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May 29, 2015

Kelly Christner

Carol Hutchins

Lindsay Montemarano

Kelsey Susalla

Haylie Wagner


Michigan 10 - UCLA 4

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by University of Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, Kelsey Susalla, Kelly Christner, Lindsay Montemarano and Haylie Wagner. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH HUTCHINS: That was a game. What a great game. Exciting. I'm so excited for my kids and I'm so proud of them. And we were down -- we weren't just down, they were going after us. And that is one heck of a hitting lineup. And I think it's the best one we've seen all year. They were just going to threaten the whole game. Haylie Wagner was as great as I've ever seen her. She didn't get to pitch in the World Series two years ago. She was injured when we got here and she didn't see a pitch. All year long, she said I didn't get to pitch in the World Series. It's driven her all year. I couldn't be prouder of her. Because she shut down a really great lineup. But all these kids sitting up here and all the kids in the locker room, we just play one pitch at a time. We didn't get ahead of ourselves. We didn't get down on ourselves. We just fought pitch after pitch. And every pitch of the game I couldn't be more happy for them. And I'm really happy to have a day off.


Q. Haylie and Kelsey, could you explain how that experience in the Super Regional against Georgia helped you guys play from behind today?
HAYLIE WAGNER: I just think going out there when we were at the Georgia Super Regional we played as a team and we did the exact same thing today. We were one heart, one heartbeat, and we played together and we kept chipping away afterwards. We knew they were going to come after us and we just attacked back.

KELSEY SUSALLA: In practice we do a drill too, where we actually come from behind to simulate what happened today. So it's definitely not something new to us and we, I think, executed well.

Q. Haylie, you also, if I'm correct you were losing 3-0 to Michigan State that rainy night and 3-0 here and 3-0 Georgia. That's a wild coincidence to come in three times down 3-0 and win all three?
HAYLIE WAGNER: Each time I knew that Megan (Betsa) knew I had her back and I knew that she had mine every step of the way. And I think that's what's been great for us all year is that we know we have each other's backs so we could come in for each other at any time. I knew that they were attacking and I had to attack right back, and I wasn't going to let them beat me.

Q. Carol, talk about the way that your team played seven innings, that had to make a coach happy. And also the small ball. Doing the little things. Abby was such a big part of the game and talk about those two things.
COACH HUTCHINS: The thing is, I don't think we played seven innings. We just play one pitch at a time. You only have to play one pitch, and the kids really embrace that and they really execute it well. And we weren't worried about seven innings at any point in time. We were just worried about the next pitch.

Q. And the small ball, the little things, the attack.
COACH HUTCHINS: It was just really key for us to get bases -- getting bases, and we don't use the bunt a whole lot. But I think biggest for us was just finding a way to keep attacking and getting on base.

Q. Any of you could answer this. The catch by Sierra Lawrence in center field, what did you see and what did it do for the team?
LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: We really build off each other. We've grown close as a family and we like to focus on each other. When one of us makes a big play, all of us get excited because it wasn't just her play it was our play because we play together. So it really just fired us up and momentum is huge we just kept that momentum going.

HAYLIE WAGNER: I just think that seeing her make that play is that I knew I could trust my defense. And I just knew that no matter where the ball was hit they were going to get it done. If it was catchable, it was going to be caught. And I just had all the trust in her. Like Monte (Lindsay Montemarano) said, we're family. If somebody makes a play, we all make the play.

KELLY CHRISTNER: Right before that inning actually, me and Kelsey (Susalla) and Sierra (Lawrence) were out in the outfield talking and she just didn't have the normal confidence she has in left. I said you're going to get a huge defensive play right now because you haven't gotten a ball yet in the World Series. You're going to make a huge play. And then she made that play and she came in and got a huge hit. I think just the momentum that built off of that was huge.

ABBY RAMIREZ: Off the bat I saw it but then I lost it in the lights, so I just saw Sierra's body slide. It was just definitely a great play on her part and definitely a confidence booster for Haylie (Wagner) knowing we have her back.

Q. Kelly, after two innings where the team wasn't able to score any runs what adjustments were you guys making in the batter's box to get better at-bats against UCLA pitches?
KELLY CHRISTNER: I think honestly we were just trying to go out there and get our cuts. We knew (Ally) Carda was going to give us something early to hit in the count. So we just wanted to attack it from the very beginning and not let any good pitches go by.

Q. Hutch, I have two questions also. The first is (Megan) Betsa, what was going on in that first inning and was she tired from yesterday's game?
COACH HUTCHINS: I don't think she was tired. Tough to come back out the second night. I personally just felt she knew they were a good hitting team. They came out and hit her best pitch, her changeup, to the fence. And that can definitely wear on your confidence. They were swinging. They were aggressive. She got on her heels a little bit. She didn't attack them. She wasn't fading the ball as well. So she'll be better. She'll be back.

Q. Haylie, Hutch (Carol Hutchins) has talked about the motivation not pitching. How has that motivated you this season and what did this game do for you?
HAYLIE WAGNER: Like I said two years ago I didn't get to pitch in the World Series. And just coming out here I knew my chance was going to come. When it was coming I was going to do my best. I'm at the World Series and I'm just going to leave it all out on the field. This entire year and last year I just wanted to come out and get back here and experience this atmosphere and just work my butt off and trust my team no matter what and just coming out here and having the motivation behind me and the trust in my teammates has been great.

Q. Coach, not only was the game close, but so were a lot of the plays. What makes the game of softball close and especially in the World Series, how slim is the margin for error?
COACH HUTCHINS: Pretty slim. I mean, every pitch of the game matters. Every out matters. Every base matters. You never know how important a run is going to be or an out is going to be and why it's so important. You just attack every play and play your heart out and we played our hearts out.

Q. Kelly and Kelsey, you both hit so well and you never want to brag about how you're hitting. I thought it would be interesting: Kelly, could you talk about what Kelsey is doing well, and Kelsey talk about what Kelly is doing well?
KELLY CHRISTNER: She's going out there with the confidence I know she has seeing the ball really well attacking early in the count. Even if she has a bad swing or a bad pitch or bad at-bat she comes back and attacks at the very next one.

KELSEY SUSALLA: I'd have to say the same for Kelly. Definitely just going up there with a swagger on her and knowing that she was going to get the job done, puts good contact on the ball and puts it in play.

Q. More concise question for you tonight. Coach, it's always great to see a team in person because you can see the whole field as it's developing and also for you Kelsey, the way you guys run the bases. Aggressive but economical, not a lot of wasted movement. Kelsey going first to third and then Ramirez motoring in on the slap fly. Is that something that you worked on this year in particular or is it a tribute to the players -- just the role that plays? Everyone knows about your home runs. Kelsey and Coach, if you could talk about that?
KELSEY SUSALLA: Okay. We practiced it a lot in practice, running bases and running them well. So definitely that's part of the game that's really important and can be the difference between your season ending and going on. So, definitely just being aggressive and taking extra bases when we can.

COACH HUTCHINS: Well, we've got some good speed. Throughout our lineup, there's only a couple of kids that really don't run well. And I won't name them here tonight. And I think we're fitter than we've ever been. We've worked hard in the offseason. And we just -- we have a saying, we attack, we attack everything, we attack the bases, and I think we have run the bases well this year. I think it's a credit to our kids. I think we've got good base-running kids.

Q. After the first inning when you were down 3-0, you had all your players in a huddle on the sideline. You talked to them quite a bit. What did you say? You were aggressive in there talking?
COACH HUTCHINS: Just telling them there was a lot of game left. That there was a lot of game and we could get this. That we had to stay together and we had to stay calm and we had to believe. And we just had to make sure we were all together. And they believed it. And I had to definitely let them know that I thought we could still win.

Q. Hutch (Carol Hutchins), does this team ever surprise you?
COACH HUTCHINS: Every day. I never know what's going to come out of Monte's (Lindsay Montemarano) mouth. (Laughter.) This last couple weeks it's been really enjoyable for me because our destiny is in their hands. I trust them completely. And whatever they do out here, they play their hearts out for Michigan all year. There's nothing they could do to disappoint me. This is a great team. That's all I can ask for.

Q. Follow up to last night you talked about vision training. Is that something you've been doing over the years or is that new this year and could you all talk about what that's done for your hitting?
COACH HUTCHINS: We brought it out, we learned about it in '05. We learned about it from the Olympic team. We brought it out, really used it in '05. And over the years we just haven't utilized it as much. I think the kids here have utilized it somewhat and this year we brought it back from day one and said we really need to see the ball better. And there's not a doubt that it has helped us see the ball better.

KELSEY SUSALLA: I think seeing the ball is the first aspect of hitting. If you're not seeing the ball well you're probably not hitting it well. I think adding that into practice as a daily exercise has helped us a lot.

KELLY CHRISTNER: Yeah, we had a machine called the Lobster. We didn't really use it that much last year but this year it's been a big part of our offensive practice. So I think just seeing the ball, and we have like numbers on tennis balls. So I think that really helps us zone in on the pitch.

LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: I think when you're not hitting well, if you're in a so-called slump, first thing a lot of people aren't doing is seeing the ball. So being able to read a tiny number and name the color and point out where it is on the bat knowing we do that in practice every day we have to take deep breaths and say keep your eye on the ball and it could really help you make good contact. You can't control if it drops in, we just try to make good contact and it helps.

HAYLIE WAGNER: Basically said it all, but I think the key thing to seeing the ball is seeing the back of the ball, hitting the back of the ball. As long as you're seeing it and have your eyes on that and the few things I do is the timing swing, see a little bit better. And I'm up there, kind of try to vision like what color and what number am I going to try to see and going after it.

Q. Coach, Sierra Lawrence's first at-bat, she swung at every pitch and then grounded out. And then her next at-bat she didn't swing at all and got walked. Did you tell her to be more patient at the plate?
COACH HUTCHINS: No. I trust she has a good eye. I think she just didn't get any good pitches to swing at. I like that she came out swinging at the first pitch. It was right there. Sometimes she's a little too patient for me. We just need her to have good at-bats.

Q. The benefit of having someone like Haylie being able to come in, not everybody has a second person they can bring in, bring this kind of performance, just your thoughts at having that luxury?
COACH HUTCHINS: I think you saw it tonight. We don't have to live and die with one pitcher. I don't call them names, we have a deuce. We've had that for years. Definitely have to have more than one strong pitcher. Too long of a season and too many games and they've been a fantastic tandem.

Q. Coach, you said you were looking forward to having a day off. How are you guys going to use that tomorrow?
COACH HUTCHINS: Well, I'm going to sleep. I don't know what they're going to do. We're going to just relax. Pretty intense. There's a lot intensity left. There's a lot of tournament left. We haven't won anything yet. We're going to have a day off. We're going to have pizza tonight and let them sleep in and relax.

Q. Haylie, Coach mentioned the deuce, but really you guys had a trio coming in to the season. You could have had one of the best three-pitcher staffs in the country. Sara is obviously injured, may come back for another year. But could you talk about the role she's played for you and Megan and how you guys help each other as the season progresses, kind of a unique situation there?
HAYLIE WAGNER: Sara has been absolutely outstanding. She is a great captain and great leader. Whenever we're both in trouble, we go to her. And she's just there to calm us down and help us through it. And I think I talked to her every single day about my playing and my mindset and making sure I'm right. She's outstanding and she's a great teammate and great player and a great person.

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