May 24, 2004 - by
2004 Division I Softball Championship: Florida State 2, Oregon 0

May 23, 2004



Recap | 
Box Score




TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For two teams that played 12 innings on Saturday, going
to a second game to decide who would earn the trip to the College World
Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., should have come as no surprise. Regional
Most Outstanding Player Jessica van der Linden of Florida State threw her
second shutout of the tournament in giving the Seminoles a 2-0 victory over
Oregon Sunday in the championship of the NCAA Division I Softball Region 4
Tournament at the Seminole Softball Complex.


With the win, fourth-ranked Florida State improved to 61-10 and moves on to
its second WCWS in three years and seventh in school history. Oregon
concluded its season with a 42-21 record.


In 23 innings of work against Oregon over the last two days, van der Linden
only surrendered one run on six hits with 26 strikeouts, including the final
batter. The lone run off the senior came during Sunday’s first contest that
forced the deciding second game. Taking the victory, van der Linden ran her
record to 28-7, while the Ducks’ Ani Nyhus dropped to 25-13 with the loss.
In the regional finale, van der Linden struck out eight batters while
surrendering only two hits and no walks.


Florida State pushed what turned out to be the deciding run across the plate
in the third inning. With one out, LaShaun Davis singled then moved up to
second on a ground out by Veronica Wootson. Left fielder Natasha Jacob
brought home the first run with an RBI double. The sophomore outfielder
knocked in the Seminoles’ second run of the game when she delivered a
two-out single to score Wootson who advanced to third on an Oregon throwing
error on her infield single.


Jacob was the only player on either team to collect more than one hit with
her two base knocks while driving in the only two runs of the game. van der
Linden picked up Florida State’s other hit while the Ducks’ Breanne Sabol
and Jenn Poore were the only two Oregon players to collect a hit as van der
Linden faced only three batters over the minimum.


Joining van der Linden on the All-Region team from Florida State were
Wootson and Jacob. Rounding out the All-Region squad are Ashley Richards
(Oregon), Ani Nyhus (Oregon), Jenn Poore (Oregon), Beth Boskovich (Oregon),
Holly Groves (South Florida), Leigh Ann Ellis (South Florida), Christen
Bedwell (Cal State Northridge), Jamee Juarez (Ohio State) and Mandy
Schuerman (Florida).


POSTGAME QUOTES


Florida State Head Coach Dr. JoAnne Graf


“Well it funs to be on the winning end. A gutsy performance and again, it’s
kind of been our season-long mantra but after losing the first game 1-0 and
we didn’t really hit the ball until the last inning, the kids just rebounded
awesome and they came back. For Jessica (van der Linden) to pitch both games
the whole time, I mean what a performance because it was hot, hot, hot out
there. She had a lot of guts and I think did a great job and we got enough
runs to win the ball game – one more than we need because they didn’t even
score and that’s a credit to our defense and our pitching staff.”


(on excitement of going to CWS)
“There’s no words; it’s something that these guys have been working their
whole career really. You work to get to this point. Everyday you’re lifting
weight and running sprints and somebody’s yelling at them. I wanted it for
the. When they work so hard and do everything you say and they’re such a
great group of kids, you really want that bad. Sometimes I think we want it
too bad for them, but I am so excited that they are going to get to
experience that. For some of them it will be for the first time. It’s quite
a culmination to be one of eight teams competing for a national
championship.”


(on pitching van der Linden)
“Really, they just seemed to be on Casey (Hunter). Sometimes the match just
isn’t there and Jessica really held them down yesterday so we just decided
to go with her for the first game. Obviously we wanted to win the first
game. And then really, the question was if she was okay to go the second
game and she was okay to go the second game so we rode her all the way to
the World Series.”


Florida State Pitcher Jess van der Linden


“It didn’t occur to me that this was going be the last seven innings of my
career. We still planned on going to the World Series, but the thought did
cross my head that it would be my last game on my home field. That was
special, especially to finish it off like that. Oregon is a very good
competitive team and I think we just went out there and we played our game.”


“Throughout the game, I didn’t know what inning it was ’cause in my head I’d
already had it in mind it didn’t matter. I was just going to go until we
were done. I just kind of had that mentality. Every pitch counted. There
wasn’t any batter in their line up that I could ease up on. They’re all
terrific hitters. I had to stay focused and my teammates played excellent
defense behind me and I was so happy with that.”


(on mood of team after first game)
“In our locker room, no one was talking much. We were all feeding our faces
trying to get more energy, but as soon as we walked back out on the field,
it was just like we hadn’t even stopped playing. The intensity level was
still there and it was awesome to be able hear my dugout while I was
pitching.”


Florida State left fielder Natasha Jacob


(on double)
“LaShaun (Davis) came up with a great hit. The whole game I was kind of
topping the ball and I was looking for something to drive in the outfield
and the outfield was playing in, maybe anticipating the slap or something. I
saw a pitch that I liked and I just drove it.”


“I was thinking, ‘Please drop, please drop.’ It was hanging for awhile but
their outfield was playing pretty far in and I was just wanting Shaun
(Davis) to score.”


(on going to CWS)
“It’s just the most amazing feeling. I’ve never felt this excited before in
my life. The intensity in the dugout and on the field, I can’t even express
how amazing it was. I’m so excited. I know it’s going to be great.”


Florida State Rightfielder LaShaun Davis


“After the seventh inning in the first game, I was a little upset that I
didn’t come through but in the next game, I was still just as confident and
I knew we were going to have to get it done a different way. I knew in the
second game, we’d get it done and I had the opportunity to help.”


(on hit)
“It was great. I was so happy because I knew that after I made it to second
base, I knew Tasha could do it or whoever else came behind. I have a lot of
confidence in my team and I knew if I could just get on base and get us
going, we’d score.”


Oregon Head Coach Kathy Arendsen


“Obviously not the outcome we were hoping for. I can’t tell you how proud I
am of our team. I think we left everything we had on the field. We’re
exhausted. We’re hot. Florida State’s an outstanding team and we knew that
coming in. I thought we played well. Our pitchers did a great job. We hit
the ball and we’re very disappointed that we are not headed to Oklahoma
City.”


“Great games. I think these are two incredibly evenly matched teams. In
great games like that, it always one mistake or one base hit that makes a
difference. (Natasha) Jacob was outstanding against us all weekend. She was
one of their key hitters against us and she stepped up huge. I didn’t even
know she had that kind of power but she stepped into one and got it. And
that’s the difference. That’s the way it goes. It could have been one of our
kids making that difference.”


(On van der Linden’s performance)
“It’s not even just the heat, it’s the circumstances certainly. Jess is a
real champion, a real fighter. We saw (USF pitcher) Leigh Ann Ellis throw
two games back-to-back yesterday but not in the same circumstances. She’s
tough. She didn’t make mistakes, has great location and probably some of the
best poise I’ve seen. Obviously, how she goes, is how Florida State goes and
she was very, very good in the second game.”


“That’s what good pitchers do. They adjust. They find ways to get you out.
She used her defense, and I thought their defense was exceptional. They just
made some great plays. Their shortstop made a couple really nice plays. They
played great. They deserved the championship.”


(on FSU home field advantage)
“Obviously, it’s a huge advantage. We’re sitting in the heat in the dugout
trying to find some shade and grab something to eat and changing into a dark
colored uniform in a very hot day in the dugout. And they had some great
fans. There was a huge atmosphere difference between the two but that’s the
way it goes. Our hope that Oregon will be hosting regionals in the future
because it is an advantage and they earned that with the great season they
had.”


Oregon First Baseman Beth Boskovich


“Our team wanted to go to Oklahoma so bad that we were willing to give it
all. I was trying to do my part to charge everybody up.”


Oregon Pitcher Ani Nyhus


“I think I got tired at the beginning of the second game, but I have gotten
through stuff like this where I have pitched back-to-back games so I don’t
think that it was a big factor. The heat is not a huge factor for me either.
They’re just some good hitters and we did our best and our defense played
incredible to keep them off base but when it was time to make the switch and
bring in Amy Harris and she did a great job and stepped up and Anissa
(Meashintubby) came in and stepped up even bigger at the end. I think all of
our pitchers did great and our defense did good. They just hit the ball a
little more.”


(on Jacob’s double)
“She (Jacob) turned on a pitch that I left a little high. It was a good hit
on what could have been a good pitch but I left it a little bit high.”

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