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Wednesday June 2, 2010Walton and Enea Attend Annual WCWS Press Conference

Oklahoma City, Okla.

2010 NCAA WOMEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

June 3 - June 9

ASA Hall of Fame Stadium

Oklahoma City, Okla.

 

Wednesday Press Conference Quotes

(Session 2)

 

FLORIDA HEAD COACH TIM WALTON

Opening comment:
“First of all, just want to say thanks to the NCAA, the Amateur Softball Association and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association.  It’s great to be back.  It’s a great venue, it’s just a really good overall experience for all of our student-athletes to be here.  They’ve worked so hard to get here their whole lives and have seen this on television.  To actually have this come true for not only our seniors, juniors and sophomores, but also our seven freshmen. Thanks to everybody and we look forward to some great competition.”

 

On returning to the College World Series, which is just 25 minutes from the University of Oklahoma, where he played baseball and was an assistant softball coach:
“It’s a great feeling.  I was thinking that in the 29 years of the Women’s College World Series, I’ve been able to experience six of them now.  It’s really good.  Our first year here was very different.  The first game it was difficult to adjust to everything that was going on.  You live and learn.  Sometimes you just come in and you just do it and you adjust as you go.  It’s been fun.  Obviously, Oklahoma has been home away from home for me for a long time.  Being able to win a couple national championships here in the state has been very rewarding.  I’m optimistic.  Just coming back here and looking at what we get to do and seeing UCLA and the number of times they have been here and Arizona and the number of times they have been here.  Now new faces like Hawai’i and what they’ve been able to bring to the sport and the notoriety and the fun, excitement and passion they play with -- it’s neat.  The game has grown so much.  Obviously a lot of it is because of television, but I think it’s a lot because people love what they see on the field.  They see these young kids go out there and fight really hard and play really well.  It’s very meaningful for me on a very personal level.  It’s a lot of fun.”

 

On the advantages of playing in three straight World Series:
“I look at it from a different perspective.  I thought long and hard about changing the hotel and finding a new place to go play.  I look at it from a different angle, that the last time we played on this field we lost.  It’s exciting but in the same sense you have to have that short-term memory.  You have to be able to put things away and let those memories get out of your sights.  I think one of the advantages is that you know how the field plays.  I know it played very hard last year, I know the sun in right field is brutal.  We’ve been practicing, turning the outfielders around and throwing balls up in the sun and we just tell them ‘you have to find a way to find the ball because, to be honest with you, at the College World Series, this is how it is.’ As soon as you say ‘College World Series’ it seems like the players buy into that a little bit differently.”

FLORIDA SENIOR OUTFIELDER FRANCESCA ENEA

On playing in her third World Series:
“It’s very special.  I remember watching my older sister (Christina) play (for Oklahoma) and going to the World Series.  Watching her on TV, I thought it was so cool that she can go and play there and I hoped that one day I would have the opportunity to be there.  The first time was just unreal and being able to come back is just so surreal.  It’s really an amazing feeling to know that I get to come here.”

 

HAWAI’I HEAD COACH BOB COOLEN

Opening comment:
“Aloha, everyone. This is our first time here and we are really excited.  We want to thank everyone for the process along the way.  We’ve been on the road for 23 days -- this is our 23rd day right now -- and we are loving every moment of it.  Once we got done with finals, the young ladies pretty much settled down and have been professional softball players ever since.  We’re excited and looking forward to our first competition here at the Women’s College World Series.”

 

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On the team’s focus at the College World Series:
“We experienced a little bit of a bigger crowd than we are used to at Alabama, a very fanatical crowd at Alabama.  We went from a very small amount of people at the WAC tournament, to a bigger group at Stanford to a very fan-oriented place at Alabama.  Here, it was the dream of a lot of these young ladies to walk out on that field and play.  They’ve practiced now and I don’t think we’re going to have any problem focusing.  We’ve been on the road, we’ve been in the same routine that we have been for the last three-and-a-half weeks.  We haven’t broken routine in regards to our lift days and our practice days.  Everyone has been very cordial in letting us practice at facilities that we never dreamed that we would practice at.  It’s been very eye-opening for the players to see the different stadiums and different locker rooms.  They’re getting a lot of information as to what they would like to see done at our place and back home.  Right now, I think they’re just taking in the moment.”


On if the weather will have an effect on the team:

“In Hawai’i, we have the humidity.  That’s something we play in all the time.  We have about 80 percent to 95 percent humidity all the time so we’re used to playing in this type of weather.  The high heat is not something we experience because of the trade winds.  The weather stays constant between 80, 85, and 88 degrees year round.  It might get down to a wind-chill factor of the high 60’s at night.  But we’re used to this weather.  The humidity is something that we’ve played in since we’ve been on the road.”

