bleedCrimson.net: The win up in Albuquerque you had the eight run inning which felt like the offense clicked with all the moving parts.
Kathy Rodolph: I think Cat's done a fantastic job of tweaking the lineup and trying to figure out how we can produce more offense with the pieces we have and I feel like when we went to UNM some of the pieces started to come together and we were able to shift momentum and gain momentum and we had been struggling to do that.
bc.net: In that game you also got a very strong pitching performance from Karysta Donisthorpe.
KR: I feel like it was a great outing for Karysta. As a freshman the more experience she gets the better she gets. I have tremendous respect for UNM and the job that those guys are doing hitting this year. She did a good job of being able to keep us in the game and keeping them off balance.
bc.net: That offensive performance against UNM gave way to this weekend's offensive performance where you really got back to doing what you had been doing early in the season before the injuries.
KR: I agree. I feel like Amber did a great job and I feel like Shaleese Javillo coming in and playing second for us really added some speed on the bases. Mo Padilla did a good job, Val Swedberg, Tiare started to get back on track, Teresa did a good job and I feel like things just started to click. We just didn't get stops in the circle when we needed to.
bc.net: The 12-4 game your team was able to bounce back from the two previous losses in the series. You get the big knockout inning in the bottom of the sixth which was a nice answer from the team after what had happened in the previous two games.
KR: I absolutely agree and in that particular inning, Teresa and Kelsey Dodd were very, very tough at the plate and both of them were really able to come through. Honestly the girls have been fighting really, really hard, maybe to the point of pressing a little bit. It was nice to get a performance out of C-Dub, Celisha Walker, to get some stops in the circle and give us a chance to get the momentum back offensively. I feel like we'd been chasing some runs and it has the kids pressing and I feel like everything started to click.
bc.net: Defensively in that game one of the things you have to be thrilled with is the team was able to turn three double plays working with the reconfigured infield.
KR: Absolutely, I feel like we finally started to communicate well on defense and really move and Shaleese got two of those at second. I feel like all along she's been a terrific athlete and played outfield for us and when we got so banged up she offered to come into the infield and with a couple weeks of practice under her she's doing a terrific job for us there.
bc.net: You touched on it briefly but Teresa Conrad had a very good weekend offensively, particularly in the second game on Saturday where she had three doubles (officially credited with two).
KR: All along both Cat and I have said that Teresa has been hitting below her average this year and statistically she was due to break out. She started coming in, putting in extra time and really trying to work and tweaked some things with Cat and she was able to reap the benefit of that extra work.
bc.net: Teresa and Kelsey Dodd were a nice one-two punch in the second game of that doubleheader.
KR: We needed Teresa in the middle of the lineup and Cat has said all year long that Kelsey has one of the best eyes at the plate she's seen. As a freshman she came out of the box really hot and has maybe cooled off but has definitely continued to work to get back in there and understand the difference in how things work in playing a team in conference versus playing a team one time and I think that Kelsey is somebody we count on offensively to get in there, have a great eye at the plate and have a quality at bat.
bc.net: Obviously your team has had some really tough close losses in conference play during the first half of the schedule. How important was it to maybe not so much for the standings but to be able to see the fruits of all that work they've been putting in to get the win int he second game on Saturday.
KR: I think it's huge because all along we have lost some close tough games and have really faced some difficulties this year but I think that this group has terrific team chemistry and they're definitely still fighting. They know that some things have happened beyond our control with the injuries to the two middle infielders. Tehani had her surgery last week and is on crutches but has been an energy ambassador for us in the dugout and Kristi will have her surgery this week. I think with having such a young team, nine freshmen, that hard work, you can really come through a lot if you continue to work. That's exactly what the kids have been doing. If they did more to change the outcome then they'd get more and I'm very proud of them for doing that.
bc.net: Last week picking up the two wins was important but do you feel that the manner in which you got those two wins helped show the kids that even though you're down two important players that this is still a very potent and very good team?
KR: Absolutely. They get together and set goals and decided specific things that they felt like they could work on each game and they definitely try to chip in a little bit more. I think the biggest thing we did over this last week was show that we are still a quality team and we don't need to press. We just need to take what the game will give us and just take it pitch by pitch and good things will happen.
bc.net: One of the things we talked about in the last interview was that you had just asked the kids to get better by one percent each day. What are some of those improvements that you've seen over the last week and a half?
KR: I feel like defensively we have really shored up the defense and we're not having communicate errors anymore by the person to the right and left of you being new. I feel like offensively we started figuring out what we could do instead of what we weren't doing. I wrote down some things for the kids just one thing that we wanted them to work on so that we weren't so scattered and we got together as a staff and decided if we could have them work on just one thing what would it be? We went in each one of them to help center them. This week this is the whole thing you're trying to do before we play and I definitely feel like they bought in to it and they definitely improved that piece. We're going to have to do the same thing this week before we go into Fresno.
bc.net: Valerie Swedberg started the season in the outfield but more recently we've seen her versatility with you playing her at catcher. What does her playing catcher bring to the team?
KR: When I recruited Val and the first time I ever saw her she was playing catcher for her travel ball team the New Mexico Sundancers and what I liked about her when I watched her is she has a calm, poised presence behind the plate and she's definitely a leader and likes to take charge. Some of the thinking behind that was by moving Val into an infield position, that opened up a spot in the outfield and we feel like some of our best sticks are in the outfield. In order to get the nine best sticks we needed to do some rearranging and so we went to Val and she said, "Absolutely, I'd love to catch." The unique thing about it is that Val and Karysta played on the same travel ball team and so Val's caught Karysta quite a bit.
bc.net: This week coming up you take on Fresno State out in Fresno for the final time in regular season conference play.
KR: Any time you go to Fresno the venue is an exciting venue and Fresno is very strong at home. In order to be able to go in there and win, we're going to have to go in there and be playing some of our best ball but go in there and do that without pressing. Fresno has Michelle Moses back and she's extremely talented and one of the top pitchers in the conference. They've got a lot of young, new athletic faces and I expect it to be a very competitive series.
bc.net: How much does getting the win over Nevada this past Saturday free up the kids to not have to worry about that anymore?
KR: When you see somebody work as hard as they've been working you them be able to reap the benefits. You can tell them not to press but I think they would press without being able to see themselves be successful. So I feel like they were absolutely willing to do whatever the team needed them to do to bring their part. We were very determined in accepting our jobs and our roles and I felt like they did exactly what they needed to do.