NCAA WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
May 30-June 5, 2013
ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Championship Series Game 1: Oklahoma 5, Tennessee 3 (11 Innings)
- In the first game of the 2013 WCWS championship series, top-seeded Oklahoma (56-4) defeated No. 7 seed Tennessee (52-11), 5-3, in 12 innings to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
- The 12-inning contest marked the longest WCWS championship game or championship series game since 1984 when UCLA beat Texas A&M, 1-0, in 13 innings to win the title.
- The win for Oklahoma was its first against Tennessee in four tries. The teams last met in 2010, with the Lady Vols taking a 4-2 victory.
- Oklahoma improved to 2-0 in extra-inning games this year, while Tennessee fell to 2-3.
- The contest was the longest in OU postseason history and the longest game in UT program history.
- The Sooners won the game on a two-run walk off home run by sophomore Lauren Chamberlain in the 12th inning. It was her 30th home run of the season, making her the second player in NCAA history to reach that plateau twice (she hit 30 last year also). Chamberlain, who also doubled in the third inning, has hit safely in 15 straight games, a career-long streak. She leads the 2013 WCWS with 18 total bases (in just four games), which is seven more than the next highest total. She has three homers in this year’s WCWS.
- The game was scoreless through 10 innings before Tennessee junior Madison Shipman sent a three-run home run over the centerfield fence in the top of the 11th inning. It was her 11th homer of the season and her first since May 19 against N.C. State.
- In the bottom of the 11th inning, junior Brittany Williams doubled with one out to score OU senior Keilani Ricketts from second base. Junior Destinee Martinez added a two-out RBI-triple, cutting the deficit to 3-2. The triple was the third for the Sooners in the WCWS after entering the tournament with just one on the season. Callie Parsons, the next batter, plated Williams with an RBI-double to tie the game.
- The Sooners have fallen behind three times in four WCWS games. Each time have responded with at least three runs in the next half inning and never trailed again.
- OU is now 54-0 this season when scoring three or more runs in a game.
- Both pitchers (Tennessee junior Ellen Renfroe and Ricketts) pitched complete games, marking career-long outings for each of them.
- Ricketts allowed five hits and six walks. With 13 strikeouts, she recorded her 16th double-digit strikeout performance of the year and her third in this year’s WCWS.
- Renfroe gave up 10 hits and walked three batters while striking out 13.
- Tonight’s attendance of 8,300 set a Session 7 record and brought this year’s total to 62,156 (average of 8,879), which is ahead of last year’s then-record 60,761 through the same number of sessions (average of 8,680).
- Game 2 of the WCWS championship series is slated for Tuesday, with an if-necessary Game 3 scheduled for Wednesday. Both are slated for 7 p.m. CT starts and will air on ESPN.
OKLAHOMA COACH PATTY GASSO
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Oklahoma’s head coach Patty Gasso and student‑athletes Lauren Chamberlain, Destinee Martinez, Keilani Ricketts, Brianna Turang, and Brittany Williams. We’ll start with an opening comment from Coach and go to the floor with questions.
COACH GASSO: I don’t even know what to say, except I think that was the greatest game I’ve ever been a part of. I think both teams just battled and both pitchers were exceptional, defense, exceptional. Pitchers were owning it. You know, Tennessee put some things together, but the resiliency of this team and the fight, and them following instructions of just find your way on, don’t try to be the big hero. Just find your way on, find your way on, and here we go again from your 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, back to Lauren. It was phenomenal how we ended up tying that game with just some clutch hits, and it all came in one inning, so sometimes that’s all you need.
I really don’t even know what to say. That was one of the most amazing comebacks I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine. I mean, it’s nervous on the field, I can’t imagine how people felt watching it. But this is a team on a mission, and, man, I’ve never seen anything like it.
Q. Keilani, 188 pitches, can you describe what you were going through mentally as your team struggled to get a run, but you’re coming back out every inning knowing you have to get a zero on the board, and you just kept going out there?
KEILANI RICKETTS: Well, Ellen did a great job battling our hitters. And we struggled off her the entire game until the end, but I was just trying to get my team in there, because I knew they were going to come around. Even if we hadn’t come around in the first 10 innings, or 11 – I don’t know how many we went — I just believed in them, and that’s what we had to do if we wanted to put ourselves in the best chance to succeed.
Q. Lauren, what was your approach going into the last at‑bat? Was it base open, and are you surprised they didn’t walk you there? What was your mindset going into that at‑bat?
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: I knew Ellen had success with me in the past few at‑bats before that. I was just trying to make an adjustment, clear my hands a little bit. I felt like I was missing the whole game, so I felt due.
But at the same time, I’m so proud of my team. I can’t even talk about myself right now, I’m just so proud of my team.
Q. Lauren, Patty said it was nerve‑racking. Can you talk about what it was like being on the field throughout that whole thing?
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: I think it was nerve‑racking and the nerves were there because this is the championship series. It’s supposed to be a game like that. I was just ‑‑ we were honestly just trusting our training. Glory to God for giving us patience and trust knowing that it was going to fall and knowing that Keilani was going to keep working her hardest for us on the mound as well.
Q. Lauren, can you describe that trip around the bases? What it was like at the end?
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: On my way to first, I was watching to see if it was foul or fair, andI was like praying that it was fair. As soon as I saw it was fair and just seeing the crowds reaction and my teammates going nuts at home, I really couldn’t believe it. It was awesome.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the 11th inning where you all came back and scored the three runs on four multi‑base hits?
COACH GASSO: I don’t think I can. I don’t even remember where it started. I think we just looked at each other and looked at these guys and said just find your way on. That was just the whole motto the whole way. Talking to each one of these guys up here, ‘find your way on, get yourself on, find your way on.’ That’s all we talked about – find your way on. There is a runner at third base and I’m saying ‘don’t worry about the RBI, find your way on. If you’re going to find your way on, you’re probably going to get an RBI.’ But they didn’t care about that. It was just be selfless and find your way on, find your way on.
The one thing I’ll always remember is Callie Parsons running around second. I could have just put my hands behind my back because she was going the whole way no matter what. She was absolutely rung up at third base. But adrenaline was flying. I don’t know. I have to go back and watch this, because I think we’re still in disbelief somewhat.
But the fight that these guys had, and Keilani and looking at Ellen and Keilani’s numbers and they’re almost identical throughout their line. The amount of pitches they threw, the strikeouts were the same. It was such a match‑up for the ages. I thought, again, it’s the best game I’ve ever been a part of. To be on this side and to see how this all transpired is something that right now I can’t remember, but I will never forget. If that makes sense.
Q. Destinee, you were down to your last strike. Will you take us through what was going through your mind during that at‑bat and on that last hit?
DESTINEE MARTINEZ: My previous at‑bat she had struck me out on a changeup, so I kind of was telling myself to sit late because I knew that could be one of her next pitches. But I just stayed confident in myself, and I knew that it had to be a selfless at‑bat. Like Coach said, she did tell me that it wasn’t about the RBI. It was about getting myself on and handing the bat down the lineup.
So I think just staying confident, and knowing that even if there are two strikes, I can get the job done.
Q. Brianna, can you just talk about how this sort of fits into this season of magic you guys have had? All these wins, all this dominance, how does tonight fit into all of that for you?
BRIANNA TURANG: I think this whole season we’ve been consistently fighting. That is our big thing. I think as we were going into those last few innings, that’s all we could do. Keilani was pitching a great game, and I guess even when I was up I was like we’ve got to do it for her. I mean, she’s pitching so well. She’s helped us out so much throughout this season. I think with our lineup it’s about who is going to do it, and there is no question with us.
Q. Brittany, can you talk about this team, you’re always trying to pass the bat to the next hitter, especially when you come up and you’re down in that game and you guys are coming along, and you had a big hit late in the game as well. Can you talk about how that motto held strong for you in this game?
BRITTANY WILLIAMS: When I went up to bat, I wasn’t trying to press or anything, because I trusted my teammates behind me that if it didn’t go my way, they could pick me up right away. I mean, everyone can hit in this lineup, so I trust everyone behind me.
Q. Lauren and Brianna, and anyone else that wants to jump in, what did Ellen have tonight that kept her so consistently good, and what was it that baffled in the beginning?
LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN: She was really spinning the ball. I think it was kind of different where we were in the box. It just kind of threw us off a little bit for the first couple at‑bats and just trying to stay short on her spins.
BRIANNA TURANG: She definitely had spins. There were some pitches that looked like they were going to rise and they didn’t. They ended up being right there. And her rise ball was awesome. I mean, that thing is so hard to lay off of. But I think she had a really good mix and really good speed differences. So I think it made it tough because you didn’t really know what was coming next.
Q. Keilani, are you ready to throw tomorrow?
KEILANI RICKETTS: Of course. Of course. It’s a championship, why wouldn’t I?
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TENNESSEE COACH RALPH WEEKLY
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Tennessee co‑head coach Ralph Weekly and student‑athletes Raven Chavanne, Ellen Renfroe, and Madison Shipman. We’ll start with Coach and go to the floor with questions.
COACH WEEKLY: Okay, that was a great fast pitch softball game between two great teams who played their hearts out. The pitching performance out of both Keilani and Ellen was unbelievable. Both of them just pitched phenomenal games. I think there were only four hits total going into the ninth inning.
We just have to congratulate Oklahoma in a situation like this. You’ve just got to congratulate them. I just told our kids that this is not over yet. In 2007 we won the opening game and lost the series, and we’re still very much alive. We’re facing a very, very good opponent, but we’re ready to move on to tomorrow.
Q. Ellen, I’ve just never seen you pitch as well as you did tonight. You were just unbelievable. So how is it going to be mentally to have to come back and maybe throw again tomorrow? I know Ivy’s available, but how do you get over this quickly and still be strong tomorrow?
ELLEN RENFROE: Karen and Ralph talked to us in our postgame meeting how you just have to move on. Things are going to happen. You’re going to get knocked down. It’s just one of those sayings and in our pre‑game videos that we’ve seen. You can get knocked down, but it’s about how you react and how you bounce back. So we’re going to come out fighting again tomorrow.
Q. Raven, Madison, what is the emotion right now going from when you hit that home run to where it is now?
MADISON SHIPMAN: Obviously nobody likes to lose, so it’s a rough loss. It was a long game. It was a battle between both teams, and like we’ve been doing all season, we try to learn from our losses and try to grow from it. It’s a quick turnaround, so you can’t dwell on it. We’re just going to come out ready tomorrow.
RAVEN CHAVANNE: Just flush it. It’s in the past. There is no sense on dwelling on the loss or at‑bats, stuff on defense, it’s over and done with. Just learn from it, watch some film and learn from some mistakes. But tomorrow’s a brand‑new day and anything can happen.
Q. Ellen, how do you feel physically? You had a large, pretty high pitch count. How you feeling?
ELLEN RENFROE: I think more than anything it’s just emotionally. There is no break in the Oklahoma lineup. Every single pitch, it’s all you’ve got. If you don’t give everything, then it’s going to get hit out, something bad is going to happen.
So I think more than anything it’s just emotionally draining. Physically, we’ve trained for this all year. Our coaches have done a good job of getting us in shape for this. And we all know mentally that we’re strong enough to get through however many innings we played. How many was it? Twelve innings? I lost count.
I think more than anything it’s just getting ready mentally to, like we were saying, flush it and come back ready tomorrow.
Q. Raven and Ralph, what did you see tonight as a lefty against Keilani, and what do you have to do a little better in Game 2?
RAVEN CHAVANNE: I think just not getting behind in the count. I felt like when our lefties attacked early we made solid contact, myself included. Then when we got behind we struggled a little bit, and that was on me as the leadoff batter. So it’s going up there with the new mindset tomorrow, look at some things on film with slapping. Like I said, there is no sense on dwelling on it. We’ve just got to go out there with a new game plan. She’s a great pitcher, so nothing against her, but we’ve got to do better as a whole.
