Weekly Coach Ward Interview :: 05/25/11 :: WAC Tournament Update Scott Coffman is named to the First Team All-WAC along with Tanner Waite and Tyler Forney, Parker Hipp and Zac Fisher all earn Second Team honors.
Rocky Ward: I was a little shocked about Scott. Obviously he's extraordinarily deserving but there were a bunch of other guys that were as well. I'm pleased with that. I'm not sure we've ever had a First Team pitcher. It's well deserved. The kid had sparkling numbers. You put your closer in the all-conference deal in jeopardy because he didn't have any close opportunities the last eight conference games of the season, we either won big or lost big. He pitched in those games and actually pitched in the Sunday game at Fresno and kept us in that game. Tanner, this is a league that always has a pretty good group of offensive outfielders so I was pleased that Tanner got honored because he was a part of that group of the best in the league and his numbers fit. Really the only disappointment I had was with Fisher's second team. He led the league in hitting but it's the same deal.

When you sit down with the other coaches in the conference call that we do you really try to make sure that every kid that is deserving is honored. I think we did that. I think we've had a couple years where there have been a year or two where there have been a couple guys left off the teams that deserved to be on them. It's a coaches voted thing but I think we did a pretty good job. For example, this year there were four really outstanding first basemen and the way we do our voting is we have four outfielders, four infielders, a catcher a starting pitcher, a relief pitcher and two alternates so we used our two alternates to honor the outstanding first basemen.

I was happy with Hipp as a second teamer because Kolten Wong is the key player on the Hawai'i team, he's the emotional and physical leader so he was the logical choice as first team. I was just concerned because Parker was injured basically the second half of the conference season and didn't have very many at-bats and missed a few games so I was really pleased that he was honored.

Ty Forney was selected as the second team shortstop, that was cool. The kid came in midseason as the full-time starter and really played good quality baseball throughout. I was really pleased. I thought we were represented very well. Overall I thought we got what we should have on the teams. I'm happy for our kids and I'm happy for our program. You're in Mesa and you play LA Tech today, what will your preparation today be and what have you seen from your team so far?
RW: This is a fun time of the year, you're excited about the tournament and you're all together. You've got the All-Conference deal, they also give out the plaques to the kids who were the Hitter/Pitcher of the Week and obviously we dominated those categories on the offensive side along with Dan Reid's Pitcher of the Week. Those are a lot of fun, it's a good time to sit back and reflect on the season, honor the guys and their years but at the same time you're kind of moving forward to real competition and the heat of the tournament.

We worked out on the main field yesterderday, we had breakfast this morning, we'll relax and head out to the ballpark about 4:30. I think our batting practice is at 5:10 and it's kind of the last time you spend together as a team in a relaxed environment. I've always felt relaxed as a coach with my team before you start the tournament. You've earned your way here, you've obviously met some goals that you set before the season started. You know who you are more now than you ever do in any part of the season as far as your team identity and for us having struggled through parts of the league and ending up as the number six seed, it gives us a new lease on life. You win tonight and some of the struggles over the last five or six weeks are put aside. So it gives you a second chance, that's how I like to view the tournament. It was a different feel last year as the number two seed. You put together a pretty good season, we struggled down the stretch and didn't have very good momentum heading into the tournament and we felt a little bit of pressure. I don't know that we handled it poorly, I just think we got outplayed, at least in the Hawai'i game. The Nevada game was just a good baseball game where they got the one hit that we didn't. Obviously going into this tournament we're the underdog. I feel very similar to what I felt going into the Hawai'i tournament a couple years ago. Going into that tournament in Hawai'i you draw the traditional winner in Fresno in the first round and so you feel the same way. You win the first round game and you let the cards fall as they come.

We'll go with Mack who has a win and pitched very well against them. They'll go with Jeb Steffan who shut us out in the seven inning game at LA Tech and so both teams feel confident going to the mound.

Parker has been feeling much better. The rest that we were able to give him, in particular Saturday and the fact that we only played him in two games against Hawai'i gave him a couple game rest along with these few days we've had off, he feels pretty good. Voight seems to be pretty much healed so we kind of feel like we're back to full strength and can line guys up with our best ballclub for the first time in several weeks and go play some good baseball and see if we can get the first round win and then go from there. I'm looking forward to it and I think the ballclub feels pretty good about it.