June 2, 2013
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Washington head coach Heather Tarr and student athletes Kylee Lahners, Kimberlee Souza, Bryana Walker and Shawna Wright. We'll start with an opening comment from Coach and go to the floor with questions.
COACH TARR: First, when we knew that we were going to play Michigan last night at whatever time it was -- 2:34 -- it was either Michigan or ASU, so we knew we were in for a battle. I don't know how long our team stayed up to watch the game; hopefully not too long. They knew we were in for it.
Michigan played us tough last time we played them in March, and we lost pretty handily. I just want to give credit to our team for staying strong, especially going down 1 0 late in the game. And Bryana Walker threw an awesome game, and I'm just really proud of our team right now.
Q. Bryana, can you talk about your game coming out tonight? You haven't pitched since Thursday. What was your mindset coming into this afternoon?
Bryana Walker: When I found out I was starting, I was excited. I knew we played them in March and the game didn't go how we wanted it to. Thursday's game I was definitely nervous; first game of the World Series and my first time here. So I felt a lot more confident being on the field, being in the pitching circle. I just knew that my team needed me to step up and be better than I was on Thursday, just working with Shawna and staying strong the whole game.
Q. Coach, you said you stayed up last night. So there was no team rule? Go to bed, let us worry about who we're playing tomorrow?
COACH TARR: We didn't really say that, but we try to get them in bed at a decent hour because we were done pretty early compared to the rest of the teams. So we definitely had the advantage of trying to get some rest. But I know how they are. They're probably watching some of their friends play and watch the game. They can speak to that. But at this time of year you can sleep when you're done.
Q. Kimberlee, I wanted to ask about the go ahead play and the hit up the middle. Just describe it to us?
Kimberlee Souza: Well, they walked Kaitlin (Inglesby), and I knew they were getting me and I was going to get a good pitch and hit it.
There is nothing really more to it. If you overthink it, that's when things start going crazy in your head.
Q. Coach, talk about what happened after that. There was an obstruction, there was an error?
COACH TARR: Yeah, it was hard for me to see. I was wheeling the runners around, and I saw it go off the pitcher's leg, and it looked like it was going into no man's land. And I was hoping that Romero couldn't get it because she is such a good athlete. So I was hoping she couldn't get it to throw us out. And all of a sudden, I guess Kimberlee ran into somebody, and she had a head's up base running move by going to third, because apparently she was stuck down by the second baseman or whoever that was that maybe she was trapped under. Of course, because she got thrown out at third and she was obstructed, she had the base. So she did a great job getting to third base.
Q. Coach, and Shawna, really all of you, can you just talk about how you pretty much shut down those first few innings and being able to actually go back to the last game, the offense hasn't really showed up. Being able to come through in a crucial time like this, what's that say about this team?
COACH TARR: This team, it's kind of like one of those things where you can't keep a good team down very long. For us to be able to find a way to stay in the games that we were staying in to be able to win them, I think that says a lot about our team. It was just only a matter of time for our team to be able to have a big four run inning. We found a way to get the leadoff runner on, and then get her over. Unfortunately, they walked Kaitlin, but fortunately Kimberlee came through and it just kept on going from there. So they worked together.
Shawna Wright: Well, our team's pretty scrappy. We fight. They only got one run in, and we knew we needed at least one run to at least win the game. So we weren't very stressed out about the situation. We stayed calm and did what we can do.
Q. Bryana, you want to talk about what was working well for you today? Obviously, you kind of kept them off their game.
Bryana Walker: I sent a pretty good drop ball out today into the righties, so I would say that was my best pitch going into today, keeping it dropping down.
Q. That's it, the dropoff?
Bryana Walker: Yeah, that was my best pitch today. Q. Kimberlee, you have already faced it, you may face it again tonight. But teams are walking Kaitlin now to get to you. What's going through your mind when you face that situation? .
Kimberlee Souza: Well, nothing really. You get up there and hit the ball.
Q. Kylee, after the crazy play, Kimberlee's hit, when that happens and you guys do finally get those runs across, does that give everyone a sigh of relief for you guys to all come up and to follow with the couple of runs and couple hits coming after that?