COACH WEEKLY: We had a plan against her as lefties because, as you know, it’s harder for lefties to hit against her than it is righties. And we pretty much stuck to the plan. She just was probably the best I’ve seen her tonight too. I was with her last summer with the USA softball, and I’ve seen her a lot. One thing she was doing was really hitting the inside pitch, and from where I saw it.
Again, I guess when you get to this level your players are all going to be pretty good. They have an amazing lineup, and I think we have a pretty darn good lineup too. I don’t know why it happened. I’m not sure. I made the decision, and I’m sure I would be asked about that, and I haven’t yet ‑‑ why I didn’t go to Ivy in the last inning, and I sent her down to get a few more pitches. But the fact of the matter is I really felt good about Ellen. And Ellen said, ‘Coach, I feel good.’ And it was a pretty tough situation to put Ivy into right there. Then, bang‑bang it was over. Just two great hits by two great athletes.
I love my kids, and I just told them that in the locker room. ‘I love you guys, and I know you fought so hard for so long. We would have loved to have had that.’ But, again, there are a lot of times that the opening game has been lost and the series has not been lost. We’re going to come back and fight as hard as we can tomorrow night.
Q. Maybe you just answered this, Ralph, when you said bang‑bang. It was just a sudden 1, 2 that won the game. But was there any consideration of walking Chamberlain with a base open?
COACH WEEKLY: We had walked I think three or four people, and we did consider it, obviously. When she came up, we did consider it. We felt like we could get her out, but obviously we were wrong. We felt like where we had been going most of the night, and it hadn’t been the same way every time, but she’s just a great player. No question, just a great player. If there was, it’s my fault we didn’t walk her.
Q. I was just wondering, for any of you, have you seen a greater 1, 2 punch throughout your season than the Turang‑Chamberlain combination?
RAVEN CHAVANNE: Obviously, having players as talented as Turang in the number nine spot, you don’t see that that often. Then having someone who is probably second or first in the NCAA in home runs as your leadoff batter, you don’t see that often. So, yeah, it’s a great 1, 2 punch, but you’ve got to go after them tomorrow and see what happens.
ELLEN RENFROE: I mean, Oklahoma’s here for a reason, because they have such a great lineup, so got to give credit to them for battling tonight. I don’t know if I’ve seen a better 1, 2 punch than them. Lauren Chamberlain is the best for a reason.
MADISON SHIPMAN: I agree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better 1-2 punch other than them either. No, they’re both great. Like Ellen said earlier, you don’t get a break throughout their lineup. It’s like once you get past one, it’s like, ‘Okay, here comes another one.’
Q. As hitters, what is the positive of reaching Keilani later in the game? And particularly you, Madison, to carry with you into tomorrow’s preparation, if you do see her again?
MADISON SHIPMAN: Yeah, we obviously didn’t start off too great, but we kept trying to learn and make adjustments and make adjustments. That gives us confidence going into tomorrow’s game that we can hit her. That helps us out a lot especially since we were struggling a little bit in the beginning but brought it back in the end.
Q. Ralph, is there an advantage you have in that you have two really good pitchers? I know you’re facing a great pitcher and National Player of the Year who maybe could pitch every day, but is there any advantage to having two good pitchers?
COACH WEEKLY: No, Mike, I don’t think there is, because they have two pitchers that were finalists in the top 50 in the country. So they’ve gota really good number two too. I think Ivy is very good, and I think it’s Michelle, I think, and she’s very good too. So I don’t think there is an advantage there.
I think for us, the key for us — and we’ll spend all night if we have to — is to figure out how to do better at the plate. I think that is the key for us. I’m sure Patty is doing the same thing because for a while, a long while, both teams struggled a little bit at the plate. So I think the key tomorrow will be offense. I think whoever finds the offense is going to be the most successful.
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