Tide wins final Easton game

Cyrus Ntakirutinka

The Alabama softball team, ranked sixth in the nation, improved to a 14-5 record after beating the DePaul Blue Demons 6-4 at home in the final game of the Easton Challenge Sunday.

Alabama held off a late run by DePaul in the seventh inning thanks to freshman pitcher Lauren Sewell, who got out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs to clinch the victory for the Crimson Tide.

“As a freshman with bases loaded, I feel like it’s a lot of pressure on my back, but I try not to think about it,” Sewell said. “I try to think it’s no outs, no one on [base] and just pitching regularly like I do. After doing that it makes me feel more positive.”

Sewell has been a force for the Crimson Tide in tough situations late in games this year. Head coach Patrick Murphy said he thought the freshman helps to fortify Alabama’s pitching depth.

“She throws hard,” Murphy said. “She’s the hardest [thrower] of the three that we had in there today. She just did her job, she had four pitches and three were strikes, she came back after the kid hit a long fly ball and got her looking.”

The Tide swung the bats well early as the team scored five runs in the first inning alone, partially due to sophomore Olivia Gibson’s two-run double. With the bases loaded and battling DePaul’s Becca Heteniak, Gibson waited for the pitch inside.

“I tried to stay within myself and looked for one pitch, I found that pitch, so it worked out,” Gibson said. “I just concentrated on our motto this year which is ‘Get Big.’ It’s not changing anything. It’s just knowing that we’re big, we can do it, we’ve been there before. We just concentrate on the positives that we’ve been doing and just keep going.”

The win was the second against DePaul in the Easton Challenge tournament. Alabama dropped both games against the seventh ranked Michigan Wolverines 5-2 and 4-2 respectively. Despite the loss, Murphy said he has seen improvement from the Tide’s play this weekend.

“The defense this weekend was so much better,” Murphy said. “The defense was much better, the infield defense was sharp, third base made some great plays, and Whitney Larson made some good plays at shortstop. I think definitely the team defense was better. It’s a work in progress.”

While he said expectations for the team may be high for the young players, the progress over the course of the season will be beneficial towards a successful season. Murphy said the tough competition Alabama has been facing at the start of this season can only help.

“I think with the competition we’ve played,” Murphy said. “With the pitchers we faced, everybody could have a negative scowl on their faces because there’s a lot of kids that are getting shutdown hitting. So we just need to keep working hard and keep getting better knowing we’ve faced some good pitching. Hopefully the pitching down the road is going to look easier because we faced such good pitchers early.”

Alabama will face Liberty next at the Alabama Softball Complex Tuesday in a double header that begins at 3 p.m.