6-4=2013 Championship Notes

NCAA WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

May 30-June 5, 2013

ASA Hall of Fame Stadium

Oklahoma City, Okla.

POSTGAME NOTES


Championship Series Game 2: Oklahoma 4, Tennessee 0

 

  • Top-seeded Oklahoma (57-4) defeated No. 7 seed Tennessee (52-12), 4-0, in Game 2 of the 2013 Women’s College World Series championship series to win its second national title.

 

  • Oklahoma joins Arizona (8), Arizona State (2), Texas A&M (2) and UCLA (11) as Division I softball teams to win multiple NCAA titles. The Sooners beat UCLA in the 2000 national title game.

 

  • Oklahoma finished the year with a .334 batting average and a 1.16 ERA, becoming the first team in Division I history to rank No. 1 in both categories at the end of a season.

 

  • The Sooners’ .934 winning percentage is the fifth-best in NCAA history behind 1992 UCLA (.964), 1994 Arizona (.955), 1998 Arizona (.944) and 2001 Arizona (.942).

 

  • OU finished 5-0 in the WCWS and won its final 13 games of the season. The Sooners outscored their WCWS opponents 32-8 and outscored their NCAA postseason foes 91-16.

 

  • The Sooners outscored their opponents by 402 runs this season. The next highest Division I scoring differential belonged to Tennessee (+297).

 

  • Oklahoma set single-season school records in runs scored (476), runs batted in (443), slugging percentage (.582), fewest errors (34) and winning percentage (.934).

 

  • OU posted a perfect 55-0 record this season when scoring at least three runs.

 

  • The Sooners finished the WCWS with a .299 batting average. Nebraska ranked No. 2 at .238. Similarly, OU’s 1.11 ERA was significantly better than Tennessee’s 2.15, which was second best. The Sooners also paced the eight-team field with a .982 fielding percentage.

 

  • Oklahoma senior Keilani Ricketts, who was named WCWS Most Outstanding Player, drove in all four of OU’s runs. She sent a three-run home run to right field in the third inning, her 15th of the season and the 50th of her career. Ricketts drove in another run in the seventh inning on a groundout for her 60th RBI of the season.

 

  • OU’s Lauren Chamberlain singled in the third inning to extend her career-long hitting streak to 16 games. Chamberlain also hit a triple in the seventh inning. She finished the game 2-for-2 with two runs and walked twice. She led the WCWS with 22 total bases in her five games (Ricketts finished second with 15 and nobody else on any squad had more than nine).

 

  • Oklahoma senior pitcher Michelle Gascoigne improved to 19-3 on the season and posted a nation-best 0.88 ERA. Tonight, she gave up just three hits and struck out 12 in the complete game effort. It was the sixth time this season Gascoigne did not walk a batter.

 

  • Tennessee senior pitcher Ivy Renfroe (22-5) faced 12 batters in 2.1 innings of work as the starter. She allowed three runs (all earned) on three hits while walking two batters and striking out two.

 

  • Lady Vols junior Ellen Renfroe pitched 4.2 innings in relief, allowing one run on four hits while striking out five.

 

  • Tonight’s attendance of 8,527 set a Session 8 record and brought this year’s total to 70,683. The average attendance of 8,835 set a WCWS record, breaking last year’s standard of 8,440 per session.

 

Oklahoma – 4

Tennessee – 0

 

An interview with:

OKLAHOMA HEAD COACH PATTY GASSO

KEILANI RICKETTS

LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN

JESSICA SHULTS

MICHELLE GASCOIGNE

BRIANNA TURANG

 

THE MODERATOR:  We are now joined by Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso and student‑athletes Lauren Chamberlain, Michelle Gascoigne, Keilani Ricketts, Jessica Shults, and Brianna Turang.  We’ll start with Coach and go to the floor for questions.

COACH GASSO:  I need you guys to be patient with me, because I need to say some things, and normally I’m pretty short with this, but I will tell you why this happened.  One year ago we watched another team celebrate right in front of us, and we, as a team prayed together and thanked God for the opportunity to be in a National Championship and knew that this was something that we needed to learn from.

When that last out was recorded, all of a sudden the Sooners were supposed to be the team to beat.  It’s very difficult to live that way.  But this team is resilient, and we followed God’s lead.  We followed it.  We followed the path, and it was windy at times, but we never stepped off; and we just did it together.  I cannot express to you how proud I am.  We absolutely give God the glory in this victory.

I’d like to thank the All Sports Association, the University of Oklahoma, the great University of Oklahoma, all the workers at the Hall of Fame Stadium, all of the volunteers, the NCAA, for putting on a wonderful show.  We were very, very pleased to represent the University of Oklahoma as well as the state of Oklahoma.

You’ve heard a lot about it this week, and that is who we were representing, not the phrases more than, more than ourselves.  We had a lot of people we wanted to give pride to, make happy and just forget about things that have been going on in the last three weeks or so.

I cannot tell you how honored I am to be the coach of this team because they’re just special, and they know how to win; and they fought, and they were never afraid.  They bowed up when they needed to together, and they’re just a tremendous group of athletes that I love to work with every day.

I told them, if I had a million dollars, I would buy this for you, but I don’t have a million dollars so I’m glad that we won it instead.  Just couldn’t be more pleased.  Seeing these seniors go out this way is something that I’ll cherish forever.

 

Q.  Patty, can you talk about your decision to go with Michelle today and the adjustments you made in the lineup?  It seemed that every move you made really worked out and the team responded to it.

COACH GASSO:  Well, I know Coach Lombardi got together with Keilani and Michelle, and we talked a little about what we were going to do today.  And Keilani was right on.  Let’s do it.  Michelle’s ready and I’m ready for her if she needs me.  Just like Michelle has been ready for me if I needed her.  It was also pretty coincidental that Keilani hit the home run to allow Michelle a little bit of breathing room.

So these two seniors, along with Shults and Turang, what a tremendous, tremendous group from the moment they stepped on campus.  All I know is we had to find a way to win them a National Championship, and man, what a special group.  That’s really come down to really wanting to make sure that these guys were with us on the page.  We all thought alike about it and said, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’

 

Q.  Keilani, can you talk about how strange it was not to be out there?  You’ve pitched every big game for the last two years.  Was it a strange feeling, and how much was that helped by the fact that Michelle never got in any trouble?  From a pitching standpoint, it was a breeze?

KEILANI RICKETTS:  It wasn’t too much of a strange feeling because Michelle’s had tremendous success all year long.  She’s taken on some great teams and we wouldn’t be in this game without her.  Just to be able to help her out means a lot because she’s been a great teammate for us.  She’s really just been a leader for us.  To just get her some support, it’s awesome to give her any more momentum she needs.

 

Q.  You’ve got arguably the best two‑way player in maybe the last decade, and the decision maybe your conviction to go with Michelle instead of her in this big game setting?  I know you said, Keilani said she’s a great teammate and put up fantastic numbers, but to not go with Keilani?

COACH GASSO:  Well, Keilani threw 188 pitches last night, and that had a lot to do with it as well.  But Michelle has been such a huge part of getting our team to this point.  To give her this opportunity was a big moment for her, and what I love is that Keilani was right there with it saying, ‘Yeah, go ahead.  Let’s do this and to share the moment together.’

Keilani has had a ton of big moments, and the fact that she was wanting to share this with Michelle, I think probably helped Michelle get on the mound and say, I’ve got this.  Let me do this for us.  And, man, what a phenomenal game that Michelle threw who has not thrown in any of the postseason.  Couldn’t be on a bigger stage.  Michelle stood on the mound and won a National Championship.

 

Q.  Michelle, can you talk about this game?  I mean, you haven’t started a game since May 11th, and then she throws you into game 2 for the national title.  Were you freaked out?  What were your thoughts leading up to all of that?

MICHELLE GASCOIGNE:  I only found out about three hours before the game, but I was excited.  After Coach Lombardi told me, we had to watch film, the pitchers, and adjust.  Just with knowing that Keilani was all for it and she was supporting me and she was going to be in the bullpen if I needed her just brought me all the confidence in the world.  I know my teammates trust me, and that is something that I’ve always taken out on the mound with me.  It’s really carried me through this whole season just knowing that they trust me and we’ve got each other’s back.

 

Q.  Michelle, your reward for throwing a shutout in the National Championship game was you were at the bottom of the dog pile.  What was that like?  I’m wondering if you were like, holy cow, I’m at the bottom of this thing or what?  Or were you not feeling anything?

MICHELLE GASCOIGNE:  It was pretty unreal.  It was really exciting to be on the bottom.  It’s just like something you dream about your whole life, and we’ve never dog piled before, because we’ve always just been waiting for this moment.  And we said we’re not doing it until we get the whole thing.  It was pretty cool being down there.  I think my arm had the circulation being cut off, but I did not care.  I did not care.

 

Q.  Jessica, last year, a year ago, you were such a team leader when you came in and spoke for the team and said, hey, we’ll work hard over the off‑season and get back in here.  Now a year later you’re the national champions.  Can you talk about your emotions and what you think about this whole process a year later now that you’re holding the trophy?

JESSICA SHULTS:  It’s just like Michelle said, it’s unreal that we’re here.  But I feel like last year really gave us the determination to get back in this moment and get back with this team.  We all believed in each other.  We all worked so hard all year long.  We knew it was going to be a day by day thing.  Not to take anything for granted, just work together and trust in what we have and trust what our coaches have been telling us all along will work.

 

Q.  Coach and some of the underclassmen, could you talk about how the senior leadership has affected both the underclass and gotten you here specifically with Keilani and Jessica?

COACH GASSO:  Well, I think Keilani is a natural leader by her ability on the mound and her intenseness and what she does there; everybody seems to follow her lead.  Jessica Shults has beenour captain for the last two years, and she has got quite an infectious personality that just makes you want to play around her and be better.

So the fact that Jessica Shults is holding a National Championship trophy will always be something that I cherish, because I didn’t know that she was going to play again.  So they’ve been special.

LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN:  This class had a big part of the reason why I chose to go to the University of Oklahoma, and I thank them for that.  You guys are so awesome.  You really changed the face of this program, and you’ve made me proud to keep playing here.  I’m going to hold it down for you.  I love you guys.

 

Q.  For the four of you, can you each give a statement on what it means to go out as a senior with a National Championship?

MICHELLE GASCOIGNE:  It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.  It really hasn’t sunk in yet, but us four have been so strong and so close for four years and we’ve gone through everything together.  And I said before the game, first pitch to the last, let’s do this.  So it’s everything I could ask for.

KEILANI RICKETTS:  It means the world to be able to have that National Championship for our senior year.  Because we’ve had a lot of high points throughout our careers, but this is definitely the highest.  I think we’ve built our way up to this point.  Just to see these three girls have a tremendous year so far and for their senior year to go out so strong is awesome.

JESSICA SHULTS:  This is what you dream about your entire life.  I wouldn’t want to do it with any other seniors by my side.  We came in here like a goof ball bunch and now we’ve matured and we’re leaving as women, as Coach would want it.

BRIANNA TURANG:  It’s amazing.  Like Jessica said, I wouldn’t choose another group to play with.  We’ve been so close, and we’ve gone through so much together.  It’s been a blast to get to play with them.  I mean, this whole team has the biggest heart, the most strength, and the most fight in any team that I’ve ever played for.  It’s amazing to be able to play with these girls.

 

Q.  Lauren, how surprised were you to see something to hit today, especially after last night and even throughout this series?

LAUREN CHAMBERLAIN:  I don’t really think about that too much.  If they’re going to pitch to me, I’m ready to hit.  I was excited when I was seeing the ball in the zone, so, yeah, I was happy.

