one pitch at a time. We're going to have to do at this point what we have to do. Everybody has to be all in. I believe in every single person on this team to make tomorrow happen. I think, yeah, I could, but I also know that the other pitchers on our pitching staff are just as capable to really take care of business tomorrow.

POSTGAME NOTES
Game 8: Oregon 7, Baylor 4

  • No. 3 seed Oregon held off No. 15 seed Baylor as the Ducks topped the Lady Bears 7-4 on Saturday in an elimination game. The Ducks jumped out to a 5-0 lead before holding off a late charge by Baylor.
  • Oregon advances to play in an elimination game on Saturday night in Session 5. First pitch will be 30 minutes after the conclusion of the UCLA-Washington game. Baylor finishes its season with a 45-16 record.
  • The Ducks improved to 5-9 all-time at the WCWS, while Baylor fell to 5-8. Saturday’s game was the first meeting between Oregon and Baylor at the Women’s College World Series.
  • Oregon struck first as Sammie Puentes scored on a wild pitch from Baylor starter Gia Rodoni to put the Ducks on the board. Jenna Lilley followed with a one-out double to plate Lauren Lindavall and extend Oregon’s lead to 2-0.
  • The Ducks added a pair of runs in the top of the third inning with a Mia Camuso two-out double, pushing Oregon’s lead to 4-0. After a leadoff single from Alexis Mack to begin the fifth, the Ducks added another run as Shannon Rhodes’ two-out single to left put Oregon up 5-0.
  • Baylor rallied four runs to cut Oregon’s lead down to one run. Taylor Ellis scored the Lady Bears’ first run of the game, scoring on an error by Oregon’s Lilley. After a RBI groundout from Lindsey Cargilll made it 5-2, Baylor’s Kyla Walker and Shelby Friudenberg recorded RBI singles to trim the deficit down to one.
  • With the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Ducks added two insurance runs as Camuso recorded her second double of the game to drive in Mack and Nikki Udria.
  • Camuso tied her career high with four RBIs, finishing 2-for-4 with two doubles. Lilley was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and a triple. Udria finished with two hits and two runs scored for the Ducks, while Mack scored three times and added two hits.
  • Miranda Elish (12-0) threw 5.0 innings in her 16th start of the year. The freshman allowed four runs on three hits, while walking two and striking out two. After Maggie Baliant, who worked one inning in relief, left the game with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Ducks turned to Megan Kleist to close the game. Kleist retired three Baylor’s 2-3-4 hitters in order to earn her second save of the season. 
  • Rodoni (18-4) lasted 2.2 innings in the circle for Baylor and gave up four runs on six hits in her shortest outing since March 5 versus UCLA. Kelsee Selman threw 4.1 innings in relief, allowing three runs (two earned) and five hits, while striking out two.
  • Walker led the Lady Bears at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, scoring a run and finishing with one RBI. Walker finishes the season with Baylor’s single-season record for base hits (88).
  • Saturday’s loss marked the first time Baylor finished 0-2 at the WCWS during its four appearances in Oklahoma City.
  • Attendance for Session 4 was 8,696. The Baylor-Oregon game was delayed for one hour and 13 minutes due to heavy rain. The game was stopped at 2:39 p.m. CT and resumed at 3:52 p.m. CT.
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