Softball pitches two shutouts in doubleheader sweep of Copiah-Lincoln

Blake Byler, Assistant Sports Editor

Alabama continued its fall softball schedule on Sunday in a doubleheader against Copiah-Lincoln Community College, which competes in the National Junior College Athletic Association. The Crimson Tide recorded shutouts in both games, 2-0 and 17-0, behind starting pitchers Montana Fouts and Alex Salter. 

“We found out tonight that the combination of Montana [Fouts] and Alex [Salter] was awesome,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “Montana’s throwing 68-72 then Salter’s coming in throwing it everywhere and it looks like a whiffle ball. That combination was very promising.” 

Murphy’s squad has now pitched shutouts in four straight fall exhibition games. 

Alabama’s offense didn’t get going until the third inning of game one — when Ball State transfer and reigning MAC Player of the Year Faith Hensley hit a leadoff double for the Crimson Tide’s first hit of the game. She advanced to third off a sac bunt from junior Kat Grill but was tagged out at home plate on her attempt to score. Copiah-Lincoln recovered well and held Alabama scoreless in the inning, stranding two runners in the process.  

Starting pitcher Montana Fouts put up a no-hitter through three innings, but a double in the fourth gave the Wolves their first hit of the game. The Alabama defense held, though, closing the half-inning with the score still knotted at zero.  

Alabama scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth after a sac bunt from senior Jenna Johnson brought in freshman Larissa Preuitt. Preuitt, a Hartselle, Alabama native, did not get the start but entered the game to pinch run after junior KJ Haney was walked. 

Copiah-Lincoln was held scoreless for the remainder of the game thanks to an impressive 10 strikeouts from Fouts. 

Senior Ally Shipman didn’t start either, but entered the game in the bottom of the seventh — which was still played due to the game being an exhibition — and knocked a solo home run into the Rhoads Stadium scoreboard to score the Crimson Tide’s second and final run of the game.   

Murphy wanted to see a bit more from his team than what he got in game one. 

“We relied on Montana [Fouts] obviously, and I think our standards are higher than what we saw in the first game,” Murphy said. “She pitched a good game, but we have to score more.” 

The second game saw the Alabama bats get significantly hotter.  

The Crimson Tide wasted no time putting a runner on base after a leadoff single from freshman Kristen White. She scored three batters later — after a fly into deep right field from senior Ashley Prange was dropped by a Copiah-Lincoln outfielder.  

Later on in the inning, junior Bailey Dowling drilled a three-RBI double into left field, bringing home Preuitt, Prange and junior M’Kay Gidley. Dowling herself scored shortly after following a wild pitch, bringing the Alabama lead to 5-0 at the end of an exciting first inning.  

The Crimson Tide offense picked right back up where it left off in the second inning with a leadoff solo shot from sophomore Kali Heivilin. Freshman Abby Duchscherer sent a solo home run of her own over the center field wall in the third, putting Alabama ahead by eight runs.  

Heivilin’s second at-bat went much like her first, blasting another home run into left field — this time bringing in a batter with her. Later on in the inning, Dowling sent a three-run home run into left field, giving Alabama seven runs in the inning and a 17-0 lead, which would hold until the game was called after five innings.  

Murphy said Heivilin played in a Florida Gulf Coast League in the summer for six weeks to see live action in the summer and improve, and he’s seen how beneficial it’s been for her.  

Murphy added that the collection of new faces on the team is gelling well with the returners as fall play has continued. 

“We have four seniors, four freshmen and three transfers,” Murphy said. “There’s a really good mix of old and new. The seniors and the freshmen have really come together and it’s fun to see that. Days like today are really fun to be a hitter.” 

Alabama will be back in action for more fall play on Saturday, Oct. 29, in a doubleheader against in-state schools Wallace State Community College and Birmingham Southern College. The first game will begin at 2 p.m. CT. Neither game will be televised. 

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]