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Tide Softball Struggling to Finish Line

When you can’t win for losing, rain stops the Tide rally in Knoxville Monday


Tide loses third series of 2017

After watching the nation’s hottest team, Tennessee, take two in walk off fashion, the Tide had to reach deep. And, finally after two disastrous outings with the bats against the Vols, Alabama softball finally seemed to have something going in Monday night’s series finale. The Tide was leading 3-1 in the top of the fourth. Then the heavens opened. What looked like a victory—finally—for Bama turned into a cancelled game. One that is entirely erased from the record books.

It’s been that kind of year for the softball team. The conference record is 10-7. The Tide is currently in fifth place behind Florida, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Auburn. Overall Alabama is 36-9. Bama plays host to Pac 12 powerhouse Washington this weekend, then heads to Oxford for a series with Ole Miss (who just swept LSU in Oxford), before finishing conference play with Auburn at home.

The losses have been particularly frustrating, since Alabama has excellent pitching in Alexis Osorio and Sydney Littlejohn. Consider Littlejohn’s record of 14-3. With an ERA of .99 the senior is fourth best in the conference. Her losses include a 1-0 loss to Mississippi State, a 1-0 loss to LSU and a 2-0 loss Sunday night to Tennessee. Osorio’s ERA is 1.23, she is 18-5 and although she leads the league in strikeouts with 225!, like Littlejohn, Osorio has suffered from a lack of run support.

Stats Count

As proof stats can tell the story, Alabama is fifth in the conference in batting hitting .248 as a team, behind the four teams ahead of them in the won loss record, Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn. Bama is fifth in runs scored, fifth in RBI. Third in hitting into double plays.

Two stats that aren’t listed by the SEC (that I can find) are runners left on base and swings at first pitch, two key areas where the Tide has hurt itself this season. Alabama leaves a lot of runners on, which obviously means although they are getting hits, third most in the SEC, they are not getting timely hits.

Demi Turner impact is being felt

Not having the team’s most able batter, Turner was hitting .438, in the line-up due to injury for a protracted period in the heart of conference play has hurt the Tide. The same hitting lulls happened last season when Turner hurt her elbow and was lost for most of the season. Freshman Claire Jenkins has been a pleasant surprising playing Turner’s position (2nd), but she can’t be expected to replace Turner at the plate.

The shut outs started early with a loss to Louisiana Lafayette, (one of two losses to the Ragin’ Cajuns. Oh yeah its University of Louisiana. Oh well!). That one sent warning shivers through me. As in alert! alert! is this going to be another season where sterling pitching is undone by mediocre and sometimes missing hitting? Seems so. Alabama has made a number of young pitchers in the league look better than they are by swinging at first pitches, being unable to string hits together, and demonstrating an inability to manufacture runs when the hits aren’t coming.


Alabama is ranked twelfth this week, going the wrong direction. Keep in mind although the top 16 teams qualify to host a first round regional, only the top 8 teams host a super-regional. And when the conference tournament rolls around May 10-13, only the top four teams get a first round bye. My final concern is that Alabama is 10-7 have played a schedule that just isn’t that tough. The Tide has played its series with many of the lesser teams in 2017: MSU, Missouri, Ark, SC, before they took 2-3 from LSU and lost 2 to Tennessee who has the nation’s longest win streak at 18. They don’t play Florida or Texas A&M, but will finish with arch rival Auburn. (who is having struggles of its own, darn it)

So let’s hope the team was getting it turned around before the rains came Monday in Knoxville, Osorio was looking sharp, the bats were working… keep it up ladies. There is still time. RTR!!!