Tennessee vs. Hawaii: Post Game Notes
Tennessee vs. Hawaii: Post Game NotesÂMay 26, 2007Â
Tennessee Head Coach Ralph Weekly
Overall thoughts on the game: My hearts overfl owing with Aloha. We have a lot of friends on the island and we recruit out there. I think both teams left it all on the fi eld and both had a shot of winning it all this season. With four innings to go and down 1-0, Karen (Weekly) and I told the team that there were four innings left to make it to the Womens College World Series. We couldnt have asked for a better response. This team went out and got it done.
On Erin Webbs performance: I recruited Erin because I saw her hit a walk-off home run in the semifi nals of the gold nationals in high school. She is a great hitter. This is the fi rst one Ive seen her hit off the fence this season, but I think there will be many more to come. The problem with our freshmen is that we have six players competing for three spots. They will each have a good days and bad days. I guess that is a good problem to have.
On the fi rst game today: Our plan was to pitch (Monica) Abbott and if we ran into early problems, put Megan Rhodes in. We had to make that change and I thought Hawaii changed a bit too, they brought in the fi eld and shortened their swings. We had hoped to come back and take the lead and bring Monica back in, but after we tied it we got down again and we just left Megan in, similar to the Michigan game last season.
On Tonya Callahans hitting in the postseason: I have not seen a player hit like this in the postseason. She works so hard every day in practice on her technique. When she keeps her weight back, there is no one in the country that can stop her.
On facing adversity and injuries this season: We have certainly faced adversity this year. I give a lot of credit to this team and especially the three seniors. They had to lead and they did. I told them that I cant be in every huddle so it was up to them to motivate their teammates. They did and I am proud.
On Monica Abbott: The ending of her career at UT is something we will refl ect on for months. I didnt want to think negatively between games today, but the thought did cross my mind, is this going to be the last time I put Monica on the lineup sheet? Karen always says, a pitcher like Monica comes once every 15 years. She covers up a lot of pimples on this team and takes care of a lot of things for us.
Senior Pitcher Monica Abbott
On the pressure of today: I have had a lot of games with similar pressure. That happens at a big school like this. We play in an outstanding conference. Today was similar to last year against Michigan, playing against the defending NCAA champions. I think I am experienced with pressure and in the second game I tried to get rid of any negative thoughts and just go out there and have no regrets and get it done.
On the fi rst game today: I was disappointed in myself. I didnt come out as ready to play as I wanted to. I knew I could do better than that and I knew Id have another opportunity to prove that in game two. I love Tyson Park and these fans and I wanted to make sure I left here on a positive note.
On her relationship with catcher Shannon Doepking: Shannon and I have a special relationship. She has caught for me for three years and she knows how to read me and respond to me. She says the right things when I need her to. She knows me like the back of her hand.
On giving up an early home run in the second game: I was disappointed when they got the home run, but I knew we had to keep fi ghting. I felt weak the fi rst three innings, but I kept battling and I knew my teammates would put runs on the board. We mixed things up in the later innings. I threw a few changeups. I knew it was now or never and to lay it all out there.
On returning to the Womens College World Series for the third consecutive year: I can remember what it felt like freshman year to not go to the WCWS and I didnt want to have that feeling again. Weve been fortunate to go for three years now and I think we are putting the tradition in the program. We had high hopes and goals for this season and we needed to put those in action tonight.
Senior Infi elder Tonya Callahan
On coaches not wanting pitchers to pitch to you: Pitching to batters is part of the game. I can hit the ball like anyone else does.
On sliding face fi rst into fi rst base: I cant remember the last time I did that. I was glad I did because I think the ball would have hit me, as it was going into the dugout if I hadnt slid. It was kind of a desperation play at that point.
On returning to the WCWS: I think we know what it takes to get there and playing with the level of experience that we have and against the level of experience so far this post season has helped us get there again.
Freshman Outfi elder Erin Webb
On her two-RBI double: I was just excited to be in the game. I love pressure situations and when it is my job to get the hit. I worked all week on the possibility of them pitching outside to me and it paid off today.
Hawaii Head Coach Bob Coolen
Thoughts on fi rst game: We came in with a game plan. Made a little adjustment at the plate. Challenged Monica (Abbott) a little bit in the fi rst game by pressing the batters box. We encroached on the plate a little bit and wanted to make her come inside. She hit the fi rst batter and then after that we played a little small ball, and then we just got on a roll. (Lady Vol Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly) had a quick hook with Monica and brought in (Megan) Rhodes. I thought we did a nice job with being aggressive with her as well. Even though she shut us down a little, we still kept the pressure on.
Thoughts on the second game: The second game was a 1-0 ballgame for four innings and then we pitched to (Tonya) Callahan, and she hit the ball, and she hurt us. I dont like to intentionally walk people. It sends the wrong message to our team and gives the other team the advantage. It gives the fans too much of a spark. We were trying to pitch her tight and we made one bad pitch which she hit hard. Courtney (Baughman) was a little rattled after that, so we brought in Kate (Robinson) and she wasnt the same as she was in the fi rst game. Its tough to come in after sitting and playing the designated player role. Its hard to be as effective as she would have been as a starter. They made some adjustments and were aggressive against our pitchers.
On being three innings away from the Womens College World Series: Weve been here before. Three other times weve been in the last game of a Super Regional. In Missouri in 1994, all we had to do was win one game and they beat us twice. Weve been in situations like this before, we just need to be the team thats in control and has the swagger. I thought in the fi rst game we had the swagger. In the second game, they basically came alive after four innings.
On the performance of Julie Franklin: Julie (Frankin) put a ball up over that fence the other day and hit the freeway, so I thought I had someone who was seeing and hitting the ball really well. She came out with a double, home run and a single. Sometimes kids wait for this opportunity and seize the moment. Carpe diem as they say. And she did.
Hawaii Pitcher/Designated Player Kate Robinson
On being on the road for 18 consecutive days: I think we like being on the road. We all get to hang out with each other and have fun.
On being a star pitcher and hitter: Ive always hit and pitched. I dont see why pitchers dont hit. You get a chance to help yourself out. Ive always done that and thats just how I play. Its hard for me to just sit on the side and just pitch without being able to contribute offensively.
On the teams mindset entering the day: We came into the fi rst game today with the mindset that we didnt want to leave here without winning two games. Unfortunately, we were only able to win the fi rst one. Everyone played so hard and its great to play for a team that doesnt give up until the last out. Hawaii Left Fielder Brandi Peiler
On her approach at the plate: I just went to the plate really relaxed. I told myself that there wasnt anything to wait for and to just see it and hit it. I just let my hands go at the ball. It felt good.-Courtesy Tennessee