Months after finally winning the program’s first national title, the Alabama softball team is ready to begin its run at another title in 2013.
The Tide’s road to another national title begins Friday, as it heads to its UNI Dome Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa. There, the team will take on Illinois and Northern Iowa on Friday, Drake and Green Bay on Saturday and North Dakota State on Saturday.
Even with the team’s lengthy hiatus from softball, Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said his team wasn’t worried or pressured heading into its opening weekend.
“This isn’t a one-and-done situation,” Murphy said. “If you screw up once, that’s not it. You’re not in the doghouse.”
Seniors Kayla Braud and Kaila Hunt shared the same sentiments as their coach. Rather than preseason anxiety, both said excitement was the main emotion throughout the team, a feeling that has even found root in the team’s freshmen.
Both Braud and Hunt said they were excited to actually play an opposing team, rather than just scrimmaging against themselves.
“It was actually me and Braud, we were just talking about, ‘We finally get to play someone other than ourselves,’” Hunt said. “And we actually get to put the same uniform on….”
Even with the players’ excitement and confidence heading into the matchup, Murphy said their opening weekend would provide a multitude of talented teams for them to face – teams the Tide can’t afford to overlook.
“… You have a Big 10 school, you have Northern Iowa who won the Missouri Valley, you have North Dakota State, who’s been in the last two Regionals,” Murphy said. “And then the other two teams, Green Bay and Drake are probably on the upswing.”
Braud said the fact that the team was able to practice all offseason and preseason will only mean good things once it heads up to Cedar Falls, Iowa. Braud said both the pitchers and batters will have seen great improvement from competing against each other.
Apart from helping the players improve, the fact that Alabama has been able to scrimmage itself numerous times has also allowed the team to avoid any rust that may have otherwise set in.
Now, rather than trying to shake the dust off from the dormancy of the offseason, the players will be able to adjust their roles quickly in the first few games.
“It’s not fun facing Jackie Traina and Leslie Jury over and over again,” Braud said. “I don’t want to do that. I’m going to feel bad for the other teams that face us.”
Leading in today’s Crimson White: