Simple at the plate: Softball completes sweep of Easton Bama BashBy Terrin Waack | 02/28/2016 6:03pm
Leona Lafaele runs to third base during Friday's game against Arizona. CW | Layton Dudley
The No. 4 Alabama softball team defeated No. 14 Tennessee, 6-5, Sunday afternoon, to complete its sweep of the Easton Bama Bash, but going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Alabama wasn’t so sure how the end of the game was going to play out.
With one out and a runner on first base and second base, Peyton Grantham walked up to the batter’s box, and focused on slowing the game down. It was the bottom of the seventh inning and Alabama was down by two runs, but in Grantham’s mind, it was the first inning all over again, no pressure.
“They say, ‘See a little, see a lot; see a lot, see nothing,’” she said. “So you got to simplify everything and make it smaller than what it is.”
Grantham made contact with a pitch, sending it high into right field. Tennessee’s right fielder dove to make the catch, but the ball fell out her glove, allowing Demi Turner and Haylie McCleney to make it home to tie the game.
With Grantham on third base, Leona Lafaele walked up to bat. With two strikes to her name, Lafaele swung at the following pitch.
The softball found grass in the right-center field, and Grantham crossed home plate, finalizing Alabama’s final-inning victory.
“It was such an adrenaline rush, like I have a headache from yelling so much,” Sydney Booker said.
The entire team swarmed Lafaele.
“We were all hitting her head, it was just really fun,” Booker said. “We were all huddled and jumping. She had a huge smile on her face.”
Alabama started the game off with an early 3-0 lead and held it until through the fourth inning.
Grantham said the team kind of coasted once it pulled ahead, and it shouldn’t have done that because Tennessee came back in the fifth inning to tie it up. Then, the Volunteers pulled ahead.
“We thought we thought we had it won after the first inning,” coach Patrick Murphy said. “Then they thought they had it won, and then, boom. It definitely tells our team we are never out of the game.”
Once Booker got hit by a pitch and was on first, Alabama believed it was back in the game, down by two or not. As long as someone’s on base, it had a chance.
Then, after Merris Schroder popped out, Haylie McCleney was walked. Demi Turner followed up with a single, but instead of having bases loaded, Booker was called out a third, causing a chorus of boos to arise from the stands.
The out at third base didn’t simmer Alabama’s fire and determination to comeback. Its dugout was amped and even more so when Lafaele’s hit finalized the victory.
Alabama also defeated No. 15 Arizona on Friday, then again on Saturday when it also won against Marshall to complete its doubleheader, but Tennessee was its only SEC opponent of the weekend.
“Whether it was conference or nonconference, it was a hell of a game,” Murphy said.