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May 30, 2015

Danae Hays

Haylie McCleney

Patrick Murphy

Marisa Runyon


LSU 5 - Alabama 3

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy, student-athlete Haylie McCleney, student-athlete Marisa Runyon and student-athlete Danae Hays. Coach, general comments about the game.

COACH MURPHY: I thought it was a typical LSU-Alabama game. Just a really good game until the very end. Congrats to them. I know they'll do well tomorrow. It's kind of exciting I think, what, three of the last four and five of the last six are SEC schools, which is awesome for our conference. And I know it's going to be a great ending, I think, for the SEC.

Q. You kind of got, I believe, on the start you wanted but you had a defense miscue that put you behind. How disappointing is that, is that jitters, what do you think happened there?
COACH MURPHY: I don't know, it shouldn't have been because we hadn't done that for a long time. It was a little too much throwing the ball around that we haven't done that since probably February. So I'm not sure what caused it or -- I know they have a lot of team speed. But just unfortunate that it happened at the wrong time.

Q. Similar situation tonight, get some base runners on and couldn't finish it off most of the time?
COACH MURPHY: You're right. I always ask them to at least get the tying run at the plate, at the very end. And we had the winning run. And so they showed a lot of fight, a lot of grit still. But we had a couple of innings where we'd get the lead-off on and then the offense stalled, and it's just like a football team that goes 60 yards and all of a sudden goes 0 for 4 and has to punt. It's unfortunate. It's one of the things we worked on the last two weeks was passing it down. And in the last inning I really thought Jadyn (Spencer) was going to hit a grand slam or (Marisa) Runyon hit a home run to go ahead. But, you know, it didn't happen.

Q. Ladies, after the week that this has been from Super Regionals to now, can you just talk about how tough of an exit it is for you especially I'm sure you expected to go a little bit farther?
HAYLIE MCCLENEY: I mean, it's obviously disappointing anytime you lose the last game. You always want to be the one to win it in the end. I'm just so proud of this team.

MARISA RUNYON: I think the hardest thing is that not only especially the senior class, are they great ball players, they're great people. They're the true definition of an Alabama softball player. That's what we want. It's going to be a hard class to follow up. And not everybody thought we were going to be here, and what it came down to is our one heartbeat as a team and our motto that we've talked about for so long. And we all have each other's back, one through 18, and it was just a fun team to be a part of.

DANAE HAYS: You know, I don't think a lot of people really even expected us to make it past Super Regionals. So for us to have played three games at the World Series, I think it exceeded a lot of people's expectations, and I think this is definitely a season we can be very proud of.

Q. Marisa, when you come up to the plate at the end, did it bring back any kind of thoughts last week to the grand slam? I know it wasn't bases loaded, but did you have any thoughts that you could be a hero again?
MARISA RUNYON: It's a tough situation to be in. You just want to pass the ball down the lineup. You don't necessarily think about being the hero, you just want to pass it down to the next person in the lineup. And unfortunately I didn't do it. But our goal every last inning is to get the tying run at the plate, and we did do that. I'm proud of every single person on the team, because we did do that and we met our goal there. And unfortunately it didn't fall our way.

Q. What do you think happened for the offense? Is it just facing better pitching the last couple of weeks as opposed to the regional and maybe you had some struggles with the SEC tournament, didn't seem like you were putting hits together like you had at earlier points in the season?
MARISA RUNYON: When you come here, it's eight of the best teams. And every single pitcher here is good. And unfortunately I still think we didn't peak at the right time. And we didn't get the clutch hits every single time like we needed to. And good teams we played against, and when you come here it's like you can flip a coin, and whoever is going to win, flip a coin. And whoever shows up that day is going to be the winner at the end of the day. And unfortunately it didn't go our way, but still so proud of the team.

HAYLIE MCCLENEY: Yeah, along with what (Marisa) Runyon said, you're going to play the eight best teams here. And we ran into three really good teams. We ran into the 2 seed, the 5 seed. It's so hard to play the 3 seed in Michigan, to face all those tough pitchers that we faced. But Murph (Patrick Murphy) always said, it's pitching, defense and timely hitting, those are the three keys to winning a championship. And it was unfortunate that we didn't have a lot of timely hits. But you can't say that this team didn't fight. You cannot say that because we left it all out there on the field, you saw that in the last inning. So you can't make adjustments. And we did what we could. We did all we knew how to do. We tried our best. We gave it our all. It just didn't fall our way, and it wasn't meant to be.

DANAE HAYS: Like what both of them said. When you finally get here, you're playing against seven other teams that all have amazing pitchers. And if they don't have amazing pitchers, they have 1 through 9 that are just stacked. So you're playing the best of the best. And there's just, the margin for error is just very small. And if we're not getting the hits done, then we have to play great defense. And tonight that just -- I felt like we had a good defense. We just had that one miscue. And we just weren't hitting the ball that well. But along with what Hailey (McCleney) said, we definitely left everything out there on that field. And I know when we go home tonight we'll lay our head down, we can be proud of that.

Q. Patrick, looking at what you have coming back next year, what you have coming in next year, what holes are you looking to fill, what concerns you the most, what gives you the most comfort, and please also address Peyton's status?
COACH MURPHY: Peyton Grantham tore her ACL in the fall. She'll be ready to go. And (Marisa) Runyon might never have had the year she had if Peyton had been healthy. I mean, it's a weird blessing sort of thing. And I know Peyton wishes that she would have been out there every day. But she'll be ready to go in the fall. We have six young ladies coming in, two from Texas, two from Alabama, our first Arkansas, our first Mississippi young lady. And there's two pitchers in the group, a lefty and righty, both players of the year in their state at one point. The two kids from Texas both throw right and hit left. Both are fast. They're more hitters than slappers. So we're looking forward to having a couple more lefties to join Haylie (McCleney) and (Marisa) Runyon. But the two pitchers are going to help. I know Leslie ended her career on an awesome note tonight. I thought she was terrific. We've got to replace Chaunsey (Bell) obviously. Danae (Hays) is a big spot, the shortstop. We have to have somebody that's very consistent like her. I think she ended her senior year at under 10 errors at shortstop, which is awesome. I know it's been 10 minutes, but it's going to be a fun year next year. I'm looking forward to Haylie being a senior and her three other classmates. I know they're going to show great leadership and we'll do amazing things again. The other thing I wanted to say before, just thanks to everybody, OU, the All Sports Association, everybody here at ASA, USA Softball have been terrific. The event gets bigger and better and it's because of the media, too, because you guys pay attention to us. I think I heard it was the largest crowd of this session ever. That's awesome. But that's because you write stories in the paper and cover us as radio and TV people and people getting interested in the sport. So I thank you for that, because I mean from 2000 to 2015, it's been unbelievable. And usually these chairs are filled. But I know it's past somebody's bedtime, but I thank you for being here because it's been awesome -- there's no such thing as a bad day at the World Series. There's no such thing as a bad day at the World Series. And I firmly believe that. So thank you very much.

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