Kylee Lahners: Yeah, I would have to say it does feel pretty good once we get a few runs in there. But just keep on scoring and keep putting the ball in play and good things will happen.
Q. Coach, you may face situations tonight where teams are walking Kaitlin. If Victoria's on base and she's got good speed, you have some choices there. Can you go into what you're deciding in that situation?
COACH TARR: Yeah, that's always the case, and that's probably why Victoria Hayward doesn't have more stolen bases, because it puts the situation possibly where you open up the base behind her with Hooch bunting or with Vick stealing, it still gives them an opportunity to do that with Kaitlin.
But I trust the people behind them. Even if they put three people on, we'll take advantage of it, and we did today. Offensively, once you put runners on, we're going to make you pay.
Q. Can you talk about a tournament play where you're pretty high right now, but you've got maybe a couple of hours or six to prepare for what lies ahead?
COACH TARR: Well, our team's pretty free and easy. They know what we have to do, and the best part is we've got to play our game and that's what we get to consume ourselves with. They're excited to keep playing. It beats the alternative, because they'd be having to get to bed tonight to go to school tomorrow morning, and they're hoping to not have to do that.
Q. Kaitlin started against Michigan earlier this year. Was the decision to go with her based on how hot she's been, match ups, what was your determination on that?
COACH TARR: Well, we thought that Kaitlin threw a lot of pitches last night, and we also thought Bry, it was her turn to go, and we trust what she could do to an offense like theirs. She obviously did a great job. It was just Bryana's turn, and Kaitlin threw a lot of pitches last night.
MICHIGAN COACH CAROL HUTCHINS
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins and student athletes Sara Driesenga, Ashley Lane, and Sierra Romero. We'll start with Coach and go to the floor with questions.
COACH HUTCHINS: Well, congratulations to the University of Washington. They got it done. We certainly wish them the best in the rest of the tournament. For my kids, we just had a great run. It's been a great season. I told them I love them. I've really enjoyed Team 36. We had a lot of fun together, and their commitment to Michigan has been outstanding.
Although the loss always hurts, I've got to tell you what -- I'm proud of this group because they're great Michigan women and they represent this University with class. They play hard. They play hard for Michigan and they play hard for each other. They've been a great team, and I'm very proud of them.
Q. Ashley and Sierra, can you talk about the emotions of having gone from taking a 1 0 lead and watching it slip away just less than 30 minutes later?
ASHLEY LANE: I mean, always when a team kind of gains the lead back on you, obviously it's not a great emotion, but you just come back with fight. We didn't give up. We kept coming at them, and it just didn't happen in our favor. SIERRA ROMERO: Yeah, it's not the best feeling, but our team knows how to fight and we're known to come back. We just didn't get the job done.
Q. Bryana seemed to be working her drop ball very well, and got you guys to strike out seven times. Can you tell me, was it the drop ball that was working for her or what was working for her? What kind of stymied you guys?
ASHLEY LANE: I mean, yeah. She's a great pitcher. We definitely were chasing her pitches. Credit goes out to her. Yeah, I mean, I guess that's what was working for her. But we did get some great cuts on her, I'll definitely say, just missing balls. We were on her, but obviously we didn't catch any breaks.
SIERRA ROMERO: She did a great job pitching. It didn't fall in our favor. She did a good job mixing up speeds. She's one of the slowest pitchers we saw, so we just had to adjust.
Q. Coach, you want to talk about Sara's performance not only today but in the tournament and recently. She seemed like she did a really good job of getting at people and being efficient. She just ran into a little trouble there in the sixth?
COACH HUTCHINS: I think Sara's been outstanding for us all year. She's put this team on her shoulders so many times, throughout the pre season, the early season, and in the big games. When she didn't have her best moments, she always came back really tough. She's a tough kid, a tough pitcher, and she's only going to get better and better. But she's a large reason why we're here.
Our offense, which carried us so often throughout our whole season, it's interesting because we really get here and we compete here with our pitching and our defense.
