Mack brings experience, drive and persistence to Crimson Tide


CW / Hannah Saad

James Benedetto | @james_benedetto, Assistant Sports Editor

It would take 400 days and a 2,400-mile trip before graduate student Alexis Mack would don a softball jersey again. For some, stepping away from the sport they committed their lives toward would mean the end of their career.

For Mack, her career just took a detour something she has been through before all because she “wasn’t ready to hang up [her] cleats yet.”

Her journey to Tuscaloosa began with her deciding to sit out her final season with Oregon. In an instant, she was no longer a member of the Ducks, meaning that she could not use their facilities, could not get access to the nutritionist and could not practice with the team. 

Across the street from Oregon’s practice facility, Mack vividly remembers hearing her teammates practice from her home in Eugene. 

“It was very painful for me,” Mack said. “But ultimately it drove me to continue to work and want to be better, have hope for what was to come and that there was going to be something really awesome, which happened to be playing at The University of Alabama, my dream school.”

With no access to the facilities, Mack began to train on her own. Every morning at 6 a.m., she would walk over to Oregon’s student recreation field and begin her sprint workout, an hour and 15-minute workout that would include sprints from various distances. 

After that, she would walk over to the student recreation center and spend an hour in the weight room before going home to get ready for class. Once class was finished, Mack would work as a volunteer coach at Elmira High School, the same high school of freshman Abby Doerr. It was here, as a volunteer coach, that Mack would spend three hours learning about the game from former Crimson Tide softball player Kayla Braud

Once practice was finished, Mack would be back at the rec fields working on hitting and fielding for another hour before calling it a day. 

“It was really hard, but you know what? I have never been more motivated in my entire life,” Mack said. “There wasn’t a morning I woke up and I was like, ‘I’m gonna take today off because it’s hard.’”

Typical Oregon weather did not stop Mack from getting her sprints in before class. On rainy days, Mack said she would wear her rain jacket, put her hood up and would complete her workout routine.

“Alexis has a sense of urgency about her like I’ve never seen before,” assistant coach Alyson Habetz said. “Every day it’s intentional about getting better at something. She has on her glove the number of days that she missed last year how long it’s been since she played softball. So every day is so precious to her, like she doesn’t take anything for granted. I mean she’s just so invested in every play. I’ve never seen an athlete like that.”

The work ethic that Mack developed on her journey to Alabama continues to be prevalent in her time as a member of the Crimson Tide. Since her first day with the team, Mack has often contacted Habetz or another member on the staff to come to Rhoads Stadium before practice to get extra reps in the batting cages. It’s a routine she has carried with her since her days as a member of the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Every time she is in the cage, Mack works on a specific aspect of her swing. One week she will work on bunting, while another week she will work on bat control, all to get her as prepared as possible for her next opponent. 

The work has paid off, especially in this past weekend’s series versus No. 20 Arkansas. Mack went 6 for 10, including a three-run triple in the third game of the series that blew the game open en route to a 9-1 victory. 

Coach Patrick Murphy said Sunday was Mack’s first time taking a full swing this season when she came to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. When Mack slid into third and was safe, Habetz was reminded of a specific night at Rhoads where Mack and fellow senior Elissa Brown were working on their hitting.

On Jan. 24, 2020, Mack’s 23rd birthday, the three went to the stadium to hit and to commemorate Mack’s hitting coach at Oregon, Gerri Ann Glasco, who had died exactly one year earlier. After working on other aspects of hitting, Habetz said, “Let’s just take some hacks,” to honor Glasco, who was a power hitter at Oregon.

That night, Brown and Mack delighted in sending shots to right-center field. On Sunday afternoon, Mack was once again able to honor her hitting coach as her triple in the final game of the series landed in right-center field.

“[The triple] got us hyped up,” freshman Lexi Kilfoyl said. “She’s just an all-around player, and she could do anything you ask for, and with that triple, [she] just brought so much energy to the team, which is exactly what we needed today.”

With Brown out of the lineup, Mack has been the speedy presence that Alabama has needed at the beginning of the season. Through 22 games, Mack is second on the team with a .418 batting average, tied for first in hits (28) and leads the team in stolen bases (12). 

Her experience in college softball has made her a leader on the team, which is rare for a first-year player. 

“I think her No. 1 worry was how is she gonna fit in,” Murphy said. “Was she gonna be able to bring her leadership to the team? We were like, ‘Bring it all.’ We only have one year with you, so we need you to speak up, get out of your comfort zone and teach us all the things that you know. I think she’s done a terrific job.”

Through her 2,400 mile-journey and her 400-day hiatus from the game, Mack continues to find success with Alabama. Although success is important, Mack is more concerned with making sure she takes full advantage of every day she is out on the field. 

“[Sitting out last season] was absolutely brutal for me,” Mack said. “I love this game so much. I especially miss just being surrounded by teammates every day. [It’s] something I certainly have not taken for granted one day since I’ve been here.”