Lights, camera, action: Auburn soaking in World Series
May 26, 2015

BranndiMelero
Auburn's McKenzie Kilpatrick, Morgan Estell and Branndi Melero take center stage in preparation for the College World Series

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Auburn started inside in batting cages then moved outside to do its running on a baseball field before taking grounders on a football field to finally finding a dry softball field, thank goodness, to practice its defense.

Not to worry, says Auburn coach Clint Myers, the Tigers will continue to make do.

The Tigers' softball team seemed no worse for wear by the wet weather that has caused it to change things on the fly, and Myers certainly wasn't rattled in soggy Oklahoma on Tuesday as Auburn worked toward its first-ever appearance in the College World Series against LSU on Thursday.

Auburn players are rookies at all of this, but not Myers, who is taking a team to the World Series for the eighth time. A little rain hasn't dampened Auburn's spirits and Myers fit in with all the veteran teams with their World Series coaches who attended a dinner for the teams Tuesday night.

He was modest in accepting praise.

"We're winning despite the coaching," he told UCLA assistant coach and obvious acquaintance Kirk Walker, who knew better.

Auburn, with its school-best 54-9 record, was the first team to arrive for Tuesday's dinner, and was the first team in to tape pregame introductions. The trio of Branndi Melero, Morgan Estell and McKenzie Kilpatrick, Auburn's three seniors, had the honors first. Take One was good. Take Two was better. The duo of Sydne Waldrop and Victoria Draper followed, happy to give their support to Auburn with the camera rolling.

When that stopped, the dinner began and each team sent a representative to answer questions, and for Auburn, it was pitcher Lexi Davis.

The reason, she was asked, why has Auburn improved.

"The coaching staff," she said, "From Day One, they said we'd make to the College World Series."

LSU's A.J. Andrews took a different approach to her question.

"Look good, feel good," she said as the secret to success as laughter filled the room.

Auburn's first two days of nomadic practices will come to an end Wednesday, the Tigers hope, when they work out at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Make that, the biggest softball stadium around and the home of the College World Series, putting Auburn in its biggest venue yet. The coaching staff has told the team to be prepared for the big crowds.

Of course, Wednesday's practice may be contingent on yet more rain during the wettest month in Oklahoma history, and the forecast for each of the next four days calls for scattered thunderstorms.

Nobody wants that. There are a lot of games to be played in this eight-team, SEC-dominated, double-elimination tournament that features Auburn against LSU at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN. 

Most of these teams know how it's done. And Myers, a self-described oldtimer at this, has worked out more contingency plans if thunderstorms disrupt Wednesday's work.

That's then. Now,  it's 10:30 Tuesday night and he's at the front desk of the team hotel with a long list of rooms assigned a 7:30 wake-up call. Wednesday will be busy, he knows, with a trip to the stadium for the first time, for photos he knows everybody will want, for interviews with ESPN, for press conferences, for practice.

But, right now, Clint Myers is looking for people at the front desk. He will find a way to make do.

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


 

 

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