The Alabama softball team claimed its first national championship in program history as it downed Oklahoma, 5-4, Wednesday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. "First, I just want to say thank you to everybody involved with the tournament," Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. "It was a heck of a run for us, a dream-come true for everybody at Alabama, and I've got to congratulate Oklahoma on a heck of a year. I definitely think they'll be back." With the win, Alabama won the best-of-three series against the Sooners, 2-1, and finished the season, 60-8. The Crimson Tide becomes the first school from the Southeastern Conference to ever win a national title in softball. Oklahoma ends their season with a 54-10 record. "For us, I don't think it's sunk in yet," Murphy added. "It's been a long time coming. It's just been an incredible nine or ten days here in Oklahoma City, and each game just got better and better and better. I'm just thrilled with the championship."
The 2012 NCAA Champion Alabama softball team will be returning to Tuscaloosa Thursday afternoon at approximately 12 p.m. CDT. Alabama fans are invited to welcome the Crimson Tide coaches and players as they bring the program's first national championship back to Tuscaloosa. The Bama Air Terminal is located at 4800 Carter Drive in Tuscaloosa.
The national championship is Alabama's fourth during the 2011-12 academic year, tying a Southeastern Conference record set by Arkansas in 1994 and tied by Georgia in 1999. Alabama never previously had won more than one national championship before the gymnastics team and women's golf team won titles to go with the crown the football team won in January. Alabama is the first SEC team to win the national championship in softball. This was the Tide's eighth appearance in the WCWS.
The University of Alabama softball team needed a break Wednesday night. It came from the skies. The Oklahoma Sooners were up three runs and looking like they were headed to a runaway victory in the decisive game of the Women's College World Series best-of-three national championship series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Then, in the bottom of the fourth inning, came the rain. It was a light rain, more of a mist, but it caused Oklahoma to lose its grip. And its composure. Alabama scored four runs in that rain-delayed inning and took over the game, pulling away for a 5-4 victory to claim the national championship. Alabama finished off a 60-8 season by winning 13 of its last 14 games, with the only defeat coming in the first game of the title series. Oklahoma finished 54-10.
For Oklahoma, immortality will have to wait. Justice, too. Give the Sooners an assist Wednesday night and early Thursday morning at Hall of Fame Stadium, for they failed to right the ship in time. And still, understand well this was no way to determine a national champion. But it did. Alabama. The Crimson Tide stopped the Sooners 5-4 at 12:31 Thursday morning. They did it, more than anything, with a quartet of fourth-inning runs. It just happened to be the same inning the rains came back to northeast Oklahoma City, which just happened to coincide with a walk and three wild pitches — Sooner pitcher Keilani Ricketts unable to control the ball out of her fingers — that led directly to the Crimson Tide’s first run of the game. (ed.- the only thing this is missing is a colt mccoy's shoulder reference.)
First, the rain started drizzling down across ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Then the Oklahoma Sooners stopped hitting. Keilani Ricketts went from striking out Alabama batters to throwing wild pitches. And the Crimson Tide danced and sang and swung away until they had climbed out of an early hole and won a stunning national championship. The final score after a long, crazy final night at the 2012 Women's College World Series Wednesday: Alabama 5, Oklahoma 4. The Crimson Tide, winners of Games 2 and 3 in the best-of-3 final series, had their first national softball championship after so many near misses. Now it is the Sooners, four innings from their second title and their first since 2000, who must live with an offseason of what ifs. What if it doesn't rain right through the fourth inning?
Ricketts didn’t want to use the rain as an excuse. "Honestly, I just wanted to pitch through it," Ricketts said. "I wasn’t really focused on the rain. I didn’t realize it was affecting the way I was pitching, even though I was throwing a lot of wild pitches."
Alabama rallied from an early deficit and upended Oklahoma, 5-4 in a winner-take-all Game 3 of the Women's College World Series final. Wednesday's comeback victory gave the Crimson Tide their first softball championship. It was also the first softball title for the SEC. After a three-hour rain delay at the start of the game, Alabama fell behind 3-0 following home runs by Keilani Ricketts and Lauren Chamberlain. But the second-seeded Tide got to Ricketts in the fourth, plating four runs amid another stoppage in play. Courtney Conley had the tying RBI and scored the go-ahead run, and Jackie Traina (42-3) did the rest as she settled down to go the distance, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks.
Softball fans had to wait it out from Wednesday evening into the wee hours of the morning to learn who would win this year's NCAA Women's College World Series. After numerous rain delays, the Alabama Crimson Tide earned its first NCAA National Championship with a 5-4 win over the Sooners.. Heavy and slow moving rain delayed the game nearly three hours but the teams eventually returned to the dampened field and got things started just before 10 p.m.
All this time, I was under the impression that our collective passion for college football went hand-in-hand with its unique quirks. Yes, it drives us crazy at times, but what would college football be without all those oddities -- Top 25 polls, the spread-option, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Signing Day, War Eagle -- exclusive to the sport? The answer, of course, is that it would be the NFL, but with less talented, unpaid players. Yet what Ian and many, many others (including Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott) are saying is that they WANT the sport to be more like the NFL. That saddens me. Why would we want to turn such a vibrant sport into a clone?
The University of Alabama continued to stay active on the recruiting trail in May, reeling in three new 2013 commitments, including two in the new ESPN 150 rankings that were released Wednesday. The most noteworthy commitment in May came from Salt Lake City quarterback Cooper Bateman. Bateman is ranked No. 62 in the ESPN 150, and he's the Crimson Tide's first high-profile quarterback commit since Phillip Sims in 2010. Alabama also landed Ashburn, Va., defensive end Jonathan Allen, ranked No. 72. Allen, who chose UA over Florida, projects as a potential Jack linebacker in the Tide's defense. Bateman and Allen make it six of the 14 Alabama commitments who are ranked in the new ESPN 150.
"There's been less focus on college players who don't go on to play professional sports, but I think you'll see that getting more attention and go down to people who play it at every level," said University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, who is heading the SEC concussion group. "From time to time we have all had concerns of what we ask student-athletes to do and what the long-term health may be."
"I'm satisfied with what everybody determined, but in all honesty, I was kind of for playing more games. When you increase the size of the league by 15 percent, you've almost got to play more games to get a true indication of who is the best team in the league," Saban said at the Regions Tradition golf tournament at Shoal Creek on Wednesday. "I think we should come up with some format in the future where every player in the league gets an opportunity to play every team in the league. We've kind of had that in the past. This format won't necessarily give every player an opportunity to do that."