KU Softball Holds Media Day

Feb. 11, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan. – –

Coach Smith at Media Day

Hile at Media Day

Ro. Hull at Media Day

The Kansas softball team held its annual media day Thursday in Hadl Auditorium. Head coach Megan Smith along with a handful of players spoke with reporters about the upcoming season, which begins Friday, Feb. 12 in Houston, Texas.

Kansas Softball Media Day

February 11, 2010

Head Coach Megan Smit

“First I just wanted to share some of my feelings about being a first-year coach here and how excited I am to be a Jayhawk. I think it is a dream come true for me to be at a place as special as Lawrence, Kansas and as special as the University of Kansas. I thank Lew Perkins and Debbie Van Saun for giving me this opportunity. For such a special place, I’m really excited to make a special softball program here in Kansas and I know that is something we will be able to do in the near future. I want to talk a little bit about this weekend. We open up in Houston for our first tournament and our first game is against Louisville. We are actually playing a really tough opening weekend. We have Louisville, Ohio State, Houston and Sam Houston State. Louisville has a couple of the top players in the country returning, Ohio State also has a few top players returning and they were a super regional team last year. Houston was a super regional team two years ago, so we have got our work cut out for us in this first weekend. There is a lot of really good competition and we have been working really hard to prepare for it. I met with the girls last night and talked about us focusing on us for that first weekend. We want to go out there and have fun and see what we have in the first weekend. It is important that we don’t get too bogged down with our first opponent. We need to really worry about us and worry about the Jayhawks and that is something that we want to do not only this weekend but for the entire season. I want to talk a little bit about our players, how we break down the infield and the outfield and pitchers and catchers. I want to start with the infielders. We are lucky that we have some experience returning in our infield with Amanda Jobe at first base and Sara Ramirez, who we are moving to shortstop this season. Both of them are incredible leaders, have incredible talent. (Ramirez) is a leader and (Jobe) leads by example, so both work really well together in leading our infield. Behind the plate we have experience as well. Brittany Hile is going to be our catcher behind the plate for a majority of our games this season. She is a phenomenal talent and phenomenal athlete. She is going to be a lot of fun to watch, so when you come watch us play, you are going to see Brittany Hile highlighted quite a bit with her talent behind the plate. We lack a little bit of experience in the outfield. We have one returning outfielder that is going to see a lot of time with Liz Kocon, and she is who we are going to look to in terms of the leadership and experience in the outfield. We are lucky that we have some young players coming in to fill those spots in the outfield. We are going to look to Alex Jones in center field. She is a freshman from Oklahoma, who, again, is a phenomenal athlete and a phenomenal talent. Rosie Hull and Maggie Hull are both from Lawrence, Kansas. They will come in and do some remarkable things in the outfield as well. They both have great speed and great skills in the outfield, so we’re looking not for experience in the outfield, but a lot of young players are eager to get out there and work really hard and be successful. We are going to talk about lack of experience and lack of depth a lot this year. In our pitching staff, we have one who really knows what it is like to be a college pitcher in Sarah Vertelka. She is a senior. She is probably the most experienced pitcher on our staff and she threw a lot of innings last year. We are going to look to her for experience in the circle. Allie Clark, as a junior, didn’t throw as much last year, but we are going to look to her for a lot of innings as well. She has some great movement and some great skills. We have been working in the fall to get her more refined at those skills and we are hoping that pays off this spring. Alex Jones, who is our freshman who plays center field, will also pitch for us quite a bit this season. Again, we worked with her in the fall to get her acclimated and ready to play the college game. She is a fiery competitor who does not expect anything but the best from herself. I think we will see a lot of great things out of her. I want to highlight our freshman class a little bit. We have some great talent in the freshman class. Alex Jones I have talked about and the Hull twins I have talked about, but I have not mentioned Mariah Montgomery yet. She is going to be playing third base for us most of the season. She is solid defensively and this fall she really improved to be one of our biggest offensive threats. She was probably our MVP from the fall in terms of how she played and how she hit. She was phenomenal up at the plate and we hope that she can continue that this spring. So the basic theme for our team this year is, we do not have a lot of depth, we do not have a lot of experience, but we have girls who work really hard, who understand what we need from them, who understand that they have to work hard on every single play and they all have huge hearts. They want to win and work as hard as they can to do that on a daily basis. We are really excited about the year.”

Opening Statement:

Junior Catcher Brittany Hile

On playing the first games of the season this weekend:

“I’m very excited. We’ve been indoors for over a month now and I’m ready to get on the road and start playing. It’s going to be fun to finally see the team in action.”

On starting the season well:

“It’s very important. We can show everyone what we’re about this year and everything we’ve been working on. It’s going to be fun.”

On her new head coach Megan Smith:

“Coach Smith is great. She came in very welcoming to all of us. She’s really been pushing and has high expectations for us which is great. She is very driven to get us where we need to be this year.”

On the freshmen:

“Our freshmen are great. They work hard everyday and it’s going to be fun to see them perform this weekend.”

On adjusting to a new coach:

“It was little changes here and there. She laid out what she expects from us and we came together. We just worked through it and started following in her footsteps pretty quickly.”

Freshman Outfielder Rosie Hull

On the differences between high school softball and college softball:

“The practices are longer and we work on a larger variety of skills and it’s more intense. It’s still the same game. It’s just a little bit more time of the day.”

On being able to come in and contribute right away:

“Over winter break Coach Smith told me to really put the work in and come out and prove it. I definitely took advantage of that time and came out and tried to do my best. (Twin sister) Maggie (Hull) and I were lucky that the spots that needed to be filled happened to be outfield. That’s where we are most experienced. I just try to stay up if I make a mistake and stay intense. I try to do what I can everyday and do what I can.”

On the coaching staff:

“I absolutely love our coaching staff. They really bring a lot of different strengths from everyone. (Head) Coach (Megan) Smith is really great. She’s a great speaker and always motivating and positive and she’s very fair. She’s also very competitive which definitely pushes me too. Coach (Adam) Roorbach is the hitting coach and he’s the same. He knows my swing. The coaching staff has a great balance and I love them all.”