May 22, 2002
Oklahoma City, OK –
We had a really tough regional and we had to win three games on the final day. To really characterize our team, taking into account that I can’t remember stats as well as Diane (Cal Head Coach Diane Ninemire) since she is a lot smarter than me, we have a whole group of individuals who work together. They believe in themselves as a unit. Don’t get me wrong, we do have some outstanding individual players and one is sitting right here next to me in Brandi Stuart. She is a team captain and a team leader. You have Leslie Malerich who has won over 100 games for us on the mound. Kimmy Carter will behind the plate for us and there are some other exceptional players on this team.
I think to really sum up our season you’d have to say we played a very tough schedule and beat some very good teams. We lost our conference tournament, which was very disappointing to us but we used that to rebound as we headed into regionals. To be here at the World Series is really an honor and we haven’t been here since 1993. It has been a while for us so it will be a challenge but our kids are excited. There are a lot of great teams here but we are looking forward to it.
Talk a little bit about the importance of pitching at College World Series.
I think it is important for us because the fences are shorter here than what we have at home. We usually play on a field that is 200 down the line and 220 to center with an eight-foot fence. The fences here are shorter than that and with the wind blowing out, pitchers are going to have to do a really good job. You are probably going to see a lot of home runs. They are crucial and they have to keep you in the game or the scores can get pretty lopsided pretty quick.
Coach, how will you pitch UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman tomorrow?
I think I have been asked that question about 900 times since we qualified for the WCWS and I think I finally figured it out. Do you know those golf balls that explode when you hit them? We are going to get those things in a softball size, paint them yellow and when it explodes we’ll let the umpire try to figure out what to do. It is going to depend on the situation every time she comes up to bat. I think we have to keep the people ahead of her off base and we will see how our pitchers are throwing before, what’s working for her, what the situation is before we make that decision.
Is there ever a question about pitching to her? Is there a good reason to ever pitch to her (Nuveman) besides pride?
I learned a long time ago that pride gets you in trouble. You have to play the odds. She is a great athlete and we have a lot of respect for her. Sometimes you have to make the great athletes produce. Stacey is a good player. She’s got a lot of hits, a lot of home runs and big home runs. I just don’t want her to get one versus Florida State. She can get one against the rest of these guys. We don’t want her trotting around the bases. We want her to run hard.