 

Q.  You’ve seen a lot of great, great players over the years, over the decades.  Where does Keilani fit?  Where does she rank?  I know how coaches love to compare players, but she’s one of the greats, isn’t she, of all time?

COACH GASSO:  Oh, absolutely.  I can’t compare her to anybody.  Being able to work with her every day makes me know her a little bit more as well.  So, to me, she is definitely one of the greatest of all time in this sport.  And you know what?  This kid has been living with that for a while, and it’s been wearing on her.  I think you can now say you are.

 

Q.  Keilani and Brianna, could you both talk about ‑‑ Patty talked about sort of the weight you felt after last season going into this season knowing you were the favorite and you needed to win and make up for last year, that kind of thing.  Can you talk about a whole year of carrying that responsibility and how it affected you particularly in this tournament and what it feels like that you did fulfill the expectations?

KEILANI RICKETTS:  After last year’s national championship game, it definitely gave us one of the most painful feelings I’m sure all of us have ever felt.  We just accepted the fact that God didn’t want us to win it that year.  It wasn’t our time.  That just gave us so much drive and determination to get back to this moment.  We knew that we were the favorite all year, and it was cool just because we weren’t able to feel any of that pressure because we were able to go out there and have fun with each other.  Just the fact that our lineup has so much depth with the pitching and the hitting.  It makes it even more relaxing out there.  It’s easier to not press.

BRIANNA TURANG:  Just like Keilani said, I guess that’s probably the worst place you want to be, to make it that far to the national championship game and losing.  But we definitely used that to jump start for the season.  But we tried to not let that bother us, just keep moving forward and keep fighting, and keeping the faith.  It was a great journey, and I wouldn’t choose another team to do it with.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

An interview with:

TENNESSEE CO-HEAD COACH RALPH WEEKLY

ELLEN RENFROE

MADISON SHIPMAN

LAUREN GIBSON

 

THE MODERATOR:  We are now joined by Tennessee co‑head coach Ralph Weekly and student‑athletes Lauren Gibson, Ellen Renfroe, and Madison Shipman.  We’ll start with an opening comment from Coach and then go to the floor with questions.

COACH WEEKLY:  Okay, I’ve got several things to say, but I’ll keep it brief.  First of all, thank you to the NCAA.  Thanks to the committee, thanks for the ASA softball people.  The field was beautiful.  This is a place where every young girl wants to play, and it’s a beautiful place to play.  It’s a place of dreams.

I want to congratulate the University of Oklahoma.  They are amazing.  They’re an amazing team.  Okay?  I spent nine years with our National Team, and I think that Oklahoma team would have beaten most of the other countries that we played, even the great ones.  I don’t know if they would have beaten the U.S., but I tell you what, they’re a great team.

I think my team’s a great team.  I really do.  I think we earned our way here by tremendous super regional against a great Alabama team, and by beating some great teams to advance to the championship series.  We schemed last night and got ready and almost won in a great game.  Then we schemed all day to try to beat them again, and we gave it everything we had.  I mean, we left it on the field, and they just beat us.

 

Q.  You talked last night about how you were going to have to find some offense, and obviously, it didn’t happen.  I guess, could you talk about how them switching away from Ricketts might have impacted your plans for today?

COACH WEEKLY:  It definitely impacted our plans.  We knew it was a possibility, but we had never faced that pitcher.  We knew she was one of the top 10 finalists for Player of the Year, so we knew how good she was.  But it’s hard to find information on her.

So, you know, I mean, we tried.  I know it might have looked like we just weren’t hitting out there.  But I tell you, our kids were really trying.  We were making in‑game adjustments.  She just pitched a great game.

 

Q.  Lauren and Madison, can you just talk about what your emotions are this long process you’ve been through and the way it ended up tonight?

LAUREN GIBSON:  With it being my senior year, obviously, I mean, ending on that field is amazing.  But obviously I wanted to end with the National Championship.  But I have one of the most amazing years with a great group of girls.  I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year.  Yeah, I had a fun time.

