June 12, 2011
Head Coach David Esquer
HEAD COACH David Esquer
"We are ecstatic to You're asking for a statement I don't know what to say. I'm looking at the box here so I can believe it. I'm so proud of our guys, I'm so proud of our staff. Pitching Coach Dan Hubbs and I talked about when he was a pitcher at USC, he got close. He was in the final game, but never quite got to Omaha. Assistant Coach Tony Arnerich went to a Regional Final in Fullerton. Coach Sanfilippo was a mutt baseball player like myself and Coach Hubbs. To take this team and to be apart of this team is so gratifying. We were cut as a program when we were just in informal workouts. We hadn't even had our first team practice. To watch our kids on that Saturday go out and play baseball like nothing was happening; that's what they were meant to do. Behind the scenes having to deal with all the pressures to figure out their lives; to be here today, I couldn't be more proud of a bunch of kids and a staff that have gone through what we have and gone out the other lives and come out the other side. I said at a press conference before the year even started, not many times coaches get a chance to illicit how they feel about their teams. Actually, sometimes coaches by the end of the year don't like their team all that much. But I said at the start of the year that I loved coaching this team. Nothing would have changed, win or lose this weekend. It just feels so good for a group of guys that you love see them experience baseball at its highest level and see them come out on top.
On the program being cut and the team's response
"I gave them the option. I said if `you need a day or to collect yourself, talk to your parents or come to our office to talk to [the coaches], I'm okay with it.' They said, `We're practicing today.' We went out at 1:15 and went through our informal workouts before getting ready for the end-of-the-weekend scrimmage. It hit me right over the head, I said `here they are getting some really difficult news that they aren't happy with, but they aren't going to back away one inch from their commitment to their team and this program.' Without knowing about earlier that day, it was just baseball and that's what they love to do, that's what they were born to do that; just like they were born to be here today and make this happen. I remember as a coaching staff we looked at each other and said, `we have a special team here.'"
Catcher Chadd Krist
Was that the farthest homer you've ever hit?
I don't know I didn't really see it where it landed. I just knew that if I got it up in that jet stream it was probably going to go it. I was just happy that right off the bat we got some runs. On giving the fans a round of applause after the game
We're all really excited and the fans stuck with us through everything. They were here for the support. Especially for the alumni, the alumni were out there pregame and through everything that took place. It's not only for us, it's for them to. It's for everyone who has ever been on the California Golden Bears baseball team.
On talk with his third base coach before hitting the home run
He just told me a little something to pick up when the middle infielders, on off-speed, would shift away. It was crucial, I told everyone else when I got back to the dugout.
Pitcher Erik Johnson On establishing his pitches
I think Justin Jones laid it out for me yesterday. He was mixing in his changeup, curve ball and cutter and he mixed well with all four of his pitches. That was the key for me, at one point I had all four of my pitches going for me. Even though I went out in the first inning and threw mostly fastballs, my changeup, slider and curve ball were working for me. I had my juices flowing in the first inning. Coach Esquer came up to me and said, `catch your breath.' It just made me relax and take a breath and realize where we are, what we accomplished and we're about to go to Omaha.
Has the win and the storybook-season set in yet?
I think so, a little bit. I'm not sure it's settled in yet, but we definitely played for each other. Hearing that the program was going to being cut made us stronger, made us a tighter bunch. We play for each other out there, we set all the other things aside.
Designated hitter Tony Renda
After going 0-4 yesterday, and everything you went through with the quad, what was it like being 3-5?
It was great. Chadd [Krist] and I are roommates and we usually eat an apple before every game. We forgot to eat out apple yesterday, that's why we were [hitless]. We didn't everything else the same that's why we still won. We had out apples today for sure. We both came up with some hits, it felt great to get this win and go to Omaha.
On if the season's hurdles made the team stronger
They whole getting dropped thing, it definitely brought us closer together. Going out to that practice was a team decision. That's what we love to do, we love to play baseball and we love to be around each other. There's not a single person on this team I wouldn't stand up for. I love them like my brothers. This whole year has brought us closer together and it's a huge part of why we're here today. I'm incredibly proud of everybody for hanging tough and fighting through it.
On Derek Campbell's play at second base
He did a great job. In coach deciding not having me play defense, I was fine with it because I knew Derek Campbell was playing second base. That kid can straight up pick it. He's probably one of our best defenders on the team. He's smooth and he play all three of the positions; he can probably play first base too, so I'll give him that. He's a great player.
Was the team playing for the people who donated to keep the program?
Absolutely, the only reason we're around is because of the people who back us, put their hard-earned money behind us and behind this program and supported us through it. I'm forever grateful that they came through for us. With them behind us, we are an extremely strong team and if we stay close, we are even stronger.