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May 31, 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
Michigan 6 - LSU 3
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, student-athlete Sierra Lawrence, student-athlete Sierra Romero, student-athlete Lindsay Montemarano and student-athlete Haylie Wagner.
COACH HUTCHINS: You have to congratulate LSU on a great season. We watched them play all year. We watch a lot of softball and they're such a great team. They've come so far under Beth Torina and her staff. We certainly want to congratulate them and their seniors. But I have to give credit, of course, to the kids sitting up here and the kids in the dugout. I told them before the game, it doesn't matter who is talented and it doesn't matter who is ranked. It only matters who has heart and who has soul. And we've had it all year, and we showed it again today. We just do what we do, whether we're ahead or behind, we just keep playing in our moment. I thought we had an outstanding effort against a very tough team in a very tough tournament. So I could not be prouder to be their coach, and we're going to play in the championship series. That's an achievement, we're very excited about it. But as I said, we came here to win it. And we're coming here to win it. And we have a very, very tough opponent.
Q. Sierra, with so much on the line in that last at-bat, how were you able to stay composed and get the job done out there?
SIERRA LAWRENCE: Staying one-pitch focused and believing in myself, and knowing that if I didn't get it done somebody behind me was going to get it done.
Q. Sierra, when you saw it go down the line and you knew that you were going to score at least one run, hopefully two, you're running into first base, talk about the emotions you're feeling at that time?
SIERRA LAWRENCE: I don't know that I thought of that. I was just running and as soon as I got to second I wanted to look at my team and sprinkle the cheese.
Q. You hit well all year long, but lately you haven't come up with big hits like you've been coming up with, talk about the importance of that hit today for you?
SIERRA LAWRENCE: I only had one at-bat in that game. That was my last at-bat. I don't remember the other one.
Q. We saw the team standing in the circle after the win. What was said in that meeting?
COACH HUTCHINS: I just told them I'm proud of them. Their effort was what we've done all year and that's all we need to do, that's all we need to do tomorrow. We just need to do what we do, and that's good enough.
Q. Haylie, Hutch was talking about the heart and soul. How do you think the heart and soul of yourself has benefited you in the circle and in the dugout this whole weekend and today?
HAYLIE WAGNER: My heart and soul is everybody's heart and soul, so we play as a team, we win and lose as a team and we go out there and play every single pitch together. So my heart and soul comes from everybody else around me.
Q. Hutch, I asked you this question the other night with (Megan) Betsa, with the change to (Haylie) Wagner. What happened there and can you talk about the performance she's had these last two games?
COACH HUTCHINS: I'll tell you what, I think it speaks for itself. She's come in and she's energized us. She wants the ball. She's attacking the hitters, and she's giving us the confidence that we need on the mound. And that's what the pitcher's job is to do is to set the tone that we can win this game. And I'm going to do my part. She's just been outstanding. Her leadership on the mound has been fantastic. And we have such a great 1-2 punch, and she's just come in with that left jab. It's been fantastic.
Q. Did you see anything consistent with (Megan) Betsa these last two games, in terms of why she's struggled a little bit?
COACH HUTCHINS: Megan (Betsa) needs to not focus on the opponent. She needs to stay focused on us because we're the only people on the field that matter. And she needs to throw pitches, and I think she might be a little bit focused on the opponents because we were facing some pretty darned good opponents. That's what makes it sweeter, but Megan has done a great job staying in her moment.
Q. Carol, if you could share with us what before Haylie went out to throw the seventh inning what you told her and also characterize her style, her pitching style?
COACH HUTCHINS: I think I told her if you're as excited to go out on that mound as you have been every inning that'd be good enough. That's all we want. We want somebody that wants to go out there and have the seventh inning, not afraid of the what-ifs that could happen. She went out there and she was excited. She may have been a little over-amped for that first batter, I'm guessing. But her style? She's Haylie Wagner. She's been a work horse for us for four years. She's had an opportunity to play in the World Series and I'd say she's done pretty well so far.
Q. For all the players, just talk about first of all how excited you are to be playing for the championship tomorrow and then what do you expect to see from the defending champion for the Gators?
HAYLIE WAGNER: I mean, we're as excited as we could be. But I think the toughest thing it's going to be a really, really tough game. And we have to go out there and attack. Florida is a great hitting team, a great defensive team and they have everything for them. And we just have to come out and attack and play with our heart and soul because we're just as good.
LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: I don't know if it's completely hit me yet. But we came here not to just compete. All year we had a goal. Our goal wasn't just to make it to Oklahoma City, but it was to win the championship game. And Florida is a great team. We've played them this year and had great battles with them. We can't focus on them. We have to focus on us and we'll be okay if we focus on us.
SIERRA ROMERO: I don't think it's hit me yet. Florida is a great team and it's going to a good game, and I'm looking forward to it.
SIERRA LAWRENCE: I'm just going to treat that game like I've treated the rest of the games this season. I'm pretty excited for it. And I expect for them to play a good game just like we'll play a good game.
Q. This is the first time in a while you've struggled to put up a lot of runs early. Was there anything that Hoover was doing that was throwing you guys off at the plate?
SIERRA LAWRENCE: She's a good pitcher.
SIERRA ROMERO: As she said, she was a good pitcher. I think we were trying to do too much. Like Hutch (Carol Hutchins) said, we were playing the opponent a little bit, and finally once we settled down and focused on ourselves we were able to play Michigan softball.
LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: Like they said she's a really good pitcher and sometimes you get too over-amped and want to do too much, and once we think about getting one base, because it's all about bases, we think about that, we normally can string together a few hits and get some runs.
HAYLIE WAGNER: I mean, they basically said it. But I think that LSU has a great pitching staff and they just came out attacking and that's what they're going to do. Everybody in the World Series, they're good and they're going to fight and attack and we have to go after them.
Q. Sierra, could you talk about the home run and the run you helped steal there in the sixth inning?
SIERRA ROMERO: Home run. I was just trying to get on base. I was trying to hit the ball hard. If I'm going to get out I want it to at least be a hard out. I saw the ball and I hit it and it just happened to go out. The run-down, I was ready to have some fun with C-Lo (Sierra Lawrence). I know how she runs, and I know how I run, so I knew that was going to be really interesting. It's something we work on in practice, and it's something that I trusted C-Lo with, and she did what she did and we got the run.
Q. Coach, after coming from behind twice to tie up LSU being deadlocked for a few innings how were you able to fight through that and come up with the runs in the sixth that have been hard for you to get all day long?
COACH HUTCHINS: We're in the World Series. Runs are hard to get. We're facing great pitching. They have the deepest staff. Florida has a pretty deep staff as well. And we were just fighting all game. The first time through when we see a pitcher that we haven't seen, we haven't seen LSU this year, you expect the pitcher to have an edge. Second time through, now our hitters have at least a little information to work with, and they've seen her and they've made her throw some pitches. So again we don't care if we're behind or we're ahead, we just focus on what we're doing at the moment. The game doesn't know if we're behind or ahead. The game just knows if you hit the ball hard.
Q. You guys have seen Florida before. Does that take away from the edge that their staff might have otherwise?
COACH HUTCHINS: At this time of the year, I don't think so. I think they're playing outstanding ball and honestly I watched them the first night we got here. I think they looked like the Yankees. (Laughter).
SIERRA LAWRENCE: Who do we look like?
COACH HUTCHINS: I'll let you know later.
Q. Lindsay and Haylie, what do you take away from playing for Hutch, whether that's on the softball field or off the softball field?
COACH HUTCHINS: They can't say that in here.
LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: Well, do you want to hear my true feelings? No, I'm totally kidding. Totally kidding. Hutch (Carol Hutchins) is a great leader. She's super inspirational and she knows how to push you to be your best. And even though sometimes it might be tough to hear, she knows what she's doing. And having someone like her believe in you, it gives, at least me, it gives me a ton of confidence. And just having her there believing in all of us, believing in me, her wise words. She's been there, she was a great athlete. Just putting your trust in her, it allows you to become great. It's a privilege to play for her.
HAYLIE WAGNER: Extremely tough question because there's so much to say about her. But I mean, just amazing. On the field or off the field, she's always there for you. Such a great leader. She's so smart. She's been here so many times. We've had our fair share of ups and downs, that's for sure, but in the end I know she wants me to be the better person on and off the field, and she keeps pushing me to my limits and I just keep going. And she's the reason why I'll leave Michigan a better person and player.
LINDSAY MONTEMARANO: I'll be in your doghouse any day of the week, Hutch.
COACH HUTCHINS: That's good, because you usually are. (Laughter).
Q. Coach, quick question about the format. One cool thing about the way it's structured you play a regional, a Super Regional then you just kind of played a regional here but crossed over. Now you play a three-game series like you did in the super regionals. The NCAA likes that because it preps you. Back in the day you just had one championship game. If you could talk about ideally the best team is going to be the champion, win two out of three and what you think of the format?
COACH HUTCHINS: The format, we played in the first one ever. And I remember thinking that the rest of the country was finally catching up with some of the power softball areas and now we're going to have to beat them more than once. And we did. So I thought it was pretty good. It's a fantastic series. And you want the best team to win. And it's not really if you're the best team it's if you play the best. And to play a team more than once I can tell you right now it makes it tougher than ever. It's tough. Super Regionals have made this game so hard made it so hard to get to the College World Series because it's tough to beat a team of this caliber. So many teams are so great. It's tough to beat them twice and it makes it great. It's great TV. It's great softball. It's made us all better. It's made everybody better.
Q. Sierra, on the fielder's choice in the seventh inning was she trying to trip you?
SIERRA ROMERO: That's what it looked like. But I respect her for it. You've gotta do what you've got to do for your team. I probably would have done the same thing. It's part of the game. In the heat of the moment. It happens.
Q. Hutch, I'm curious, a lot of coaches don't let their players talk about the confidence level that this group has talked about and the desire to win a national championship and how they feel like it's a legitimate chance. Why is this team so confident? Why are you feeling like it's okay to talk about it and the swagger that they have and this confidence level is something different you hear from them?
COACH HUTCHINS: I think I really believe that if you set a goal you have to own it. If you can't say it out loud you don't own it. It's not whether or not we win the championship, it's whether or not we go for it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports