Walton’s pregame adjustments led to repeat

Haylie Wagner did something no other pitcher had done to the Florida Gators in 65 other games this year. She shut them out. The hard throwing leftie helped her Michigan team win 1-0 to take the WCWS Championship Series to a third game. Florida head coach Tim Walton had an answer.

Figuring that Wagner would start again for the Wolverines, Walton didn’t sit idly by and let his team approach game three like they did game two. He changed things up in practice early Wednesday morning for the game Wednesday night.

It was a little puzzling to Walton as he was watching up close and personal in game two and Wagner was shutting his girls down.

“We really were having problems getting extension,” Walton said after the Gators clinched their second National Championship in a row. “(We) couldn't get any extension and I couldn't get any clearer definition of why we couldn't get extension. Was it velocity or if it was movement?

“If you notice a lot of the hitters, they're choked up probably four, five inches on the bat. And I gave an interesting analogy I think today that one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, Barry Bonds, 32-inch bat, chokes up two to three inches. And he can hit just fine. Let's just go find a way to make contact and hit hard ground balls today. Our jam shots were going to the catcher and pitcher the last couple of days; (the ball) finally got over the shortstop's head and made that adjustment.”

Junior first baseman Taylor Schwarz had a huge hit in the game in the first inning scoring a two run double that gave the gators their second and third points of the early inning. She to notice of Walton and his wisdom leading up to her at bat.

“I think earlier today at early hitting we bought into what Coach Walton was saying, making the right adjustments off (Haylie) Wagner,” Schwarz said. “”She's a great pitcher. We knew she was going to come out hot and we had to make adjustments. Honestly, my at-bat I wasn't thinking about anything. I was just trying to get the barrel on the ball and it fell in the right spot. If it wasn't for Coach making those adjustments and really buying into it and believing in the process all year I don't think we would have had the result we had today.

Junior second baseman Kelsey Stewart finished off the scoring in the second inning with the fourth run of the game and an RBI single. All the runs came early and before Wagner was removed from the game after the hit and score.

“We worked this morning on getting on the plate and really looking for my pitch,” Stewart said. “And I was looking for an inside pitch and if she was there to come inside she got a little too close to me and hit me. But that last pitch I was trying to hit it up the middle because the middle's wide open and that's my strength. And it just happened that I got a good piece of it.”

“I thought we really committed to -- we really owned making an adjustment at the plate,” Walton said. “And I think last night my words probably are still ringing in some of their heads.”

And so are the words National Champions!!!


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