Recap | Softball punches its ticket to the Women’s College World Series

Robert Cortez, Assistant Sports Editor

For the 13th time in program history, No. 3 Alabama (50-7) has claimed a spot in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

With a 4-1 win against No. 14 Kentucky (43-16) on Saturday, May 29, the Crimson Tide swept the Tuscaloosa Super Regional against the Wildcats. This is the first time Alabama has swept its super regional opponent since 2016. 

“I want to give Kentucky a big shout-out because they’re a great team and gave us an amazing Super Regional,” senior Maddie Morgan said. 

Alabama solidified its spot in the Women’s College World Series in front of a sold-out crowd in Rhoads Stadium. Alabama softball superfan Emily Pitek tweeted that she “had never seen this many fans at Rhoads before” in her 17 years of attending Alabama softball games. 

“The fans were unbelievable,” Head Coach Patrick Murphy said. “We win a lot in super regionals because of them, and the fans bring it every single time.”

During this season, freshman Bailey Dowling and graduate student Claire Jenkins suffered season-ending injuries. Senior K.B. Sides and sophomores Jenna Johnson and Lexi Kilfoyl each missed a few weeks due to injuries. 

Despite the setback, the Crimson Tide finished in third place in the SEC regular season, won its sixth conference tournament and earned one of eight spots in the Women’s College World Series. 

Murphy sang high praises for “Team 25” after the game. 

“They’re the grittiest and most resilient team I think we’ve ever had here,” Murphy said. “They’ve done a great job of staying together and keeping their eyes on the prize.”

Murphy said there are three keys to winning a high-level softball game: good pitching, good defense and timely hitting. The team accomplished all three of these feats in its game two win against Kentucky. 

Kilfoyl (13-3; 1.53 ERA) earned the complete game victory in the circle for Alabama. This was the sophomore’s first complete game victory since March 20 against No. 9 Tennessee. Kilfoyl gave up five hits and one walk and tallied seven strikeouts. The Florida native said sending her team to Oklahoma City was “one of the greatest feelings in the world.” 

“She was really dealing,” Murphy said. “Her change-up was great, she hit her spots and she got ahead of batters.” 

Seniors Kaylee Tow and Morgan recorded the timely hits. Tow hit a two-RBI double in the top of the first inning and gave Alabama the early 2-0 lead. Morgan tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the fourth frame with a two-run home run, which were the final runs scored on either side. 

The defense fielded an errorless game for the sixth consecutive game. 

“We’re ready to keep rolling in Oklahoma City,” Morgan said. 

Alabama will face the winner of the Fayetteville Super Regional at the Women’s College World Series on Thursday, June 3. The game time and broadcast information are TBA.