Alabama softball wins first game of regionals against LIU


Alabama softball player Kali Heivilin (#22) celebrates a home run against Long Island University on May 19 at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Courtesty of UA Athletics)

Dean Harrell, Contributing Writer

The Alabama softball team was finally able to return home to Rhoads Stadium as it hosted regionals for the NCAA softball tournament. For its first matchup on Friday night, the Crimson Tide faced off against the Long Island University Sharks.  

Starting the weekend off on the right foot, Alabama began its tournament run with a 5-0 shutout victory over LIU. 

A typical point of emphasis for this Alabama team is getting runs on the board early. The Crimson Tide was able to score in the first inning. Graduate student Ashley Prange ripped a two-out double to put herself in scoring position, and junior Bailey Dowling followed with a double of her own to bring home Prange for the first run of the game, accomplishing the task at hand. 

Keeping up the strong offensive attack, head coach Patrick Murphy’s squad was able to tack on two more runs in the second inning. Junior Emma Broadfoot led the inning off with a walk, and sophomore Kali Heivilin delivered a towering two-run home run to left field to increase the Crimson Tide lead to 3-0. 

“Emma got on base, and I was fired up and ready to go,” Heivilin said. “Having that mindset all week, that we’re going to prove to everybody that we deserved this seed, really fired me up to just go out there and have fun and show them who you are.” 

Even after scoreless third and fourth innings, the Alabama offense did not falter. With one out, Prange walked, and senior Faith Hensley replaced her as a pinch runner. Soon after, senior Ally Shipman drilled a two-run home run to bring home Hensley and bring the lead to 5-0. 

Maintaining the strong performance, the Crimson Tide were able to fend off the Sharks in the final two innings and walked away with the victory.  

Junior Jaala Torrence took the reins in the circle for Alabama as she pitched a complete game shutout. Torrence struck out five batters and gave up only four hits in her first start of the NCAA tournament.  

“I love playing behind Jaala every time she gets to pitch, it just fires me up,” freshman Kristen White said. “Jaala is strong; she was locked in before the game when she was warming up, so playing behind her is easy when I know she has confidence in herself.” 

Even without senior ace Montana Fouts in the circle for the Crimson Tide for game one, her leadership remains just as important for this team. 

“She’s been such an asset for me. She talked to me that whole game, asking me how I felt and how the pitches felt,” Torrence said. “I feel like our team appreciates her so much. Whether she’s on the field or in the dugout, she makes a difference for us.” 

The Crimson Tide will continue to the second round of regionals as it will host the Middle Tennessee University Blue Raiders on Saturday at noon CT.