Q&A: Hillary Bach on return to Oklahoma

Before the team’s elimination game against LSU, ASU senior pitcher Hillary Bach spoke with The State Press about the WCWS and how it feels to be back in her home state.

The State Press: How does it feel to come back to Oklahoma again?

Hillary Bach: It’s great to be back in Oklahoma. Obviously this is my home state. I have so many friends and family here and it’s also the highest level of my competition. So I’m excited on both accounts.

SP: Let’s talk about the competition. The pitchers have been playing well this World Series. What can you tell Dallas to keep her going, when it seems like any mistake comes with a major cost to the team?

HB: Well I think Dallas knows that basically it’s the best of the best. Jackie Traina and Keilani Ricketts are going out and competing every pitch. That’s what our batters expected. That’s what we prepared for all year. You have to be ready to hit that mistake, because they are going to make mistakes. You have to be ready and you have to take advantage of that. I would just tell Dallas to stay relaxed. She knows what she is doing. She has got the tools. She just has to stay mentally focused.

SP: What have you seen the pitchers do this series that has helped them keep the batters off balance, or is it just the talent?

HB: Talent is one, but they also have been doing a really good job mixing in the off speed. They have been using movement to hit locations. Traina did a good job keeping the hitters off balance, going away and being unpredictable.

SP: As the top relief pitcher you have to be prepared to come in and take over the game immediately. How important is that and how do you prepare for that as a pitcher?

HB: As a pitcher, I just know that I want to be an influence on my team. I want to make a difference and I want to help them in whatever way that I can. I will always be ready in the bullpen the entire game. I just want to make sure that when coach calls my name, I don’t have to say “wait” or “hold on I’m not ready.” I want to be ready at any point.

SP: This is a very young team. As a senior what can you do to try and take some of the pressure off the freshmen, especially since they are coming in a bit wide-eyed to a big situation?

HB: Definitely. I think honestly they are doing a great job so far. Amber (Freeman) really came in clutch in the first game. It’s important to remind them that it’s just another D1 softball game. It’s the most important game that we have played all year, but it’s just another softball game. They have the same amount of people on the field as we do and we are just going out and competing. You can’t look up. Don’t get too caught up in the stands or anything like that because it’s just another softball game. It’s your bat versus another pitcher. There are still 43 feet away.

SP: Five more games for your team to repeat as national champions. What goes through your mind when you see that?

HB: I don’t really think about that at all. We have to win one game today. Then tomorrow, we have to win two, which we did against Louisiana Lafayette. Then when we get to the World Series it will be just like going for the weekend to play another Pac-12 series.

SP: You’re facing LSU next and they don’t have a really high batting average. It’s been talked about this whole tournament in fact. How do you go up against a team which just seems to get one timely hit and still win?

HB: They are just really scrappy and we just watched them get the job done (against USF). They take advantage of anything so that means we have to keep them off base, no free rides.


Reach the reporter at jjmckelv@asu.edu

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