By: Carson Keel
TUSCALOOSA, Ala- Alabama softball opens its season by splitting its opening day between Lehigh University and Georgia Southern University during the Leadoff Classic. The team lost to Lehigh University seven to four, and then beat Georgia Southern University eight to two.
The first game of the day in the Leadoff Classic was between Lehigh and Georgia Southern, which Lehigh won four to two in a late comeback. This proved to be a foreshadowing of things to come for the Alabama softball team.
Alabama jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning, thanks to a Kenleigh Cahalan single on the first pitch, followed by an Ashley Prange home run on the next pitch to make it a two-to-nothing game. Lehigh, however, would go on to cut that lead in half in the next inning thanks to an RBI by Lehigh catcher Amanda Greaney.
“We played yo-yo softball,” said Coach Patrick Murphy. “We score, they score, we score, they score, it’s not a good thing.”.
Lehigh would go on to tie up the game over the next two innings, earning two solo runs. Alabama then managed to earn a two run lead in the bottom of the fourth, holding it till the top of the seventh.
Strong situational hitting would end up helping Lehigh the most in the seven-to-four win over Alabama, with three runs scored in the seventh that were created by either singles or doubles to help create such a lead that the Tide couldn’t make a comeback from.
However, Game One was not just dark spots. Freshman center fielder Larissa Preuitt made one lone at-bat; she earned a hit, a sign of things to come in the following game.
“Reflecting on having to play Georgia Southern in such a quick turnaround time,” Preuitt said “We talked bouncing back, we have some great leaders on our team, seniors, they’re great, they talked to us and said that we were going to bounce back.”
Well, they certainly did.
If there is ever an example of never wanting to play an Alabama team after such a tough loss, there have been examples to point at already this year alone, but this softball team decided to make a statement with how they felt with a quicker turnaround.
It took four innings for Georgia Southern to get two runs on the board first, but after that, Bama’s offense was on point, earning runs over the next two innings. The same situational hitting that seemed to be on Lehigh’s side during the first game was on the side of the Crimson Tide for the rest of the night, with singles and doubles making up the vast majority of situations where the Tide brought in the runs.
However, shortstop Kali Heivilin brought in the insurance runs the Tide needed after waiting for the perfect ball. After nine pitches, she got it. A home run over the right field wall would make it an eight-to-two game, which would also be the final score.
“Good,” said Heivilin, “Go show them who you really are, good, that’s been our team motto this year.”
If there are doubters, maybe they just watched the first game.
The other star of the game was, as mentioned before, Larissa Preuitt, who earned two runs on two hits in three at-bats.
“It was awesome, it all stems from the dugout, it’s just fun there, I can stay loose,” said Preuitt.
Alabama softball’s next two games will be on Saturday, February 11th, with the rematch against Georgia Southern first at 1:30 PM. The rematch against Lehigh will follow at 4 PM or 30 minutes after the end of the Georgia Southern game.