May 30, 2013
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Washington's head coach, Heather Tarr, and student athletes Victoria Hayward, Kaitlin Inglesby,
Kimberlee Souza, and
Kelli Suguro. We'll start with an opening comment from Coach and open the floor for questions.
COACH TARR: We didn't quite expect that to be that much of a tough offensive game, but credit to Nebraska's pitching staff. I thought they threw a great game, and we fortunately found a way to come back and win that game. It was great to see both Bryana and Kaitlin work together again today, and I can't say enough about just the clutch performance for Victoria to get on base for us to score that tying run; then Kimberlee to do what she needed to do to end the game.
Q. Kimberlee, can you just talk about what was your mindset going up to the plate on that last at bat? When you're rounding the bases and you saw your team there waiting for you, just what was going through your mind?
Kimberlee Souza: Well, first of all, being at the World Series is a dream I've always had, and before the at-bat I had a little talk; Coach Tarr talked to me and calmed me down, told me get a good pitch and get up there and hit it, and that's what I did.
Q. Kimberlee, were there things you saw in your first at bat against Lockman that you had in mind when you were walking up to the plate that last time?
Kimberlee Souza: Well, I just knew I needed to be aggressive and get a good pitch and hit it.
Q. Kimberlee, a couple at bats earlier in the game you had runners on base and didn't get a hit. You mentioned talking to Coach before the at bat. Was there a frustration level maybe not coming through when you had a couple of opportunities earlier?
Kimberlee Souza: I wouldn't say frustrated. But it's a seven inning game. We went to eight, and we're going to play it until the end.
Q. Coach, you talked about clutch hitting yesterday, and here you are with the biggest clutch hit you could get in the game. Could you just talk about that? With the triple and the bunt in the inning before that, too?
COACH TARR: Well, the game that we're used to playing and the conference that we come from comes from being able to pitch well, play great defense and get that timely hitting. So our team's somewhat used to that. I was a little bit nervous today because we didn't look that great offensively, but like Kim said, if you go to the last out and the teams become really good at going to the last out.
Victoria getting on third base there with that hit to start that inning off was huge, obviously. And then Hooch putting the bunt down and executing for Victoria to score obviously kept us alive. And then Kimberlee making the adjustment to hit that ball like she did was obviously clutch.
Q. Kaitlin, can you talk first of all about getting that early home run to get the team the early lead and then coming in and the pitch that got away that allowed the game to be tied?
KAITLIN INGLESBY: Well, I knew I needed to be aggressive, and they weren't going to give me many strikes, so when I saw that one coming, I knew that was the one I needed to capitalize on. Luckily I connected well.
Coming in, pitching, I was a little hesitant, and that showed when that ball got away and that was completely my fault. I just knew that we were going to come back, and our defense and our hitting was going to carry us back in, so they did a great job.
Q. Coach Tarr, you mentioned you didn't expect this to be as tough an offensive game. Were Nebraska's pitchers more formidable, or was it something on your end that you needed to do well?
COACH TARR: I thought that we offensively would match up well with Tatum, and I thought we took some walks and we got on base. But she really got tough when she needed to be tough, so credit to her. I was hoping that we'd come through in some of those situations. We had enough of them. Of course when they brought Lockman in it was a different look, and she found a way to get a couple of our righties out right away, and they figured that out. I expect more out of our team, but credit to Nebraska for pitching tough.
Q. Victoria, obviously earlier in the game you had some opportunities to put some distance between the teams, but y'all weren't able to take advantage of it. What do you think it says about your squad that you still found a way to be able to come up in the end to be able to win a game like this?
VICTORIA HAYWARD: I think it says a lot about our perseverance. We obviously struggled through those innings having the bases loaded a couple of times, but we were getting those runners on base. And we knew eventually we'd get that clutch hit to score the run.
Q. Coach Tarr, you mentioned your pitchers worked really well together and they've done that a lot this year. When you've been here in the past you've had to rely a lot more on one arm. What's it like having two to count on this year?
COACH TARR: Well, we have more than two. But the two that we're using primarily obviously you have to make decisions, and we try to make the best decisions for the team to put them in the best position to win. I thought Bryana threw decent. She gave them three freebies pretty much in the first inning, and they capitalized on it, which was disappointing.
But it's fun to be able to have two to work because at this point in time in college softball it's tough to just ride one.
Q. Victoria, can you take us through the seventh inning there with what you saw when you hit the ball off the bat, and what your thoughts were when the squeeze was on?
VICTORIA HAYWARD: Well, I hadn't been getting too many good pitches to hit earlier in the game, and so I knew that she didn't want to walk in a run for the potential for our big home run hitters to come up and win the game there. So I knew I had to capitalize on any pitch that I could square up. And when she put on the squeeze, you always get a little giddy and excited knowing that it's coming, but Hooch is a great bunter, and I knew I had 100 percent faith she would get it down.
COACH RHONDA REVELLE
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Nebraska. We have head coach, Rhonda Revelle, and student athletes, Gabby Banda, Tatum Edwards, Emily Lockman, and Brooke Thomason. We'll start with an opening comment from Coach and open the floor with questions.
COACH REVELLE: I have a couple of things to say. You know, today, we didn't have perfect execution, but we had perfect what we've had all year we've had perfect heart for the game, perfect purpose, perfect in the way that we played hard for each other and that we were all in it together, pitch for pitch.
I'm just really proud of these young women sitting next to me that aren't in this room. I think that people got to get a taste of what Nebraska softball is about. We haven't been about the scoreboard all year. We're not going to start being about the scoreboard now.
But I'll tell you, we are resilient; we're pesky. We have gigantic hearts, and we love the game and really love one another. I said it last week that I'm a blessed coach to be able to spend my days with this group.
Q. Rhonda, in the seventh, Armstrong beats out a grounder to short and is safe, then she tries to steal to second when you have Mattie on deck. Did somebody miss a call for a hit and run, or did Armstrong just take off? Explain that play to me?
COACH REVELLE: You know, I understand the question and I know it's going to happen, and out of respect for our athletes and our coaches, I just don't I would rather not there was miscommunication, but it was miscommunication in about seven different directions.
Seriously, sometimes things like that happen, and our kids are playing hard and coaches are coaching hard. It just happened.
Q. Brooke, going back to the fly ball in the seventh inning, the line drive, would you play differently if you could?
BROOKE THOMASON: Yeah, I would have caught it.
Q. Did you think you could when you went up there, or did you think about letting it drop and play it safe for a single instead of a triple? How did you think about approaching it when you went to it?
BROOKE THOMASON: Well, I wanted to catch it. That's all.
Q. Emily, you struck out Souza the first time up, the second time she hit the home run. What was different or what happened?
EMILY LOCKMAN: She just adjusted and she won that at bat. I mean, I went all out and she went all out, and she just happened to win.
Q. Coach, can you just talk about Emily? She came in such a difficult situation there, two on, one out. For a freshman, I mean, she handled the situation awesome.
COACH REVELLE: She's actually a sophomore now.
Q. Either way, she still handled it pretty well.
COACH REVELLE: She was Emily, and Emily that's her goal is to go out and be who she is, and she did that. On this stage sometimes that's a challenge, but she did it, and she did it masterfully. Yeah, she came in and got us out of a huge inning right there.
Q. Emily, can you just talk about your mindset coming into that situation?
EMILY LOCKMAN: Really, I was just trying to hold it down. I knew that Tatum had been doing a good job and I was coming in, so I knew I had to get outs and feed the D, and that's really all I was trying to do.
Q. Rhonda, couple of times you walked (Kaitlin) Inglesby intentionally and got the four or five hitters out. Did you want to avoid her and I guess eventually Souza got it.
COACH REVELLE: Yeah, she's a great hitter anyway and she's been hitting well. Not that she's ever not hit well. I just felt like we were going to make somebody else have to do it, because she's kind of that kid on their team.
Q. Tatum, you had some early walks and then you got back on track and had the 1-2-3 inning and then things were looking good for you then the walks came back. What happened meantime there?
TATUM EDWARDS: I found a groove there, and it was just things that happened and things started not really going my way. There wasn't anything that really happened differently. I think it was just they were watching balls go by and they did a good job of adjusting on me. I think I pretty much had no mindset change. Nothing had changed on my part. They just did a better job of watching balls go by.
Q. Coach, do you worry about the way you lost? Do you worry about the resolve of this team at all moving forward to Saturday?
COACH REVELLE: Absolutely not, no. That's never been a question all year. What I said to them in the locker room is we're a team that's still learning every day. I've said that every day. Didn't matter if it was January, February, March or May. And we've used every one of our losses and moved forward and gotten better from it.
For this group to be on this stage, all of them for the first time, I thought they handled it well, and I thought they had a good approach going in. I thought they appeared the same in the dugout. Their pre game was the same. But now we've got one game under our belt, so it's just time to keep playing ball and do what we do and stay together. Not really changing how we've approached this whole year.
Q. Gabby, kind of in the middle innings there, you had a no-out, bases-loaded jam, and came back with the double play. How much was kind of turning the momentum around for you guys a little bit? Was there a lull there prior to that?
GABBY BANDA: Yeah, our double plays are always momentum changers because that's exciting for us to do on the defense and help our pitchers out that way. But I think throughout the game, I don't think we ever obviously, momentum shifts during the game, but I feel like our team stays together and we try to keep momentum within ourselves. So I think any out that we get I feel like is momentum for our defense, so it's good.
Q. Gabby, just your thoughts on bouncing back after a frustrating loss?
GABBY BANDA: It's always a heartbreaker, but we're not going to be fazed by it. We're going to accept what happened and get past it and our thoughts are on the next game. We're going to not dwell on this. We're not going to forget about it, but we're just going to keep moving forward.
Q. Brooke, today you guys kind of had to rely on an error, a passed ball, different things. How do you string together hits and execute like Coach said?
BROOKE THOMASON: I think we're really good (at capitalizing) on other team's mistakes, and we like to take advantage of that as much as we can. So we were able to do that today at the plate. But also with the hitting, our hitting coach has us work on different things throughout the game with different pitchers. So I think collectively we were able to adjust when we had the new pitcher come in, and we just weren't able to get the last couple runs.
Q. So when you go into Saturday, is it just a deal where you'll put the pressure on whoever you'll play?
BROOKE THOMASON: Yeah, our offense puts a lot of pressure on the other team's defense. So we're a strong hitting team, and we'll be able to bounce back. COACH REVELLE: I think Inglesby is a first-team All American. So it's not like you're facing chump change out here in pitching. This is the time, executing a bunt, moving a runner, taking an extra base, scoring on a passed ball. This is what this part of the season is all about because we're down to the final eight.
So the fact that we're playing an extra-inning game, a one run ballgame in the College World Series and playing and doing some things well, wishing we had some things we could take back, yet we're still playing hard and still invested.
I think (DePaul coach) Eugene Lenti said it a few years ago: there is not a bad day at the College World Series. So we're going to watch this next game and see who we're going to be playing and be ready to go. This team fights. This team fights. My phone has blown up over the last two weeks because this team fights.
Q. How much of that execution was on your side and how much was it just facing the best in the country?
COACH REVELLE: Well, I don't know how to put percentages to that. I mean, yes, I mean, seriously. It's even like on that squeeze bunt it had some air time, but we were back a little bit with that kid, and it just dropped. They had their fastest runner at third, fastest runner in the game on their team at third. So it's just one of those things.
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