Rittman has No Regrets in Loss to Oklahoma

John Rittman said he does not have any regrets taking Millie Thompson out of the game for Valerie Cagle in Game 2 of the Norman (Oklahoma) Regional on Saturday.

With Clemson up three runs in the top of the sixth inning on No. 1 overall seed Oklahoma, Rittman brought his ace into the circle after Thompson gave up a leadoff single to start the inning. Cagle, at the time, proved the decision was the right one, when she retired the side to preserve the Tigers’ lead.

However, the Sooners caught up to Cagle in the seventh, first with two singles, and then when Kinzie Hansen blasted the game-tying home run to left field with two outs. What hurt the most was the fact Cagle was ahead 0-2 in the count.

Oklahoma eventually won the game in the ninth inning when Tiare Jennings sent another Cagle offering to centerfield.

“There is so little margin of error when you play Oklahoma,” Rittman said. “They are strong one through nineteen on that bench. You can’t make too many mistakes.

“We were one strike away from winning the game. They had that little flare over the first baseman. There were just so many things that happened – would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. As a coach, you never go back and second guess yourself in your decisions. This is a game where there are a lot of decisions.”

Rittman defended Cagle’s 0-2 pitch to Hansen. He felt the Oklahoma Sooner made a play.

“I think she hit a good pitch. I really do,” he said. “That pitch, sometimes it hangs a little bit. It was one of those where you tip your hat to her. Certainly, we are going to relive that one a bunch as coaches and as players. But I thought she hit a good pitch. I really do.”

Clemson, which finished the season 48-12, rallied from a 4-0 deficit to take a 7-4 lead. The Tigers first got a three-run home run from Maddie Moore in the bottom of the fourth inning, then McKenzie Clark sent a two-run shot to centerfield in the fifth inning.

The Tigers loaded the bases and added two more runs before the inning was over on a drawn walk from Alia Logoleo and a fielder’s choice RBI from Moore.

“I am really proud of our team,” Rittman said. “Yes, we did not get that twenty-first out when we needed it, and what does not kill you will only make you stronger. This is going to help us be better in the future.”

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4 months ago

Really appreciate the fact that he admits how the reality of things is she hit a pitch high and outside after she just watched what she thought was low and inside to go down 0-2 and looks at patty thinking that’s makes this situation a lot worse then goes and hits against all odds and does the unthinkable.

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