MADISON SHIPMAN:  Oh, man, I told myself I wasn’t going to do this.  No, it’s just been a great year all around, and I’m really going to miss our seniors.  I think they played their hearts out.  It’s a tough loss out there, but Oklahoma’s a great team.  Looking forward to next year.

 

Q.  Coach, was there a reason why you thought to pull Ellen’s sister, Ivy, after two and a third after she gave up that big home run?

COACH WEEKLY:  No, I just felt like we wanted to try a change.  I think as Ivy told Karen, she wasn’t exactly hitting her spots, and, again, Ivy’s a great pitcher.  She pitched us into the 2010 and 2012 World Series and did well in both ofthem.  She just wasn’t hitting her spots; and when you don’t hit your spots against that kind of team, it’s going to be a long day.

 

Q.  Ellen, how did you feel tonight before the game and then when you came?

ELLEN RENFROE:  I felt confident coming into the game.  I knew we had a shot since we played them pretty close last night.  But obviously Oklahoma’s a great team.  Going out I was just trying to give my team a shot.  Keeping the game close, keeping Oklahoma at three runs or as close to it as possible.

Like I said, Oklahoma’s proven they’re a deep team.  They’re deep pitching‑wise and offensively, so props to them.

 

Q.  (No Microphone).

ELLEN RENFROE:  A little fatigued from yesterday, but nothing that’s out of the ordinary.

 

Q.  You lose some seniors, Lauren and others, you bring back a young team.  You have Ellen Renfroe; you have Madison Shipman and other people.  Where do you see yourself as you look forward to the SEC for 2014?

COACH WEEKLY:  I see ourselves as being very good.  We’re losing some great players, but we had six underclassmen on the field at the end of the game.  And we have a number two ranked class coming in.  We have some kids that didn’t get in the game tonight that are very good.  Obviously we’re going to miss these seniors.  They’re fantastic.

But I think when you get to a certain level, you’ve got to just be there every year.  You don’t reload; you just keep going.  You pick up the players to replace the players and try to get going.  Obviously freshmen are never as good as seniors, but I think we’ll have a good team next year.  I think we’ll be good.

 

Q.  Ralph, could you put into your thoughts about what this team accomplished?  I know you wanted to win a National Championship, that was a goal.  But just getting to where you did, did this team come pretty close to reaching the potential?

COACH WEEKLY:  Yes, we did.  We played in a very, very tough conference, and we had a lot of tough games and we finished .27 points out of the conference lead.  We finished, we won the regional, we won the super regional and we won our way into the championship playoffs.  This is a great team. We led the SEC in hitting, as I said last night, against SEC opponents.  We were number two in pitching, and this team can play with anybody, any time, except the last night or so.  This team, the team we played last night and (tonight), was just an unbelievable team.  The best we’ve seen all year, and I still think we were definitely in it last night; and if we had another chance, we might be in it tomorrow.  But congratulations to Oklahoma.  They won.

 

Q.  I wonder ‑‑ you’ve seen a lot of the greatest players over the last however many years, 20 years or so.  Where does Ricketts rank in the discussions of the greats of all time in the college game so far, number one?  Number five, top 10?

COACH WEEKLY:  Well, I couldn’t tell you exactly where, but she’s the two‑time National Player of the Year, so I think that puts her up there at the top.  I mean, no question.  You might want to ask the players.  But she’s very good, and she’s really a good person.  I mean, she plays hard, but she doesn’t taunt and carry on and things like that.  She’s just a really good person, and she deserves all the accolades she’s won.

 

Q.  Would any of the players like to weigh in on where you think Keilani comes in in softball history?

LAUREN GIBSON:  I definitely think ‑‑ I played with Keilani on the USA team, and I think she’s definitely up there in the top.  I know a fact for me, at least, her and Chelsea Thomas have been the two hardest pitchers for me to see as a hitter.  But I would definitely say she ranks up there in the Top 10, for sure.

 

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

 

 

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