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Gator Softball met with the media Thursday to discuss the 2014 campaign.

Thursday January 30, 2014Gators Preview Upcoming Season at Media Day

Gainesville, Fla.

Gator Softball met with the media Thursday to discuss the 2014 campaign.

Gator Softball hosted its preseason student-athlete media availability Thursday at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. Four players answered questions from reporters, and a transcript of select quotes can be found below. The first video above features interviews with pitchers Hannah Rogers and Delanie Gourley, while the second has the media sessions with Kelsey Stewart and Lauren Haeger.  

 

Hannah Rogers, Sr., RHP

On senior year and how everyone is feeling:

“Everyone is doing great. Everyone is feeling great. We’re all excited. We have a group text message, so everyone is pumped up about [the season] and sending each other motivational quotes. Everyone is just really excited about the season.”

 

On how freshman LHP Delanie Gourley can supplement the rest of the pitching staff:

“It’s awesome because our pitching staff is one of the best pitching staffs in the country. It’s going to be awesome to know that we all have each other’s back, and if someone is having a bad day, then the next pitcher can come in and help them out. It’s going to be great.”

 

On how left-handed pitchers change the game:

“I don’t really know from a hitter’s point of view. I know they say it’s harder for lefties to face each other. It’s also going to be better for us righties, because as a pitcher, it’s going to give the batters a totally different view from what Delanie has and then they’re going to have to come back and face a righty. It’s going to be a different eye for all of the batters.”

 

On exceeding expectations last season:

“It was awesome because you don’t have anything on your shoulders. You get to go out there, prove people wrong and do your thing. You just go about your business, instead of worrying about what people are saying about you. Our motive this year is not to worry too much about what people are saying about [us]. Go about your business and let your work show people what you can do.”

 

On staying fresh and maintaining momentum:

“We have a good training staff that make sure we’re taken care of and always make sure we get our treatments after games, during games or before games. It’s a great staff.”

 

On being named to the USA Softball Preseason Top 50 Watch List:

“It’s a good feeling, but I’m not really worried about it too much. I try not to think too much about those things, and just be there for my team.”

 

On playing with junior RHP/1B Lauren Haeger:

“It helps a lot, being able to know how to communicate with each other and help each other out in the bullpens. We talk to each other. If she’s having a bad day, I let her know we’re all there for her—and [she does] the same for me.”

 

Lauren Haeger, Jr., RHP/1B

On how fast the offseason has gone by:

“First of all, I can’t believe it’s starting back up again. The fall went by so fast. We usually count our fall in 6 a.m.’s [early morning practices], so we’re all like, “Oh, we have this many 6 a.m.’s left.” I can’t believe they’re over and the season is in a week. We’re all just super excited. I can’t believe I’m a junior. I can’t believe I’m an upperclassman. I think we’re all really excited and just want to keep it going.”

 

On exceeding expectations last season:

“It feels great. When I first saw at the beginning of the season [last year] what people thought about us, I was like, “Well, there are still people here. Things happened, but there are still people here who really care. I think we all came together at the right time last year. We’re all really close; there’s no drama. Everyone is fun to be around. I love being around these girls, and you have to, especially with all of the hours you put in with each other. I think with our chemistry and everything [from last year] it’s been carrying over to this year as well.”

 

On heightened expectations this season:

“I’m a junior, I’ve done this a couple times now and I can say that it’s really exciting. I think it’s more motivating and exciting than it is feeling pressure. I like pressure. That’s how I like to play and that’s how I like to perform. I think we’re all just really excited.”

 

On having Rogers as a teammate:

“Hannah is great. We’re both really good for each other. We know what to say each other, to coach each other up sometimes. I look to her for advice; she looks to me for advice. I think we feed off of each other really well. It’s really cool that this will now be our third season together. We know each other: we know when we’re on, when we’re off. I know what she needs; she knows what I need. I think it’s only going to be good, and it can only be better this year.”

