Hardy’s home run propels softball to weekend sweep


By Hannah Saad

James Benedetto, Staff Reporter

Thirty minutes before the Alabama-Louisiana Monroe game on Sunday, senior Caroline Hardy was being recognized for all of her accomplishments in her four-year career.

The fans at Rhodes Stadium rose to their feet as Hardy and her family took a picture together while the Neil Diamond song “Sweet Caroline” played over the speakers. After wiping away tears from her eyes, Hardy got ready for the ceremonial first pitch, which she received from her father.

Senior day was her day; it was her big moment.


In the bottom of the fifth, Hardy stepped up to the plate with freshman Kloyee Anderson standing at second. This moment was crucial, as it was the fourth inning.

The Warhawks pushed a run across to trim the Alabama lead to one, swinging all the momentum in the favor of ULM. After battling through seven pitches, Hardy got a pitch she could handle: a change-up that she belted over the left field wall to give Alabama a three-run lead.

“That was a fun at-bat,” Hardy said. “[ULM pitcher Karly Taranto] is a good pitcher. She had us going for a long time, just battling and battling. The more I fouled them off, the more I got that feeling of ‘OK, now I have seen every pitch so I know that she is not going to beat me.’ We needed a spark. We needed offense.”

A spark was definitely needed. The Crimson Tide only mustered three hits and left seven runners on base before Hardy’s home run.

“Thank God Caroline [Hardy] showed up,” coach Patrick Murphy said. “She was really the only hitter that showed up all day. I know she had a lot of people here because she was trying to get tickets from everybody all weekend. She showed up, and the home run at-bat was a hell of an at-bat. It was a great at-bat. She got rid of a couple of change-ups, got rid of an inside hard pitch, and then [Taranto] threw something over the plate and she hammered it.”

Hardy was prepared for her moment because she has been preparing her whole career. According to Murphy, Hardy has been the most prepared player on the team.

“She studies the game,” Murphy said. “Before [batting practice] I said, ‘Reagan [Dykes’] skill set is almost like a CEO.’ Caroline’s skill set is like a coach, administrator. First, they are picking the right professions and then second, they are perfect fits for that. [Hardy] is another coach in the dugout. She really studies the pitcher, is a good teammate. She will probably know what the opposing pitcher is throwing before she throws it. When kids are like that, you hope for success.”

Hardy’s teammates also recognize her preparation.

“Caroline is great,” senior pitcher Courtney Gettins said. “She’s a great team player. She wants the best for everyone. It’s great to see that happen to her. She showed up and showed out, so I am so happy for her.”

Because of her performances, her teammates will turn to her for advice about the game.

“She is softball savvy,” Gettins said. “She loves reading the game, she is a student of the game and a lot of the girls will turn to her for advice in hitting.”


Despite a close game against No. 24 Minnesota on Saturday, Alabama’s offense was firing on all cylinders this past weekend at the Easton Bama Bash. The Crimson Tide scored five or more runs in four of the five games played and scored a combined total of 30 runs over the weekend.

“It’s just spread around,” Murphy said. “That’s what I love about this team. You can’t really key on one person. Maddie Morgan, I thought played really well at third base defensively, and Elissa Brown, you’ve got to tip your cap to her. She was awesome all weekend defensively, and she came up with some big hits, Bailey [Hemphill] had a big home run.”

Alabama is now 15-0 after the Easton Bama Bash. The weekend was capped off by a strong pitching performance by Gettins. She pitched a complete game against the Warhawks allowing one earned run on three hits and struck out five batters in a 5-1 victory.

“Working ahead and mixing up different speeds was vital in getting those outs,” Gettins said. “We had a big focus on working ahead. It is always hard for hitters to come back when you are throwing strikes.”

Gettins was very consistent in hitting her spots, as she threw 63 strikes out of her total of 90 pitches.

“Courtney [Gettins] gave us a really good start,” Murphy said. “I think she threw a three-hitter, walked one, struck out five and had them off balance. I don’t think anybody was worried in the dugout. She pitched her butt off, so she showed up defensively.”


The Crimson Tide has a short week, as it travels to play The University of Alabama at Birmingham on Wednesday. Despite an undefeated record against the Blazers, Alabama looks forward to another tough game on Wednesday.

“UAB just played ULM and gave them a really good game. UAB beat them 12-11, so we are excited for another challenge,” Hardy said. “We know that UAB is a good team. It is always tough to play in Birmingham. They have a great facility, great fans, they are always on their ‘A’ game when we go to Birmingham, and we are excited about that opportunity to play them.”