[NOTE: Sorry to my regular readers - both of you - for the tardiness of recaps for this past weekend. Sometimes, life gets in the way. But I am back and all is well.]
It was at this point in the Alabama softball season a year ago when everything was called off. The Crimson Tide (14-8) had just taken two of three from Arkansas and was starting to look like there was light at the end of the tunnel.
This year is different in many ways. For beginners, when the Tide takes the field against Tennessee on Friday, they will surpass last year’s threshold of cancellation. Additionally, it is a deeper and better Alabama lineup who seems confident and focused. Aside for the hiccup against South Alabama, the Crimson Tide has been mostly dominant so far in this campaign.
One other big change is Bailey Hemphill. In 2020, she did not have the power nor too many big hits in key situations. For this season, she is looking like the All-American from 2019 who saw her lead the nation with 26 home runs and 59 RBI - that is when the opposition opts to pitch to her. Her big bat is joined by Kaylee Tow (second on the team in runs scored and RBI) and fab frosh Bailey Dowling who leads the team in RBI with 24. Alexis Mack is unstoppable leading in runs and hits (.452 BA, 25 runs, 10 stolen bases).
The two-headed pitching monster of Montana Fouts and Lexi Kilfoyl are downright scary. They have a combined ERA of 0.69.
Lost behind the well-deserved accolades of the Men’s basketball team is this special Team25 who could also be a contender for the top trophy in their sport
Someone call the police. I have a murder to report.
GAME ONE: ALABAMA 6 AUBURN 0 - BAILEY BOMBS
Hemphill had two home runs - one that broke a window in Toomer’s Drugs - and a double for 5 RBI. Dowling also had a solo shot. Kilfoyl tossed a complete game shutout with a season-tying high ten strikeouts and no walks.
GAME TWO: ALABAMA 4 AUBURN 1 - TWO FOR TOW
Tow had three double and knocked in two runs. Dowling had an RBI single. Hemphill walked twice and was twice hit by pitches. They skeered! Fouts (8-1) had 7 Ks in another complete game win. The one Auburn run was of the unearned variety.
GAME THREE: ALABAMA 4 AUBURN 2
Kilfoyl (9-0) had a rough third inning, yielding a single, double, single that gave the Tigers an early 2-0 lead. Dowling’s three-run dinger in the top of 5th gave Bama the first lead of the game. Fouts would take over in the circle in the fifth inning and allowed only one base runner over the next three innings for her first save of the season.
STATS ‘N’ STUFF
Montana Fouts and Lexi Kilfoyl rank third and sixth nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio ... Arizona State is the only other school with two pitchers in the top 25#Team25 #RollTide pic.twitter.com/WRhNAGK2Mu— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) March 16, 2021
- Hemphill was all over the bases, going 4 for 6 with 4 walks and 2 hit by a pitch.
- Elissa Brown got back on track, hitting 4 of 9 with 2 runs and 2 stolen bases.
- Dowling had two round-trippers and stole a base. However, she left 11 runners on base over the three games including bases loaded twice in Game 3. It’s a good thing she also had a 3-run shot in that game.
- Both Baileys led the weekend in RBI with five apiece.
- Mack had five hits in 11 at bats and scored three runs.
- Tow had three doubles, a single, two runs, two RBI.
- KB Sides was back in the starting lineup and may have been a little rusty as she struck out three times. However, she still had three hits, an RBI and a run.
- Lexi Kilfoyl was again the designated hitter for one game and pulled an 0-3 and left two on base. I swear Patrick Murphy is doing this just to annoy me.
- Claire Jenkins had an ofer-the-weekend (0-7) but walked three times and stole a base. She also played stellar defense at shortstop.
Due to forecasted weather in the Birmingham area, Wednesday’s game between UAB and Alabama has been postponed. The two teams will work together to reschedule the contest.
Tennessee (18-3) comes to town Friday having lost two of three to LSU in Knoxville this past weekend (Fri 6pm ESPNU, Sat 2pm SECN+, Sun 1pm ESPNU).