June 1, 2018
Washington - 6, Oregon - 2
THE MODERATOR: This is the Game 5 press conference featuring the Huskies of Washington. Joined by head coach Heather Tarr, and student-athletes Taylor Van Zee, Noelle Hee, Gabbie Plain, and Taran Alvelo.
Coach Tarr, lots of good stuff to talk about. Let's talk about your pitching staff and your defense. Obviously, especially with Gabbie in the circle, she gets a whole lot of ground balls, I think over 30 in the two games combined. How important is that relationship between your pitching staff and the defense?
HEATHER TARR: Well, you look down at the stats here, and comparatively speaking, I haven't really looked at this that often, but it's a pretty darn good team ERA that we get to go in with.
One of the reasons why is because both Taran and Gabbie specifically, who have had the majority of the innings as of late, have continued to get better and better. And that's what you do when you come to Washington, is you improve.
The other thing that helps them I know is their defense. The defense has their back, morning, noon and night. They're connected units. Today at the end we got a little bit fast. Had to probably get the third out before we with got the first out and so on and so forth. But that's what happens in those moments. You learn from them, you grow from them, and you get ready for the next opportunity that you have to play in those types of moments.
Q. Gabbie, what worked for you tonight compared to this year in Seattle? Obviously a very different outcome this time around?
GABBIE PLAIN: I think the same, like good pitches, good locations, making them swing at stuff that they didn't necessarily want to swing at. Yeah, just keeping on top of it. Trying to minimize the damage that could be done because definitely last time they got some pretty clutch hits at very necessary times. So I was just trying to make sure that I could pitch pitches that my team could get out for me.
Q. Coach, you've got a freshman out here on the biggest stage, beats Oklahoma, two-time defending champion, and comes back and beats the No. 1 team in the country. What are you seeing from the mental standpoint to have the confidence to come out? She seems pretty calm going about doing it?
HEATHER TARR: Yeah, I think that's in her nature. But both Taran and Gabbie have a strong mental game. They're aware of where their head is at, where their heart is at, and it's about regulating that. Taran's different than Gabbie, Gabbie's different than Taran. But what a great mentor that Gabbie has in Taran to follow, and they couldn't do it without each other.
But each has their own cool strengths that we get to maximize on. Gabbie has that kind of chill, no worries personality. Then you've got Taran that is a pump you up, fire you up kind of person. So you have to learn to play behind both personnel, and they have to learn to continue to regulate their heart and be where they need to be when they need to be there.
Q. Kleist was also rolling along in four games. What changed in the fifth inning to get you there?
TAYLOR VAN ZEE: Just make adjustments. Obviously it was our fourth game against them this year. So staying within ourselves, getting together, getting a pitch we could handle, just adjustments in the box and talking, communication amongst hitters. So it worked out for us.
NOELLE HEE: I would say something similar, just communication and doing some momentum, and just keeping it and cherishing it as a team.
Q. You talked about how you got a little fast there in the final inning. Just what exactly was going on, and what did you all do to be able to get out of that final inning and keep the game under control?
HEATHER TARR: Well, anytime I think you put your pitchers in position to have to come into the game. Taran comes into the game in that moment, and she obviously wants to get in a rhythm and go. She gets in a rhythm and goes, and we coaches make a decision to make a change. Then okay, Gabbie, you have to reestablish your rhythm.
First pitch I think she chucked it to the backstop and here we go. But it's all part of it. It's all part of learning to be in situations that are uncomfortable, learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable and continuing to grow and learn as people and players and coaches.
Q. Coach, you did say yesterday that you didn't come to this game as a revenge tour against Oregon, but you did also say you were very aware that you haven't beaten them this year. Oklahoma City College World Series aside, how good does it feel to take down Oregon at this point in the year?
HEATHER TARR: I think what feels good about the game today for us is that we've improved. Again, that's why these guys came here is to see how good they could be and what a great opportunity and stage to perform on to be able to showcase how good we've gotten.
Q. Gabbie, how much of a challenge is that to come out and come back in in a situation like that?
GABBIE PLAIN: It's definitely challenging, but I just sort of went in with the mindset that my team needed me to be there. Taran was doing an amazing job, and for me to come in at the last minute it was definitely a bit of an upset, I think. Everyone was sort of a bit flustered. But we got through it, and we'll grow from it. Any mistakes or any unnecessary errors that we made or that we didn't make, we played through a lot of hardships in the game, and it was just a good outcome at the end.
Q. Gabbie, this is a very large stage, obviously, but when you leave home and move to a whole new country at your age, does it get hard to be nervous about anything else after you've gone through that?
GABBIE PLAIN: Well, I was lucky enough to travel a lot starting from the age of 15. I traveled a lot with different teams. Stayed with the teams away from my parents, away from my family. So it was definitely a good lead-in, I would say, but it's definitely been a challenge to be able to get through so many difficult games.
But I will go home straightaway and call my parents or talk to them just over the phone. So I'm always in contact with them. I'm always going back home, technically.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports