May 20, 2012
May 20, 2012
California Head Coach Diane Ninemire
"Well today was such a great day for Cal softball. This team came out as a team, and everybody contributed to the success of us winning both games today. We knew our backs were against the wall, and we knew we were going to face a great team in Arkansas. We knew we had to have great pitching, and Jolene threw two great games, and the hitting was outstanding and was led by Frani [Echavarria] in the fourth spot driving in the runs. There were so many other players on the team that also contributed to our success. I'm really proud of their effort today and for sticking with it and for never giving in."
On moving Frani into Jace's spot in the line-up:
"Well, Frani had been hitting the ball earlier in this tournament so well, with a great eye, and we needed someone who could come through and make good contact. She hit so many doubles the day before that it was a great move to move her up, and it was something that the team needed. We all decided that it was the best for the team today."
On wining at home:
"It's the first time we've ever won a regional here at Cal, so it's really special. It's great to see how many people came out to support our program and the hard work that it took to put this on. I can't say enough about how much we appreciate as a program that the staff and all the people at Cal that put this on did an outstanding job. We're just so proud that we're Cal Bears."
On facing Washington:
"We've played them three times this year, and we played them at home. They're another great team that we'll have to prepare for. I would imagine were going to have the same type of competition that we've had earlier in the year with them, and they were close games. We're going to have to come out with our best."
"They had tremendous hitting club and had a variety of different pitchers that could come in and try to catch you off balance. They played great defense, and their overall play was outstanding. They should be really proud of their season and their effort at this regional. They put our backs against the wall this weekend - and we were tested - but these are the types of games we know we need to be able to pull out and that we will probably have many more of these games hopefully in the coming weeks. "
Junior Pitcher Jolene Henderson
On feeling pressure to be on:
"No not really. I knew I had to throw good because Arkansas is a really good hitting team, and I was really impressed. I knew it wasn't going to be a walk in the park. It definitely wasn't. I haven't thrown two games back to back in a while. To have my team there, behind me was great. Every time I looked back, they were making plays. I may not have been on all the way, but they were on."
On how her arm feels:
"This is what we live for. I want throw. I'm a pitcher; I want to pitch. It's a lot of fun to go out and get the wins. We were faced with adversity, which we need to be faced with and a great team, to come out and beat them it feels really great for us because they were such a strong team. To go into the next step is a big deal.
Senior Outfielder Frani Echavarria
On teams intentionally walking Valerie Arioto:
"It's part of the game. Pitching against Val is really hard, and I get that, but I take it personally as well. When the bases were loaded and we needed some more runs, I just did what I could to help out the team in any way."
On her grand slam:
"I was happy I could contribute and help out my pitcher Jolene knowing that she had to pitch the game. It was the first one in my life. It was pretty special. I got an inside pitch, I was just looking for anything in my zone. Inside is not my favorite, but I turned on it as hard as I could. As soon as I hit it, I looked up and saw it go over and I think everyone saw my face celebrating. I probably cried. I'm an emotional person. The crowd was clapping and screaming. I'm happy it happed and I'm proud of my team."
On the line-up change:
"I try to take my role each day and fulfill it each time. As a senior, I'm trying to live out every game and every day because it could be my last. Arkansas is a great team and we knew they were going to give us a great game. When Jo is pitching hard, everyone is hitting, defense is on - it's easy to elevate your play."
Arkansas Head Coach Mike Larabee
"First of all I would like to congratulate Cal. The best team won the region. They're an outstanding ball club. They have great pitching, power, speed, and I wish them the best of luck in the super regional against the University of Washington. I'm very proud of our program and what we've been able to do, we've come a long way since about this time last year. We've turned things around and gone as far as we have ever been as a program at the University of Arkansas. I just told our players that I'm really proud of how they competed. We got Cal one time, we were the best team for a couple of hours. I'm really proud that we came out here and won a couple games and proud of their effort."
On the team doing better than many people expected:
"If there's one thing about this team it's that they've never quit. Even when it was a little rocky in the beginning of the SEC season, we told them to keep battling and that we were going to keep working them hard, and they just followed suit. They competed and continued to get better. Towards the end of the year, we had to win some big games to get into the SEC Tournament. Our backs were against the wall and we got big wins over Alabama and Georgia to get into the NCAA tournament. I believe that they earned their way into the tournament and had a very good showing."
On how they think Cal will do:
"I think they can win it all. They have great pitching. Jolene Henderson is great drop ball pitcher and has a great changeup. I think the change-up is the best pitch in the game and she has that. Her velocity, 67 to 69 miles per hour. They have outstanding speed and play solid defense. They have people that can hit the ball out of the yard. I think they have a great chance to win it all."
On what does this do for the future of the program:
"As Chelsea [Cohen] just alluded to, once you get here and have some success, its all about coming one of those teams and giving yourself a chance to get to Oklahoma City and win a national championship. The next step is to advance and get to that super regional and then once you get there, you're two games away from Oklahoma City. We're going to come back. We challenged our players right now to come back even better than they are right now. I fell we have a really good group of 2012s joining our program and will come in and push these guys. As a coaching staff it's our job to go out and get players better than what we have and let our players know that they have to keep working hard to compete and get playing time and innings."
Junior Pitcher Chelsea Cohen
On experience at first NCAA tournament:
"It was a lot of fun. I think the team really enjoyed it. We got a taste of it, and as coach always says, once you get a taste of it, you always want to come back. I think this program took a big step, and we enjoyed ourselves. We're going to fight to come back here every year now from here on out."