 

HAWAI’I FRESHMAN OUTFIELDER KELLY MAJAM

On fighting distraction during their first trip to the College World Series:

“We definitely need to stay focused.  A lot of our team has been star-struck, just walking into the stadium and thinking about how many people are going to fill up the stands.  Getting this much media attention is definitely really awesome and really cool but we need to stay focused.  We do have softball games that we are going to have to play and hopefully get to win.  We just need to stay within ourselves, not try to do too much, not try to show too much and just stay within Hawai’i ball and play our game.”

 

On if upsetting Alabama gave them confidence heading into the World Series:

“We got a lot of experience playing in front of a humongous crowd.  They were all against us.  It definitely shows that we do have heart and we can pull together as a team.  We are playing a lot of good teams while we are here and we just need to stay focused and play the way that we have.  This year we have tried to focus on what jersey we are putting on and not what team is in the other dugout.  That’s been our mentality the whole season, so we are going to stay that way while we are here.”

 

MISSOURI HEAD COACH EHREN EARLEYWINE

Opening comment:

“About two months ago, most people counted all my girls out, didn’t think we had much of a chance.  And they hung in there.  They just continually quietly kept winning games.  I’m very proud of them for their resolve and not giving up this year.  I’m looking forward to a great week here and have a lot of respect for all the teams in the tournament, and looking forward to competing.”

 

On the difference coming in this year versus last year:

“Last year we never had our feet under us.  After coming back from California and heading straight out here, it was too much of a whirlwind for us.  All the ESPN attention and all the bells and whistles that go along with the College World Series were so distracting that we forgot we had to  play a softball game.  So this year it’s been a process of trying to slow everything down and to continue to remember that no matter what we go through on a day-by-day basis here that we have a softball game on Thursday at 12 o’clock against a very good Hawai’i team.  And that’s the focus for us right now in front of everything else that goes on.”

 

On playing a home-run-hitting Hawai’i team:

“Well you are certainly trying to shut down their strength, which is their home-run power and there’s not a blanket statement that you can put on your entire lineup that says this is how we’re going to shut it down. It’s a player-by-player thing that we’re going to need to find a way to try to get each hitter out.  Every one of their hitters has different strengths and different weaknesses.  Preparation for us hasn’t changed.  It’s the same way it would be if we played anybody in the Big 12 during our regular season.  Again, it’s just an

individual thing about how we get each hitter out.  But yeah, they’re a home-run-hitting team.  Kind of like

 

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in baseball, if you keep the Phillies or the Yankees in the park, you’ve got a chance to beat them. I think that it’s a slight advantage in the fact that the fences have been moved back and raised.  And hopefully the wind will be blowing in.”

 

MISSOURI SENIOR PITCHER JANA HAINEY

On the difference coming in this year versus last year:

“We’re honored to be here, but right now it’s not about taking all this in front of media and all the stuff that comes with the College World Series.  It’s about winning games and taking it one at a time.”

 

UCLA HEAD COACH KELLY INOUYE-PEREZ

Opening comment:
“I’d just like to congratulate all these teams, as well. You know, we’ve been part of this for awhile.  The road to get here -- much respect, a lot hard work, a lot of teamwork, a lot of experience to be able to get to the point where you can be at your best when you need to be at your best.  This week will be a great week of softball, I look forward to it.  For us, we’re just playing our game and loving that we’re here being able to represent the school and doing everything we can to play our game.  So thank you for having us back.”

On how the game has changed since she played:

“This sport has grown, the facilities have improved.  The coaching has definitely improved across the board.  I think the student-athletes’ commitment to excellence across the board is outstanding.  There’s so much that has grown in the sport and I credit a lot of people who have walked before us -- people like Dot Richardson and Sharron Backus and Sue Enquist.  And not just Bruins.  There are so many pioneers in our sport that have been able to develop this game.  So I’m very proud of where we’ve come from.  

 

“When you get to this point, you’ve just got to fight.  As (Florida coach) Tim (Walton) was saying, there’s an excitement out there, to be able to see this sport played.  It’s a different sport than I played back in the day with a white ball.  The ball can leave the park at any time.  The pitchers have to be mentally tough.  It comes down to defense still.  Can you play catch?  But ultimately, the commitment level across the board -- there are some great things that are happening to the sport.  I think it’s going to be a great week of softball.”

 

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