 

On freshman LHP Delanie Gourley:

“I think Delanie is going to add a lot to our staff. I like having a lot of pitchers. I know as a hitter, if you switch pitchers up often, it’s really tough to adjust. I think it can only work to our advantage.”

 

On being named to the USA Softball Preseason Top 50 Watch List:

“It’s a really cool thing. It’s an honor even to be thought of in that way, but it’s not my priority. My priority is as a team; I want to win. You can’t win with one person or two people—Hannah or myself. I feel like, it’s cool, but I guess it’s just motivation to bring the team together so we can do well.”

 

On playing first base and pitching:

“I think it’s good because I get the pitcher mentality of it, and I get the hitter mentality of it. I think it works to my advantage most of the time. I think it’s good because I can read pitchers’ spins well and I can see movement because I do the same thing. I think it’s good for me; it’s just how I’ve been playing my game my whole life. I think it can only help.”

 

On the freshman class’ performance during offseason workouts:

“They did so well. It did help that the girls who came in are left-handed [slap-hitters], so they’re obviously going to be faster than me and half the girls on our team already. They worked really hard and totally bought into the system right away. They just wanted to start right away, and you could see in their attitudes that they listened to everyone and soaked in everything that was thrown their way. I think it really helped them in the long run.”

 

On her relationship with Head Coach Tim Walton:

“I think it’s been really good. We understand each other.  He understands my swing. He understands what I need in a time of crisis. He knows how to coach me. I think that can only help. I’m excited for this season and to hopefully get out of slumps quicker and make adjustments faster. I think that can happen this year.”

 

Kelsey Stewart, So., 2B

On why she had success during her freshman season:
“I think just working hard and not having expectations for myself. I think that helped a lot. This year, I’ve grown up. I have high expectations for this season, and I just need to make myself better.”

 

On how she can improve as a sophomore:
“I’ve been in the cages with the coaches so much this year. I need to work on being better at my weaknesses, and making my strengths even stronger.”

 

On what her weaknesses are:
“My soft game. I’m more of a power-slapper, so I hit it in front of people. That, and learning to place the ball better.”

 

On how the team proved critics wrong last year:
“When everyone doubted us, our team came together. It was awesome how close we were. We were like a family. It was just an awesome feeling to know we could prove anybody wrong who doubts us.”

 

On how a year of experience has made the infield better:
“We can just look at each other and communicate.  We don’t really have to talk to each other to get our point across. We know each other’s moves. I might know Taylor Schwarz is going to go two steps to her right. Just little things like that.”

 

On her emotions as the season approaches:
“I’m so excited. It’s only a week away. It’s so close, but it’s so far. We’re just getting our last little bit of work in.”

 

On whether a pair of top-five preseason rankings creates extra pressure:
“We wear a Gator on our chest every single time we go out there. We have that responsibility no matter what. I think we can’t worry about the rankings. We’ve got to do what we do best.”

 

On how the sophomore class has improved over the past year:
“I can tell just talking to my classmates, we just have so much confidence. We know failure is going to come with this game, but you have to deal with it. How we respond to it will be a lot better.”

 

Delanie Gourley, Fr., LHP

On being a new member of the team:

“I love it. Every aspect of being with the team is just so fun. I love it here and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

 

On playing fall exhibition games:

“I like it. It got the nerves and jitters out a little bit. I’m excited for the first game we have next week.”

 

On the other pitchers:

“They’re great. They’ve taught me so much. They’ve taught me how to deal with the team and learn how we do things. They’re great role models for me.”

 

On playing for a top-five team:

“It’s amazing. It’s just so fun, and I’m really excited.”

 

On offseason workouts and differences from high school

“They were something else. They were really hard, but they were a good hard. If anything, they brought our team that much closer.”

 

On how lefties change the dynamics of the game for hitters:

“It’s something totally new. Different spins, different side. Just everything, it’s completely new.”

 

On how her teammates motivate her:

“They keep me driven every day and every day it gets that much better. I’m looking forward to the season.”

 

 

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