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June 1, 2019

Josh White

Cam Opp

Jim Foster

Lubbock, Texas

Florida - 13, Army - 5

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student-athletes.

JIM FOSTER: Proud of our guys. Nine second lieutenants just finished their baseball careers. There's a lot of tears, a lot of emotion going on right now and to -- I'm going to think about some really cool things they did today and it's not about the scoreboard. We didn't play very well today or yesterday, especially on the mound. We had a lot of trouble throwing strikes and didn't make many good pitches. But you're going to remember Whitey hitting a bomb and you're going to remember Matt Hudgins getting a base hit and two RBIs his last at-bat and you're going to remember all the positive things.

So these guys are the best of the best, I've always said that. They really are incredible to coach and be around. These seniors have done so much for the program. So much. I can't even tell you, not just on the field winning games, that's the least part of it, the schedule they have, what they do in the classroom, what they do off the field, and just how good a people they are and I'm blessed to coach them. They're extraordinary people in a high-performance environment and we looked like we were running on fumes a little bit the last couple of days. I don't know why.

But I want to thank everybody here at Texas Tech, you're unbelievable. You guys are incredible at what you do. What a great regional. Been to a lot of regionals, this is my seventh or eighth one and you guys are the best. So unbelievable how you accommodated us and made us feel welcome and how you treated these guys. Thank you very much.

THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Josh, obviously you probably wanted to end your career on a higher note but could you have drawn it up much better than that, when it comes to hitting a home run in your final game in the post-season?
JOSH WHITE: Personally it's a pretty cool way to go out. Obviously we would like to go out with the W, but there's only about 30 guys who are ever going to finish with a W. So glad to go out with the guys that I went out with and yeah, it was pretty cool.

Q. Obviously the frustration was probably building up there, not having a hit. Did it just feel good off the bat there?
JOSH WHITE: Oh, yeah, yeah, it felt great off the bat. It was one of the ones you don't feel. I was lucky, I got to see quite a few of his pitches in my first at-bat, and then so I just got a good one to hit and hit it.

Q. What will you remember most when you kind of look back on your Army baseball careers?
CAM OPP: I think we would have liked to have done better in the regional but I think kind of like coach said, we really enjoyed the hospitality of Texas Tech, but I think the most moment I remember the most is being on the bottom of the dog pile against Navy to win the Patriot League championship, and having all my teammates right above my face because I was closing the game, and then yelling at me. And I got punched in the face by someone's elbow and my mouth was bleeding, and I had no idea it was. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy, but that was I would say my favorite moment throughout the whole time.

But I think it revolves around the teammates that I've had. Not really the baseball, it's more about the team.

JOSH WHITE: Yeah, it really comes down to the people that we have gotten to meet and get to know and do life with for the last four years. It's a huge blessing to be around these kind of guys every single day. So we're just really thankful, I think, that we got to do it with them.

Q. You guys are in a little unique position, this is for both of you, most seniors at this point they're looking where their next job's going to be, looking Minor League baseball, where they're going to get drafted. You guys have a completely different future in front of you. Do you guys know what the plans is for you guys, when you have to report, where you're heading anything along those lines or do you have a couple of days to soak in your final game?
JOSH WHITE: Yes, sir, we have got all of our assignments set and everything, so I think a lot of us, July 23rd is the first day. So yeah it's a lot different than our peers and our friends that went off to play at different colleges, but it's really exciting too. We get to leave a great team and go join the greatest team. So we're really excited.

CAM OPP: Josh is going to be an ordinance officer and then I'm going to go try to learn how to fly helicopters in September. So hopefully everything happens safely and none of those helicopters crash in the process. But I think that, yeah, so we're both really excited for that. I think that's kind of overall mission of coming to West Point and I think we're ready to do that, and I think baseball definitely builds the character that we need to serve the country.

Q. For both you guys: What do you think you guys were able to accomplish for Army baseball as a class, as a team?
JOSH WHITE: Well, our first year we only won 16 games. So I think we did a pretty good job of rallying back and we did some good things on the field, and we kind of restored what the program had built up to before we got there. So it was nice to be a part of something that you could be proud of as a program.

CAM OPP: I think the biggest difference is like in the Army and when we serve in the military we're expected to win. I mean, we don't go fight our adversaries and expect to lose, and I think that first year we kind of went to the field and we hoped to win, which is not a good feeling as a baseball player. So I think that the biggest adjustment that we have had is changing it from hoping to win to expecting to win. I think we're getting to the point where we expect to win against the best, and I think that's why we love the regionals so much is because we get to play against the best.

THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse the student-athletes and take questions for coach.

Q. When you think about and are able in maybe a month or two to reflect on the season, what will you remember most about these guys and this team?
JIM FOSTER: I'll probably think about how far they have come. You should have seen those guys two years ago. They have come a long, long way. Not just on the baseball field but off the field. I didn't recruit them to West Point, because I came over from Boston College three years ago. This is my third year at West Point, and didn't really know what I was getting into.

Year one it's like learning a new language and it's made me much, much better as a coach and as a person being there. You step foot on West Point you feel the energy, the goodness. It's like going to the Army-Navy football game. You step in it and it's a special atmosphere. You can just feel it in the air. I'm just trying to get the baseball program where we can play at this level, compete at this level but more importantly those guys being able to go do what they're going to be doing -- Cam obviously he's going to be flying a helicopter, he's going to be flying Apache or Black Hawk in a couple years he's very modest but that's what he's going to be doing. His idol is Stephen Reich, I don't know if you've ever heard of Steve. He was a teammate of mine with the Orioles, and Steve was killed in action. Have you seen that movie with Mark Wahlberg? You know that movie I'm talking about. Well that's based on Steve and his story, Lone Survivor. He was a teammate, he was a great pitcher, great pitcher, got a chance with the Orioles. But he flew Chinooks and he flew in that mission. Google him. Steve Reich.

I don't know if you saw the patches on our left arm 160th Night Stalkers out of Fort Campbell and Fort Bragg. We're going to be playing down there next year at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville. I look forward to playing in front of all the guys serving down there, and down in we're going to play against Austin Peay down there by Fort Campbell. It's just a great feeling because it's pure. It's genuine.

We're going to get some really good players in here, but we're never going to change. Just be appreciative of being part of something bigger than yourself. That's the number one thing. These guys have been great. It's taken it a long way and hopefully we'll keep getting better on the field, but the foundation they have laid as far as doing it for the right reasons and just being gentlemen and doing a great job in the classroom and everything a student-athlete should be, that's what they are. So that's what I'm most proud of.

Q. You've kind of touched on this but just tell us a little bit about how you feel personally the responsibility of going out and representing the Army on a sports field.
JIM FOSTER: Last year we beat Navy, I got texts from overseas, guys that are serving, they're in caves across the water and serving. That's when it hit me how big this was and what I'm a part of and what I should be doing and how I should handle myself. It's not just baseball, it's you try and take a higher road and you really study what you're doing, and just try -- it makes you better is what I'm trying to say. You think about what they're doing for us and how selfless they are and everywhere you go everyone recognizes it and says "thank you" to the guys. You understand there's a higher level of -- you have to hold yourself to a higher level of what you do because they're leaders of character. That's what we're developing, leaders of character, who are going to fight for our country and they're always going to do the right thing. So I have to always do the right thing and be a good role model for them. I just try and do that every day.

I know I know baseball, I can teach them baseball, but I want them to be great husbands and great fathers. They want to protect everybody and serve our country, so I'm just going to -- you try and take care of them the best you can, but you also have to push them really hard, so it's a fine line.

Q. After losing the opener yesterday you guys were already in the losers side of the bracket and you knew had to come out, and to have the kind of start that you did, obviously had to be a little bit disappointing. But one of the things that really stood out about your team specifically was even when you were down 11-0, every single one of them was on the rail, every single one of them was in tune and they were cheering for each other, like all it would take is a single hit, and then you get the home run which eliminates the no-hitter, the shutout and gets you guys back on the scoreboard. What was that feeling like in that dugout when that happened for that team, for this team?
JIM FOSTER: It was a great feeling. It's like a weight came off because one of the things that these guys is they try too hard sometimes. In baseball when you try too hard and you muscle up, it slows you down. I could just tell we were a step slow, some of the balls that were hit we were a little behind and our bats were a little slow and pitchers weren't -- they weren't loose. So I spend a lot of time trying to get them to loosen up and play fast and play free, but when you're not getting hits, it takes -- we're not in the SEC playing the Big-12, where they're seeing it every weekend. I think when you see it all the time, it's like when I got to pro ball, you just elevate. You are either going to get used to it or you're not there. I think if they saw it every week, we would do a better job with it.

But I mean, we saw Noah Song last week, he's 93, 97 with a wipeout breaking ball. So it's not like we don't see velocity, I think it's more the atmosphere and trying too hard. I've seen them do it before. When they try too hard it just doesn't happen. So getting them to back off is something we always try and do. But I think they will learn, they will be better for it the next time.

Q. Your team has had a lot to be proud of this season, winning the conference, making it to a regional. Are they going to remember beating Navy more than the other two?
JIM FOSTER: Probably. I would say that that's up there for these guys because they hadn't done it for a while and they did it last year, they won the Star this year and won another championship at Navy. Both years were at Navy. So we want to beat everybody, but that's a special rivalry because it's so big. You got messages from guys and administrators, graduates, and there's a lot of people at West Point and in some big jobs around the country that it's a big game.

So I was happy for these guys that they went and did that. They're probably going to remember that and a few other big wins. We had a good game against LSU this year. We had a walk-off against Tulane. We had a couple good wins last year. I think the win against NC State in the regional last year, I think Giovinco, the lefty who started for us, he beat NC State last year. And I felt bad for him and Burggraaf and Sam Messina, they're better than what they showed, but that's baseball, that's life. You got to pick yourself up and go to the next thing and they're great guys, they're going to do well whatever they do.


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