By (Ehsan Kassim)

Peyton Grantham will get a second chance at an opportunity she thought she had lost when she tore her ACL and missed her entire sophomore season.

Grantham, who is from Daphne, Alabama, will get an opportunity to open her final season at Alabama at home.

The Alabama Crimson Tide softball team will open it’s season in Mobile on Thursday and the Gulf Shores on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Daphne is literally almost right in the middle of South Alabama and Gulf Shores,” Grantham said. “My dad lives in Orange Beach, so it kind of works out.”

She will stay with her team, not her dad, but is excited for the chance to play in front of her family, and when head coach Patrick Murphy made the schedule, he made sure to keep Grantham in mind.

“It was great to see everyone then, but not being on the field was a hard thing,” Grantham said. “Getting to go down there again is special and I am just grateful Murph’s allowing me a second trip.”

Grantham redshirted her sophomore season, making her a fifth-year senior. She graduated last year with a degree in criminal justice and will graduate in the summer with her master’s in human environmental science and a certificate in conflict negotiation.

Murphy believes Grantham has served as a bridge from the coaching staff to the players, helping the rest of the team understand the importance of how Alabama runs its program.

“She’s been a good sounding board for us,” he said. “She’s experienced a lot. She adds a lot of good insight, especially when we get on people. She’ll come back around and say, ‘This is why he said that. Be worried if he doesn’t talk to you. Because if he says something to you, he must like you. If he doesn’t say anything to you, he’s given up on you.’ I know she’s said that to a couple of kids.”

Grantham is one of six seniors on the team this season, something Murphy points out that has been an advantage for the program historically.

“The best teams we’ve had have had six seniors,” Murphy said. “I don’t know why, but it has been historically. It’s been a good number for us.”

While Grantham is penciled in as the starting third baseman, Murphy points out that not all the seniors will be starting.

“They have been really good kids in terms of role players, putting the team first. I think that rubs off on everyone,” he said.

Knowing it is her final hoorah in an Alabama uniform, Grantham plans to leave it all on the field this season. She also realizes that losing to Florida last season in the super regionals foiled a chance at history her class had, which she believes will help the team this season.

“Our class, which is not my class anymore, would have been the first to do all four years [reaching the Softball World Series]” she said. “To still have the opportunity to go four years is still pretty cool. I just think that humbled us a lot. We’ve been in all the super regionals, so it kind of gets like, ‘OK, what’s next?’ But now it’s like, ‘regionals isn’t enough.’”

Grantham may have lost playing time her sophomore year due to injury, but she learned things sitting on the bench she wouldn’t have otherwise.

“I helped Steph [Prothro] call pitches,” she said. “Obviously she called them, but I was the one that would relay them to the catcher. I got to see and learn how to set up a batter and what a pitching coach thinks from that standpoint. I feel like that has helped me in my knowledge of how someone will try to set me up.”

Alabama starts its season against South Alabama on Thursday.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports