June 5, 2021
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Postgame Press Conference
Oklahoma - 8, Georgia - 0
Q. Great run and everything that you had going at Georgia this year. I know you felt like you had to control the Oklahoma offense in this game. They got it going. Talk about your game plan because you're one team who had beaten them this year?
LU HARRIS CHAMPER: Well, it was a similar game plan, but you have to tip your hat, Oklahoma is a very good team, they are very talented and deep. Juarez threw a fantastic game today against us. All I can say is I am just, again, like Lacey said, so proud of our team. I think that no one wants to come up short. At the end of the day nobody wants to be sitting here not getting the win. But from where the team started to where they have ended the season, I couldn't be more proud of each one of them.
And so thankful for Mary and our seniors and everything they have done this year and their leadership, and mostly the way the team stood up in the face of adversity and continued to compete together, to compete as one with great team chemistry.
Q. It's not hard to look down your roster and see, you know, 13 freshmen and sophomores and so many underclassmen in that starting lineup. Besides Mary Wilson Avant, obviously that's a big deal losing her, but is the takeaway here -- how important is this for the future of all these girls coming back and what are you going to do about a pitcher next year, right?
LU HARRIS CHAMPER: Well, pitching will come along. It usually does. You can't say enough about Mary and what she did for our team this year, the way she really put us on her back and went to work.
But yes, the future looks really bright. So many youngsters out there. They have grown so much. Again, I can't say enough about the chemistry and the trust of each other and the want-to, with and for each other and I think that is the strength of the team moving forward.
And yes, this experience was amazing for them and this team will only continue to get stronger.
Q. You go back quite a ways with this tournament, back to the days of a much smaller stadium. What was it like out there the last two days with the expansion of the upper deck, how has the atmosphere changed?
LU HARRIS CHAMPER: Well, the atmosphere is awesome. I love the additions to the stadium. Again, quick shout-out to, OKC and everybody who has done this for the sport of softball. It's absolutely beautiful. My first time here was a few years ago and it was grassy hills down both sides and stands in the back. It's just come so far. Love the commitment to the sport. It's only going to get better -- bigger and better. So much is to do with ESPN and all they do for our sport, and the venue is beautiful.
Again, I can't say enough about it. It has changed so much. The sport's really growing and I think it's awesome for the sport of softball.
Q. You did have some success against Juarez. Can you talk about what you had to do to hit her successfully and what she had working? It looked like four or five pitches just watching on TV, were hitting their spots.
LACEY FINCHER: Yeah, I give it to the girl. She's a great pitcher. I came up there with the mindset of do me and have fun. Just working my process and getting a deep window and getting my swing off when I can.
Q. The Oklahoma coach was talking about how you guys are capable of hitting it out any time that you're at the plate. What was going on with the matchup today that made it so difficult to play like that?
LU HARRIS CHAMPER: Yeah, I think again, you have to say how Juarez pitched a really good game. She had a little different game plan than she had the first time against us, and you've got to give it to her. When she needed big pitches, she made them. You know, I think we had a couple opportunities to break through, but again, when she needed big pitches, she made them.
Q. For both of you, when you look back at this season, this last year with everything, not only the challenges on the field but even off the field with the protocols and everything, what will you take from this year, this incredible run for both of you?
LU HARRIS CHAMPER: I am so proud of the team. You know, it's difficult. Coming back from having to do practice a different way and really stay separated. It was really weird early in the season where we had to like stand apart and stand in little pods. I'm really just proud of the way that the girls stayed pretty much in our bubble. And then we were able to eventually move into just playing softball the way we always play it. But that was allowed because they were able to do such a good job off the field.
Again, it was an off-year when it comes to that. It was just so different. But the joy comes in with the team and the way that they decided to battle together. I can't be more proud of the girls, the way that they handled the situation, the way that they have grown together through it and the way that they competed this season. Team 25 is very special, I've been telling them that from day one, win, lose or draw, they have greatness inside them and greatness ahead of them.
LACEY FINCHER: I would agree with what Coach said, it was very difficult in the beginning of the season just staying apart from your teammates and not be able to be in the locker room at the beginning of the season, and just throughout the season we just got used to it and we said, you know, let's find a way to make this work, find a way to find joy on the field when we can and be positive. I think we really did a great job of doing that.
Just throughout the season it made us closer even though we're farther apart. I can't say enough about Team 25 and I'm just blessed to be a part of it.
Q. Does the disappointment of this one, do you put that away pretty fast knowing how far you guys have come this season and how young you are in terms of looking ahead no next year?
LACEY FINCHER: Yeah, I think you can't dwell on the negative things. It's not fun losing but nobody wants to lose. I think that this team has great potential in the future and we just have to keep our heads high and keep looking forward. I'll give another shout-out to Mary Wilson. I didn't want her to end like that but she pitched a great game and she just is a great person in general. She's going to do so many good things in life, and I'm proud of her and I'm proud to be her friend. And I just can't wait to see where life takes her.
Q. Great coaches, you've been here a bunch of time, you're a great coach. So I'm wondering, I know how bad you want to win, to get to the top step. So how are you feeling on that front? Is this a building thing? Are you just taking it year by year and you're blessed to get where you are? Is that something that you're really chomping, trying to get that tree knocked down?
LU HARRIS CHAMPER: That's the ultimate goal and that's every year, we talk about that's what we are here for is to compete for a National Championship and to fight for Georgia. I believe this that team has the potential to do that.
We control our destiny and we control our mindset and we control our ability to compete in the moment, and we will continue to grow and compete for that.
Q. Just as far as what your teams take from these World Series appearances, you've had a few in the last four or five years. How valuable is it to have been on this stage?
LU HARRIS CHAMPER: I think it's unbelievable. It's an awesome experience and it's only going to motivate the girls to go work harder, to continue to grow their mindset, to stay positive and to focus on what they want.
And most importantly, I think the true definition of chemistry this year; that it is something you fight for; it's something you cherish and it's something you keep no matter what. And I'm so proud of the team for their ability to stay focused with great chemistry and to fight for and with each other, and I think that will take us very far in the future.
Thank you, and thanks for all you do for the sport. FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports