Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Softball team prepares for World Series

    Caitlin Trotter

    In 2009, Florida ended Alabama’s season, hitting a two-out, walk-off grand slam in the Women’s College World Series semi-final. In 2010, the Tide couldn’t make it back to Omaha, losing in the Super Regional on a walk-off home run to Hawaii. There was no walk-off in 2011, but instead, the Tide was stunned by Florida twice in one day – 16-2 and 9-2 losses – once again sending the Tide home empty.

    Alabama enters the 2012 Women’s College World Series with the memories of the previous three years still fresh in its mind. The Tide is still looking for the first national title in program history and believes 2012 could be the year to do it.

    Sophomore Kaila Hunt said the team was very confident going into this series.

    “I would not want to be playing with anyone else,” Hunt said. “We have the pitching staff, we have the hitters, and everybody’s on the same page.”

    The Tide had a relatively smooth path to Oklahoma City, going undefeated in the SEC Championship, Regionals, and Super Regional play, but the competition will only ramp up this weekend.

    No. 2-seed Alabama will begin its quest for the title against a familiar foe, playing the No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers on Thursday at 6 p.m. From there, the Tide could play either No. 11 Oregon State or No. 3 Arizona State in the double-elimination tournament. If Alabama advances to the finals, it would play a best-of-three series against the winner of the other bracket, which includes South Florida, No. 4 Oklahoma, LSU and No. 1 California.

    “We’re very excited,” senior Jennifer Fenton said. “From a little kid, we’ve all wanted to be able to play in the World Series. It’s a dream come true, and it’s humbling, and we’re just very excited to play the best teams in the country and peak at the right time and get out there and play.”

    It all starts in the circle for Alabama, where the Tide has depended on ace right-hander Jackie Traina all season. Traina went 37-2 on the year, posting an ERA of 1.67. She pitched in all of Alabama’s Regional and Super Regional games and will more than likely get the start in all of the Tide’s games in Oklahoma City.

    “She’s got that uncanny ability to not worry about stuff,” head coach Patrick Murphy said. “It doesn’t get to her. She’s very even-keeled.”

    Murphy said the whole team needs the same attitude if they want to finally reach the top in Oklahoma City. This will be the Tide’s eighth trip to the World Series, and with what he called the best team depth he’s ever coached, Murphy believes this could be the year.

    “I’ve asked [Alabama gymnastics coach] Sarah Patterson several things. I’ve asked coaches who have won softball championships. They all say the same thing,” Murphy said. “Just do what you’ve been doing. Don’t do anything different. Just be loose. So that’s what I’m trying to do.”


    Alexis Paine contributed to this report.

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