Kentucky-Virginia Tech Postgame Quotes

May 19, 2013

Recap |  Box Score

NCAA Softball Championships Regional Final
Postgame Quotes
John Cropp Stadium – Lexington, Ky.
May 18, 2013

Kentucky Head Coach Rachel Lawson
Opening statement …
“Well, a couple of things… When I was preparing for Virginia Tech earlier in the week, I actually thought Lauren (Cumbess) was the exact matchup for them. Lauren has such a good drop ball and Virginia Tech is such a good hitting team. I wanted to keep the ball in the infield, so I actually had thought about starting her in the first place. But, when you are the head coach at Kentucky and you have a 27-game winner, and I start the one who doesn’t have 27, I am going to have my head on a platter if I am wrong. I have a lot of faith in both of them. I felt good about Lauren coming in. To be honest with you, I pulled Lauren aside before today and I said, ‘If this goes into two games, you are starting the second game and it is your job to come in and shut the door.’ So, whereas she just thinks she was giving (Kelsey) Nunley a rest, that was actually plan B. I don’t like to have plan B, but I always have plan B in case things don’t go our way. So, that was my plan going into the game. I didn’t tell anyone else that plan, but it seems like they were reading my mind I suppose.
First, I would just like to say I think it is cool that our athletic department spent so much money and effort putting up this facility. And to be able to win when an athletic department supports you --. Women’s sports are something that has come a long way. People usually build facilities because they have to. Kentucky puts out the effort because they want to. They didn’t have to build the indoor the way they did. And they didn’t have to name it after John Cropp. Usually, when schools do that, they save the naming rights for financial reasons, but the fact that they named it after such a great guy is cool because he is retiring. So, that was my goal. I had two goals. My goal is to get to the World Series, but to be able to win on his field, and to be able to get Kara (Dill) into the postseason were my two goals.”
On the defense helping the cause with lack of run support …
“Our defense was huge because our offense was not very good today. I thought Christian Stokes’ play when she dove and got the play behind her was big. In game one, we didn’t make that catch, and that’s why they scored two runs. So, the fact that she made that catch and really stepped up on her birthday was cool. I think the fact that Griffin Joiner did such a good job behind the plate was awesome. She did a really good job. I think one thing that goes underrated is that our signs rotate constantly. The fact that she was able to keep up, and she didn’t miss a pitch all weekend was pretty cool. The name of Kelsey (Nunley)’s game is to be able to execute and so it requires that we get the sign in properly. I think, too, Silver Samuel saved a home run. Being able to save a run there and also come back in the next inning saved the game. I always tell the team that you never know when the game-winning play is going to happen. I believe those were the game-winning plays. And then Nunley coming in and closing the door – being able to come in with the bases loaded and jamming them in and being able to get them to popup was huge.”

Kentucky RHP #19 Lauren Cumbess
On the shared pitching duties in today’s game…
“Kelsey is tough. I knew she was going to be strong today and I felt good that I was able to help her out a bit in the second game. She came back fresh and she had a little break and came back and did awesome.”

On getting the call to pitch the second game…
“I was ready and I wanted to do whatever it took to help our team win. To give Kelsey that little break is just what we needed for that win. I was ready to do whatever it took for us to win that game.”

On getting the win after the performance in the SEC Tournament…
“It’s a lot of fun. Everybody was so supportive all weekend. They have come out to every single game we have played and we have had a really big crowd and that’s always fun to play in front of at home. It’s been a lot of fun playing here this weekend and we are happy to come away with the win to go to Supers.”

On the nerves throughout the game…
“There are certain times if the bases get loaded that it is a little nerve racking. I can imagine it was a little bit nerve racking with her coming in with the bases loaded. Our team is really mentally tough and we stay positive and I think that is why we do come away with so many wins, because we stay up and positive. We know we have each other’s backs. We had some awesome plays made in that game and we just stay up and positive and keep at it ‘til we win.”

Kentucky RHP #33 Kelsey Nunley
On her relationship with Cumbess…
“I have to say Lauren really encourages me. She helps me stay positive all the time and gives me little triggers to get past batters. We have become pretty close; she’s my main encourager on the team.”

On how her body is feeling after the last three games…
“I feel great. We are going on so that is all that matters. I don’t really care how my body feels. I just want to win.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach Scot Thomas
Opening Statement
“Well first of all, hats off to Kentucky and I think it goes without saying that the staff and everyone that was involved with this regional did a great job. They made everybody feel very comfortable and there were no surprises, so we appreciate that out of the administration and athletic department for putting on a great show. We did what we needed to do to compete and try to move on and obviously I thought coming into this regional we matched up well with Kentucky. I think we proved that today. Hats off to them, hats off to my team for battling all last night and battling all day today. I am proud of our bunch for sure.”

On if he was optimistic when Lauren Cumbess was pitching the second game after his team winning the first game…
 “I figured what would happen is what happened. I figured if she got in trouble, they would bring Nunley back. To be honest to you, I thought that might have played in our favor at some point in time. I think it started to and they made a great pitching sub at that time. The biggest thing is we are used to pitching a couple of pitchers and that is in our routine. In the SEC, you are playing one Friday, one Saturday, and one Sunday or whatever they do but we are used to playing double headers at times. We are used to making double-header adjustments even late in the season. We do it during tournaments played early and in spring break and certainly Kentucky does also. I just felt that was something that may be a positive for us but we just weren’t pushing anything across.”

On the senior class and what they did for the team…
“I think the biggest thing about this senior class is once we came out of the World Series in 2008, we had a couple of years where injuries were a problem and we didn’t play well. We were having to, instead of being able to build off of that, we had to start re-teaching what it was like to win and get in the post season. This senior class led us there. They led us last year. Our senior class was very small. We had one kid that was a pretty good leader. This class was really the leaders this year and last year and did a great job. I am hoping and setting the tone for the rest of the few years and I think they set the tone.”

Virginia Tech RHP #22 Jasmin Harrell
On her pitching in the second game…
“I threw more drop balls and screwballs to the lefties and then some rise balls there towards the middle and the end of the game. It was working until a few of their guys were clearly trying to get under them, trying to drive them more than hitting them. ”

On her last season at Virginia Tech…
“I think I did really well, especially towards the end of the season and making a run in this end of the year.  I’m pretty happy with what I’ve achieved here at Tech. I’m really happy with the way I went out with the 13-inning game last night (against Notre Dame). I think I threw a really good game against a good hitting team, against Kentucky. I’m happy. It sucks that it’s over but, I’m happy.”

Virginia Tech RHP #25 Kelly Heinz
On her pitching in the first game…
“I threw an extreme amount of curveballs that game, probably 85 percent of my pitches were curved that game. It just seemed to be working, moving the ball more and more off the plate, each pitch and each batter and see how far they would go. That was pretty major that game.”

On the team’s energy…
“I think our energy definitely carried from game to game, especially from last night into this morning. Then, even into the second game, I think we had great energy. It was just a matter of not stringing hits together here and there and not having a couple things drop that should have.”



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