TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama Softball team played their second exhibition double header this past Sunday against Wallace State Community College. The offense put up 18 combined runs in the two games, but it was the young leadoff hitters Kristen White and Lauren Johnson who got things rolling for the Tide.

“I think they set the tone for today. In that first inning White and Lauren Preuitt both got singles and then Kenleigh Cahalan got the RBIs to start it and right away we’re up 3-0 in the first inning,” said Head Coach Patrick Murphy.

“I think that set the tone for that entire game. But it doesn’t happen if the lead off doesn’t get on.”

After her leadoff single in the first inning, White would also add two more singles finishing the game three for three with three runs scored and two RBIs.

“I felt really confident today. I was seeing the ball like really good today for some reason,” said White. “I’ve been putting a lot of work in the cages and in practice this past week.”

In 2023, White started 43 games as a freshman in the outfield. She finished the season with a .339 on base percentage and stole 14 bases.

“Kristen really showed how good she could be at the end of last year. SEC tournament, regionals and super regionals she was terrific,” said Murphy.

White had back-to-back multi-hit games in the regional tournament against LIU and Middle Tennessee.

In game two, it was the bottom of the third and both teams were still scoreless. Johnson stepped up to the plate to lead off the inning. After a long hard fought battle Johnson would take a pitch to the elbow and trot to first base. This may not seem like much, but getting the leadoff hitter on would provide the offense with some much-needed momentum. The bats would get hot, and the Tide would plate five runners in the inning.

“Lo Joe (Lauren Johnson), she’s got a great running game. She’s got really good sense on the bases. And her hitting Is starting to come around,” said Murphy.

She was able to steal a base and score easily on a base hit to the outfield. Later in the game she chopped a ball to third and because of her speed caused an errant throw. She also advanced to second on the throw and later scored on a base hit.

“My job is to get on base and just run the bases. I just know the people behind me and what they can do,” said Johnson.

As a freshman both Johnson and Murphy agree there are things she can work on, but both are excited to see the strides she can make.

“I think I need to get a little bit stronger and hit more line drives into the gaps,” said Johnson.

“She’s been working hard in the weight room, and I think getting stronger and getting her hitting going is going to come,” said Murphy.

The team has two more exhibition games coming up this fall with the regular season set to begin in February.


Nazario Pangallo is a contributor for WVUA-FM.