After inclement weather forced Saturday’s game to be moved to Sunday, the No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide came into the doubleheader looking to build off of a 7-3 win Friday night against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Instead, the Crimson Tide suffered the worst loss in Rhoads Stadium history before managing to win the second game to salvage the series. Despite winning two of three over the weekend, all of the postgame focus was on the one that got away: a 14-0 loss in six innings.
“It’s hard to lose by one, and it just doesn’t even seem real when they score 14 runs and we get one runner in scoring position,” said freshman left fielder Gabby Callaway. “I think we just kind of put that in a box. We’ll sort that out Tuesday at practice, but for now you can’t get into everything that went wrong. There’s just too much.”
The margin of defeat was the highest ever for Alabama in Rhoads Stadium, and the loss was also the first home loss of the season for the Crimson Tide. Junior second baseman Demi Turner had the Crimson Tide’s only two hits.
“It was pretty embarrassing,” said senior right fielder Chandler Dare. “We’re not where we want to be and we have a long way to go. We just see it as an opportunity to get better, we’ve got to get to work in practice and we’ve got to fix something. Right now I think we’re in the wrong routine; we’ve got to just find that routine. Figure out a new routine, and we’ve got to hit better.”
The Crimson Tide committed a couple of errors in the field that proved costly. Junior shortstop Sydney Booker had an error in the fifth inning on a ground ball that loaded the bases, and the Gamecocks drove in two runs in the next at-bat. Turner dove to snag a ball and give herself a chance to get an out in the sixth inning, but her throw was off and the batter reached home safely. Two at-bats later the Gamecocks added two more runs. The game got out of hand in the sixth inning, as the Gamecocks put the nail in the coffin with 8 runs to run-rule Alabama 14-0.
Coach Patrick Murphy said that the team tried to simply put the game in the past in the thirty minutes between games.
“Flush it,” Murphy said. “Get it over with. It’s just one of those godforsaken times in the game of softball and baseball. If you do it long enough you’re going to go through it, and it was just one of those that snowballed.”
In the second game, South Carolina took a brief 2-0 lead in the third inning before the Crimson Tide scored once in the same inning and twice in the fourth for a lead it wouldn’t relinquish en route to a 5-2 win. Freshman left fielder Gabby Callaway went 3-3 with an RBI and junior shortstop Sydney Booker scored two runs to lead the Crimson Tide.
“Gabby Callaway was terrific,” Murphy said. “She just got the barrel on the ball all three times.”
Sophomore left fielder Merris Schroeder didn’t play in the series after suffering a concussion in practice on Thursday. In her place, sophomore Mari Cranek had four hits on the weekend, earning some praise from her coach.
“Everybody was complimenting both of them [Callaway and Cranek], especially Mari,” Murphy said. “It was next woman up and she was it, and she did it. More power to her and just the way she approached her at-bats…She more than filled the spot.”
The Crimson Tide has a short turnaround before taking on Kent State at home Tuesday night, and with an upcoming trip to Missouri next weekend, Murphy is giving his players Monday off. Dare said the team will use the day without practice to put in some individual work.
“Some of us will come in and hit on our own. I think that’ll be good for our whole team if we did that,” Dare said. “It’s basically just whatever you do on your own, some tee work, just kind of feeling good. I’ll definitely watch a lot of film and kind of knowing what to expect, what’s going to come.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports