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Auburn's Carlee Wallace: Catcher, friend, motivator
Carlee Wallace will be looking to keep Auburn's pitchers on track in the Super Regional
May 25, 2016

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Carlee Wallace is listed as a catcher on your Auburn roster.

She also plays amateur psychologist to the Tigers' five pitchers, and so it will be be the duty of Wallace and fellow catcher Courtney Shea to keep Auburn's unusually deep pitching staff on track during this weekend's NCAA Super Regionals matchup against Arizona at Jane B. Moore Field.

Wallace says she's learned how to handle the pitching and personalities of Kaylee Carlson, Rachael Walters, Makayla Martin, Lexi Davis and Marcy Harper.

"Each pitcher expects and needs something from me," Wallace said. "Some need me to go out there and tell them it's OK. Some of them will rip my head off if I go out there and tell them it's OK. Some of them want me to tell them they're having a bad day and they need to get it together."

Shea has to play that game, too. Wallace has started 35 games at catcher and another 19 games as the designated player, including starts in every SEC game during the regular season and all six post-season games. Shea has started 25 games at catcher and seven games as the designated player.

A 52-9 record says they're doing it right.

And somewhere in there is the role of amateur psychologist.

"I take pride in knowing what each of my pitchers need because when they're having a rough day, sometimes I'm their only friend out there," Wallace said. "They are very different, very different personalities, but, in an odd way, their personalities mesh, and I think that's why our pitching staff has been so successful."

"We know," Walters said, "that she knows what to say to get us back on track and stayed focused. She's there for us."

Auburn opens the best-of-three Super Regional play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. The championship round begins Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN. A second Sunday game, if it is necessary, will be played at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.

The Tigers swept through the three-game Auburn Regional last weekend, allowing three earned runs in 19 innings. All five pitchers made an appearance, including four in Sunday's five-inning win over Jacksonville State.

The Tigers have allowed only seven earned runs in six post-season games.

"All of them want the ball. All of them want the game to be on the line and they want to be able to make a difference in the game," Wallace said. "I have complete confidence in all five of our pitchers. No matter who gets the ball, all nine players, and the players in the dugout, are just excited for the person on the mound."

Wallace, who has six RBIs in the postseason, knows a little about Arizona. She was recruited by the Wildcats. Ultimately, she chose to play for Clint Myers at Arizona State. When Myers moved to Auburn, she signed with the Tigers.

Now, she's ready for her second straight Super Regional at Auburn. Now, Auburn is a step away from their second straight trip to the College World Series.

"I think there are a lot less nerves because we've been there before," Wallace said. "I know when we won the SEC Tournament it was very exciting, but, at the same time, we've got this feeling before, we've done it before.

"It's experience that kind of calms the nerves and the excitement where we can just go out and play like it's any other day." 

Wallace predicts Saturday night is "going to be electric."

Jane B. Moore Field is sold out. That's inside the park.

"I can't wait to see the fans who park out on the hill... just to try to see over the fence," Wallace said. "It's awesome, and that's why we played so hard to begin with was because we wanted to be able to play in front of our fans."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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