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June 4, 2018

Sis Bates

Julia DePonte

Gabbie Plain

Anna Shelnutt

Heather Tarr

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Florida State - 1, Washington - 0

THE MODERATOR: This is our Championship Final Game 1 press conference featuring the Huskies of the University of Washington. Joined by head coach Heather Tarr, student-athletes Sis Bates, Julia DePonte, and Gabbie Plain.

Coach Tarr, this game obviously dominated by the pitchers. Could you talk about Gabbie's performance, and also what did you see from Meghan that gave your lineup so much trouble?

HEATHER TARR: Well, I think just in general it was a great pitcher's duel. Both teams hadn't seen each other, and it was a great opportunity for us to face a really good pitcher in Meghan King. I just think she has great command and throws a lot of strikes. She pitches with the rhythm she likes to pitch with. Pitches quick. Something I know a lot of other teams comment on after having played her.

Proud of Gabbie. Probably she will tell you what she felt like today in terms of her execution of what she did. But when you look at the overall body of work today, pretty darn good job, whatever she threw. Maybe six shutout innings. Just gave up the one home run, and that was too bad that we couldn't come through when we had chances. But I think we're going to be all right.

Q. Julia, could you guys talk about is there a frustration to a game like that where you have so many scoring opportunities and don't cash in, or is that just softball?
JULIA DEPONTE: You know, it happens. Every team that came to this tournament is great. It was a pitching duel today. We hit the ball hard a lot. We didn't play our best game, but, you know, it's a series of three, so we'll see.

Q. Sis and Julia, what did you guys see from Meghan King tonight that kept you guys off balance a little bit?
JULIA DEPONTE: She's a great pitcher. I mean, we've never seen her before. I think we're always better the second time around when we see a pitcher. Like I said, she's a great pitcher. She has great command, like Coach Tarr said.

She was just working ahead of us and keeping us off balance. Because one time she would come ahead and next time she wouldn't.

I think that's what kept me off balance. But like Sis said, we made hard contact. We were one pitch away, one inch away, so we'll see tomorrow.

SIS BATES: Yeah, she has good command. She works quick. I mean, she's a good pitcher, put the ball in play, yeah.

Q. Gabbie, how do you feel about your performance tonight?
GABBIE PLAIN: I would say that it wasn't my best performance, but it wasn't necessarily bad. I didn't have as much command as I would have liked, unfortunately. But, yeah, it was enough to help out the girls. They were still getting ground balls and outs for me. Yeah, it was -- it was definitely on the average side.

Q. Gabbie, can you just describe what happened on the solo home run that you gave up? Was that a mistake? Did she just guess right? What happened there?
GABBIE PLAIN: Ball was probably a bit higher than I would have liked it to be, but, yeah, it was just a good hit. She read it well. Went with it, put it where she wanted it to go. So, yeah, there's not much you can do about that.

Q. Coach Tarr, you kind of made a face when Gabbie said it was an average night. Is there more to say about that?
HEATHER TARR: No. I mean, how do you -- how do you tell a kid it was a bad night? It wasn't a bad night. We didn't score. Our bad. But she didn't pitch her best game, but what is she supposed to do? Throw 15 innings and us try to figure out how to score? We're good. It's just you laugh because it's like, dang, you're playing for a National Championship and you threw an average game and we lost 1-0. That's why I laugh. Like what are we saying over here? It's so cool, but it kind of sucks right now. But it's kind of like, you know, it is kind of a crappy/cool feeling.

Q. Gabbie, you're a freshman and you've been pitching well all postseason and the championship series. You got the Game 1 start, what does that mean to you?
GABBIE PLAIN: It means a lot. I never would have seen myself here in my wildest dreams. Like you said, I'm just a freshman. To get Game 1 start is incredible. I really can't put it into words. It's just a feeling that you get, like I can't say it, yeah.

Q. Coach, could you talk about what you liked about your team in this situation? You all -- they don't seem rattled. What gives you confidence going into the next two games?
HEATHER TARR: Just another opportunity. Like, thank goodness it doesn't end tonight. We have another chance. These guys are awesome. We'll see what we can do tomorrow. Live and learn.

Q. So for the three players, and I'm hoping that you'll not just say this was another game. But I'm interested in what it was like being on the line, pregame, and this is the National Championship. What did it feel like for you?
SIS BATES: Yeah, it was a cool feeling playing for a National Championship, like you said. But we try to focus on taking it pitch by pitch. Honestly, like it sounds crazy me saying it, but you have to or it's too big. Like you get too rattled. You just have to take pitch by pitch together, trust in each other, and just play for each other, honestly.

JULIA DEPONTE: Taking a step back it's kind of cool. Growing up you kind of watch these games on TV. I remember being in 8th grade and watching Washington in the '09 series and the '10 series, and now we're here, and that's such a great experience. It's a really cool opportunity, and we are just lucky and fortunate to be here. Like Sis said, we play this game pitch by pitch and side by side.

GABBIE PLAIN: Yeah, like the other two said. I don't really have all that much to add. Just being here is an incredible experience. The whole thing. Not just the final series. It's been incredible the whole way through.

Q. Heather, I was wondering if you could describe the swing in the bottom of the 7th. You get the leadoff runner on, and the ball looks like it's going to drop, and then Jessie Warren makes the play she makes to get the double-play?
HEATHER TARR: Yeah, what a great play. We know that she plays really aggressively, and Trysten had the green light to bunt or slap, and she chose to bunt. It didn't work out for us, but it was a great play. Taryn Atlee, our gal that was running at first, it was a tough read. Darned if you do, darned if you don't. It was a good play. Gave them a lot of momentum to finish the game. We still competed. Kelly Burdick comes up, gets the single and has a chance to still stay in the game.

Q. Heather, fifth inning, you have Kelly on second base, Sis is up with 1 out. You go for the sacrifice. Is that a situation -- was that an easy call for you or is that something looking back maybe you let her take the swing?
HEATHER TARR: Sis has the green light to do whatever she wants.

Q. Let me ask the question for Sis, then.
SIS BATES: Yeah, you know, just mixing it up, putting the ball in play. Trying to get Kelly in scoring position. She's already in scoring position, but trying to make things happen.

Q. If you were not taking the two-second pause, what advantage is gained?
HEATHER TARR: I don't -- I mean, it's just like a pitcher's rhythm. So the hitters have to adjust to it and maybe figure out a way to accommodate themselves better. I don't think she's violating anything. Maybe I can go back and look and figure out a way to do the gamesmanship thing. But that's not really how I coach, so we have to figure it out.

Q. You mentioned a couple of times that your players have the green light to make different decisions. How important is empowering your players to make those decisions to you as a coach? How have you seen that play out over the season?
HEATHER TARR: Yeah, most of the time things usually work out to the favor of it. There's been times where we've had rallies go because we've laid down a bunt twice and we didn't really call it. But it's like, oh, maybe when it doesn't come out to the win, it's like, what, why, who. But we want to teach the game. We want to teach them to read situations and do what they're comfortable doing. Obviously they're going to do what we tell them to do when we tell them to do it. Maybe I should have made sure that we didn't do the things that they did, but it's all good.

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