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May 31, 2015

Lexi Davis

Branndi Melero

Clint Myers

Carlee Wallace


Florida 3 - Auburn 2

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Auburn University Clint Myers, student-athlete Branndi Melero, student-athlete Carlee Wallace and student-athlete Lexi Davis. We'll start with Coach.

COACH MYERS: I would like to say thank you again to Oklahoma City for putting on a great World Series. Sharon, magnificent job. Her staff is outstanding. Secondly, I'd like to say how very proud I am to be the coach at Auburn University. These kids were picked to finish eighth in our conference. And yet they were one of four remaining teams in the College World Series. That says a lot about character. It says a lot about drive, competitiveness. It was a lot of fun. And we will be back. I'd also like to wish the best to Florida. They're a great team. Well coached. They have tremendous athletes and they're going to do well. It's not the end of the world as I explained to the girls because it's really the start of something new. We told them at the very beginning that they're going to start a legacy at Auburn. And they are. Our plan is now an expectation as it is with Florida and the other top schools that are here every year, to be at the College World Series each and every year, having a chance to play for that national championship. And these girls didn't have a whole lot of experience to draw upon, but they have some experience now. Like I said, I'm really proud of what they accomplished, how they accomplished it. It was a total team effort. And like I said at the very beginning, I'm very proud to say I'm the head coach of the Auburn University softball team.


Q. Can you just talk about the last 24 hours, the ten inning marathon yesterday going into nine today, what's it been like this roller coaster ride, this last 24 hours?
CARLEE WALLACE: It's been a lot of fun. It's such a blessing to be a part of something this great. There's nothing like the College World Series. And I'm just so proud to have been able to have been a part of this with my team. And I think moving forward, this experience we'll be able to draw on these games and these tough situations. And yesterday I had probably the most fun I've ever had on this team. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we all had a blast yesterday. I mean, that's what you live for, those long-inning games. And I just think that from here on out we'll be able to draw from this experience. And I think it really kind of bound us together as a team. And that's something that no one will ever be able to take from us.

BRANNDI MELERO: You go into today's game trying to feed off the energy that you had from last night's game. We fell short. But it's okay. Like I said yesterday, we tried to get it done in seven innings, if we have to play 10, 15 innings, that's what we're going to do until we get knocked down. But I couldn't be any prouder to be on this team, and I'm very blessed to have teammates that were willing to give it their all, all eight innings.

LEXI DAVIS: This game kind of had remnants of last night, which we had a ton of fun playing in. It showed a lot of our character and everybody was saying we didn't have experience coming into this, but I think we did a pretty darned good job for never being here. So last night was a heck of a lot of fun and today we just ran out of at-bats. My teammates did a great job. They picked me up when I got into a jam, and I couldn't be more proud of every single one of them. And we will be back.

Q. Branndi, when Coach Myers came in last year and everybody has said the first day he got here he said we're going to the College World Series. And he also said he was just some crazy guy coming in and you guys probably didn't know how to react. Now that it happened, now that it's coming on and it's been your senior year, just talk about from that day when he said that to right now.
BRANNDI MELERO: I mean, the moment he said that, I believed in him. And I'm beyond blessed that he allowed me to stay on this field and to keep me on the team, to have this opportunity. I mean, he said he was going to bring us to the Women's College World Series, and he did. So I couldn't be more happier, and I thank him very much for all that he's done.

Q. At what point you guys played 17 innings yesterday. Nine today. At what point did fatigue set in?
LEXI DAVIS: I don't really feel like any of us got fatigued, per se. Maybe towards the end where I got pulled out the last inning, I think maybe my arm was getting a little tight. But we played our hearts out no matter what. And I think fatigue or not, it was more a matter of character and how we wanted to go forward with it. I can't speak for the other players, but I would say probably that inning where I threw two balls is kind of where I started getting a little tired.

