Softball opens season with 2-1 record in Leadoff Classic

Ivan Pelley, Contributing Writer

This past weekend, Alabama softball opened its 25th season under head coach Patrick Murphy in a tough fought match against Lehigh University in the Leadoff Classic, the first of three games it would play on opening weekend. In the end, Alabama came away with a tough loss, with a final score of 7-4.   

Throughout the first few innings, Alabama and Lehigh exchanged scores, and the outcome never seemed clear. Both teams entered the seventh inning with points on the board, and it was in the final inning that Lehigh burst out in front thanks to a three run double.

“Lehigh hit the ball, period,” Murphy said.  

In a game with zero errors and good defense played, Alabama found little lacking in its own play. In the end it was simply an excellent final inning from Lehigh’s Emily Cimino, who had already scored a two-run home run earlier in the match. Cimino hit the ball beautifully down the middle and left the Tide scrambling to recover — seconds too late. 

“Bounce back” were the words of the day; in the second game of the double header on Friday, Alabama blew by Georgia Southern University in a 8-2 win.  

While the first three innings went scoreless, Georgia Southern crept out to a two-run lead by the middle of the fourth inning. By the bottom of the fourth, however, the Crimson Tide had scored three runs and taken the lead. In the fifth inning, Alabama scored five more runs unanswered and Georgia Southern was held scoreless until the game ended.  

For the Crimson Tide, sophomore Kali Heivilin was the main story of the game. She was responsible for one of the runs in the fourth inning and followed it up with a monstrous three-run home run to put the game away in the seventh. 

After a one loss, one victory start to the season-opening weekend, Alabama looked to put another mark in the win category the following day, playing a second game against both teams.  

First up was a second game against Georgia Southern; while Alabama had won the first game against this team, a victory was not a given. Despite this, in the end the Tide ran away with it. At the end of the seventh inning, the final score was 13-1.  

At the top of the fourth inning, the score was a modest 4-1 Alabama lead. By the end of the inning, Alabama had 13 points on the board. It seemed like every player on the team was having a day of it, with seven members on the roster getting a hit in. Senior Ashley Prange and Heivilin both had multi-hit games, while freshman Kenleigh Calahan and junior Jenna Johnson both led the team with 3 RBIs.

Despite looking forward to a rematch, the second game of the day against Lehigh ended up cancelled due to inclement weather, and the match was not rescheduled.  

Murphy felt positive about the result after Saturday’s play.  

“After the first loss this weekend, the two wins definitely build momentum, especially finishing this one off in five innings,” Murphy said.  

It’s rare for any team to have a flawless season, and though a loss has come early in Alabama’s, the team seems unworried and eager for any challenge that the season may bring