Q. Sierra, the first two runs, kind of a lot of crazy stuff happened and you were involved in a couple aspects of that play. What did you see during that sequence of events that allowed them to score those two runs?
SIERRA ROMERO: The ball was hit off Sara, and where the ball landed, it was just a good landing spot. There was nobody playing there, and I got to the ball as fast as I could. We just had to try to get outs.
Q. Ashley, can you talk about the emotions going through your head right now? Four years and you're finally here. You've made it this far. It's still a big moment, but obviously not the way you want to go out?
ASHLEY LANE: I wouldn't say that's not the way I want to go out. Obviously, we didn't accomplish our full goal, but I mean, I couldn't ask to be with a better group of girls. Yeah, we fought. We fought this entire year in this tournament.
I'm happy. I'm happy with what we did. My emotions? They're all over the place, but just mostly because I just don't want to be done. I just don't want to be done playing this sport with these girls next to me with this coach. It's kind of heartbreaking. But you know what? I will forever stand by this team and cheer them on for the rest of my life.
Q. Sara, Ashley and Sierra, can you talk about going from last night when you're up until 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, I don't know how late you stayed up. 4? Okay. Then to get here to play a game like this, what's that experience been like for you?
SARA DRIESENGA: I think being here is such a great experience in itself. It's such a blessing to be here with all these girls. We just have to remember no matter when we play our motto is always whatever it took and however long it took, we were going to do it. I mean we didn't get it done today, but last night we did and we stayed up until however late.
COACH HUTCHINS: Past curfew.
SARA DRIESENGA: Coach always says nothing good happens after midnight, but last night she took that back.
COACH HUTCHINS: I did.
ASHLEY LANE: Obviously, we stayed up really late. That's not an excuse either. We knew that. We went out there and did our thing. We took it for what it was, and we really embraced the moment.
Honestly, I didn't even realize that we didn't get that many hours of sleep. We all woke up this morning energized as ever, so it was not a problem.
SIERRA ROMERO: When you're in the World Series, I don't think sleep matters. Sleep is overrated. Whatever it takes, you're going to do it. I think we did a great job last night, and I think we fought really hard to today, so I'm happy with it.
Q. Coach, I guess this has been kind of a memorable trip to Oklahoma City considering all that's happened Friday with the storms and last night with the long game. Just kind of explain maybe what you guys will remember out of this?
COACH HUTCHINS: Well, any time you're in Oklahoma City, it's memorable. To get here is a huge achievement. It is really difficult to get here. I don't think anybody realizes how difficult it is. These days there are more than eight teams that are capable every year, and to still be standing after 300 teams are out is an amazing feat.
So they'll remember that they committed to all the values of this program, and they committed to Michigan, and they have sacrificed a lot of their own personal things to be a part of this great team. Those are the lessons that take them to the next level in their life. They're a part of something bigger than themselves, and they just do a fantastic job of it. Our seniors in particular, they really grew up here as young girls to great women. I can tell you, they'll remember their experience at Michigan very well, and that makes me very proud and very happy.
Q. Sara, you seemed to be pitching to a lot of contact today. Was that the game plan going in and just talk about the game plan and what you did well?
SARA DRIESENGA: Yeah, the game plan was the same. Just go right at them and trust the defense, trust myself, and trust the movement on my pitches. I mean, there is a lot. The defense did a great job today too making some big outs and some tough plays.
Q. Sara, so talk about how this will impact next year? I don't want you to look too far ahead, but I want you to talk about how much confidence you gained going from here and being battle tested? I think this could go for Sierra as well, how much confidence you gained just being here alone?
SARA DRIESENGA: We were talking earlier, too, and the only thing that if you don't get what you want, at least you got the experience, and that's what we got here. I think we believed that we could be here and we could compete and we proved that too while we were here. And that's going to be huge for the next few years for this program.
SIERRA ROMERO: I think our team has gained a lot of confidence, and what Hutch will tell you, swag. I think we're going to carry that into next year, and I'm really excited to see what happens next year with the team.
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