BRANNDI MELERO: It's softball. You're going to play with cuts, bruises, breaks, you just gotta go out there and continue to play. Yeah, right now I'll be honest that my body is a little bit -- it's hurting a lot. But you're not going to show that. Coach just stresses a lot, play different than how you feel. And I feel like we did exactly that. Now that it's done, you'll probably hear a lot of girls tell you how tired they are. But before that, you're not going to hear that from us.

COACH MYERS: The girls were talking, when you have a mission that you are on and you get to -- you have the opportunity to play in this venue, all the preparedness that you have is what you have to rely on. It's a sense of confidence. It's a sense of being. As Branndi said, as I said here last night after being here for 14 hours, you're tired afterwards. Not during. Because it's the team that has the mindset. I mean, I don't think you saw anybody dog it anywhere on either team. That was great competition. It was a hell of a game for only two runs being scored on both sides. I mean, true competitors don't get tired, not until it's over. So I'm very proud of their performance. I'm very proud of their dedication and, again, now is the time we have to rest.

CARLEE WALLACE: I went up to Lexi before we even started this game, and it's to be expected that there's fatigue. But I told her, no matter what, no matter how tight your arm is, how tired my legs are, it's you and me to the end, and we've got to keep pushing because everybody is going to look to us to be the rock for today. And I think just our will to win is too strong to even let fatigue kind of come into play. Our will to just play the game is, it's like Coach said, we're so competitive that we don't realize how tired we are until the game's over. And then once we kind of sit around and you try to get up you're like, okay, that's where that bruise came from. But I think definitely that we're a very competitive bunch, and it doesn't really come into play until after.

Q. Branndi, one of three seniors on this team. Talk about the potential for next year's team, how good can you guys be?
BRANNDI MELERO: I mean, Auburn is going to be good. They're always going to be great. Going into next year, we're going to have a big group of girls coming in. And me and Morgan have tried to explain to the girls, you guys need to stick together. Include the freshmen that are going to be coming in in everything that you guys do. Make sure you guys are always working together and teach them what we taught you guys. But what Coach did from my junior year to my senior year is junior year was a start-over. He taught us what he wanted to teach us, and sophomore year was just moving forward from what we left on. So it's going to be important that 23 girls teach the freshmen instead of moving backwards to continue to go forward.

Q. Coach Myers, Carlee and Branndi you were able to hit Haeger consistently throughout the game, but at the big moments what adjustments do you think she made to keep you from getting that big run total?
COACH MYERS: They're well coached. Tim and their staff had a plan and they executed. You give up -- if you look at the numbers, we had 11 hits and she walked four. So we had 15 base runners. That's not just being good pitching. That is a great defense behind. Look at the line drive that we had in the one inning, and that was a great play. She made pitches that kind of kept us off balance. The key thing, if you look at why she was selected player of the year, it's because of the fact that when she had to step up, if you asked her, was this the best game she ever pitched? She'd say no, I'm sure. But because she is a champion, because the fact that she is who she is, when you're asked upon to make the pitch, then that's what the champion does. They step up because they're called a champion. And, again, we had opportunities. Next year's team will cash in on those opportunities. We came up a little short. And we've already talked about how we're going to make some changes and really get after it so that when we face a (Lauren) Haeger, I'm glad we don't have to anymore, we will have a better sense. We'll have a better performance and so --

CARLEE WALLACE: I think I've got to tip my hat to her. She pitched a great game. I'd say that she is one of the hardest throwers that we've seen this year. I think when you combine it with good off-speed pitches, it's pretty difficult to hit because you can't go up there guessing. I think she did a really good job of mixing speeds and hitting her spots when she was called upon to hit those spots. And I mean we had quite a few hits off of her, but when it really counted, when we needed some timely hitting with runners in scoring position she executed her pitches pretty well.

BRANNDI MELERO: I think a little bit to my advantage was the fact that I've seen her for four years. I've hit off her from freshman year to now. But like Coach said, she's player of the year for a reason. And with my last two at-bats, she knew exactly what to throw and she was able to fool me one. And the second one, I got barrel on it, but her defense behind her was there to back her up and have her back.

Q. Clint and Carlee, could you just talk about the day Lexi had holding them to four hits?
COACH MYERS: I could spend a lot of time talking about Lexi. I thought she did an outstanding job. She was a horse last year. She started, I think, every game that we played here. And it was the reason -- I think that the person that's behind her success is Corey (Myers). So I think he's done a magnificent job with the staff. I think he spends a lot of time watching film, coming up with a plan, then explaining that plan so they can execute it. When you hold Florida to five hits, that's a heck of a job. And we gave her a little break in there, threw Rachael (Walters) in there for the two lefties, and then we stuck her back out there. She started the inning -- in fact, we saw her shaking her arm. It's the kind of player you want: Coach, I'm good, give me the ball get back in there. The one that wants to go out there and compete, I want the opportunity for my team. And that's what she did. We just -- you know, we just saw that it was getting that time and we made the change to Marcy (Harper). But like I said, when you hold Florida to five hits, that's a hell of a job. I'm extremely proud of her and all the other pitchers as well as the team for their effort and playing the defending national champs the way we did.

CARLEE WALLACE: It's been awesome to be able to be her catcher. And I think we worked really well together all season but especially when it came down to it we feed off of each other. She just did a really great job today with staying mentally tough. There's a lot of things, fatigue might have been setting into her arm. Florida, I can remember back to when I was watching the World Series in like '07, the Gators were always a powerful team. There's something to be said to be able to hold them to single digit hits. I definitely commend her for that. I think what I admire most about her is how mentally tough she is. It's been great working with her. I know we're only going to get better going into next year.

Q. Now that this season has come to a close and this has been a season of firsts and history and all that, if you guys, all four of you could put together one or two words to describe it, what would those words be?
LEXI DAVIS: Can you repeat that question one more time, please?

Q. Now that the season has come to a close and everything that has happened, if you could put a couple of words to describe it, what would those words be?
LEXI DAVIS: Gosh. A season of firsts for us. We came in with nobody really expecting us to do anything, and I think that kind of propelled us to want to prove people wrong and we knew, with the coaching and the talent we had, we knew within ourselves that we could do it. And I think that's what we went out and did. You know, I hit a rough patch during the middle of it and then kind of turned it around and wanted to come back for my team and this was the perfect part to do it, and I know that they had our backs for the first half of the season. So we did a lot of things that no one thought we could. That's a testament to how hard we worked, how great of coaches we have. And it's one that we'll never forget.

BRANNDI MELERO: Ever to conquer, never to yield. It's in our fight song. That's how I am going to end this year.

CARLEE WALLACE: I would say this year has been such a blessing, just a blessing. I really only need one word. Blessing. Because it's not every year you come across a team where all of us get along, all of us -- we clock in and clock out, day in, day out. It never gets old. I'm sitting here and it's still kind of setting in that the season is over because I don't want it to be over. I don't want to lose the seniors. I love them to death. And I think that it's just you really have to kind of sit back and take it all in and realize the season you had because I mean -- every team is different but I know one thing is for sure there will never be another team like this, with all the different individual personalities and everything. So I've just been blessed to have been part of such a great group of girls.

COACH MYERS: Commitment or achievement to a legacy. Like I said, it takes a while to establish your own identity. The identity we have currently is a lot different than the identity that we had three years ago as far as a softball program. Because they're sitting in the room, our legacy needs to be of that of what Florida is now. And we're moving towards that. If you look, we played the defending national champs to a one-run, extra-inning ballgame. They beat us three times last year all by one run. I've known Tim a long time. And again I've used them as a reference to the type of program we're going to become. So that in future years Florida and Auburn may be playing in the championship game of the College World Series. I would say commitment, achievement to a legacy.

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