Alabama softball takes rare road trip to SeattleBy Ehsan Kassim | 02/28/2018 10:27pm
The opportunity to travel to Seattle doesn’t come around too often for the Alabama Crimson Tide softball program. It gets that rare opportunity this weekend, as it takes part in the Husky Classic, hosted by the University of Washington.
For freshman Maddie Morgan, this represents an opportunity for her to show off her talents to her hometown and show her teammates where she grew up.
“I’m super, super excited for it,” Morgan said. “I am excited to bring Alabama softball to Washington because most of them have never been to the Pacific Northwest, not even the west coast. I am excited for them to get to experience that and where I grew up.”
Morgan was a standout player at Lynwood High School, and many of her friends and family will be in attendance for all the Alabama games. Her grandmother from Hawaii is planning on flying in for the classic.
In returning home, coach Patrick Murphy is planning on giving Morgan playing time, but he hopes she doesn’t try to do too much.
“Sometimes the opposite of what you hope for happens, they put too much pressure on themselves,” Murphy said. “Hopefully Maddie won’t do that. It’s a good time to have us learn her family, get to know everybody – for her just to be able to play in front of all her friends and family and have a good time.”
The team will have dinner at Morgan’s grandmother’s house on Thursday night, which will provide an opportunity for Morgan’s family to learn about her second family.
“I’m also excited for my family to meet my softball family because I know there isn’t that many opportunities that gets to happen,” she said. “I am very thankful for this opportunity.”
Washington is the top-ranked team in the country and swept Alabama last year in Tuscaloosa. Morgan did give serious consideration to her hometown college, but she liked Alabama more.
“Alabama was just definitely the better fit,” Morgan said. “My brother went to Washington, so I do have family from there. The University of Washington is a great academic school, and they have a great softball team, but personally the University of Alabama was the best fit for me. I had this gut feeling, and I just knew this was the place I wanted to be.”
Morgan credits the atmosphere, the coaches and the importance of family at Alabama as the reasons she fell in love with the University.
The only drawback has been the distance, as Alabama is on the other side of the country as Washington, meaning her family can’t watch her live too much.
“They came in the fall, but since the distance is quite far away, my parents watch online a lot or on TV, when the opportunity is there,” Morgan said. “I am just super thankful that [Alabama] is coming to Seattle so my parents get the opportunity to see me play in person, in a home environment.”
Morgan said her parents will be visiting for the Auburn and Ole Miss series in Tuscaloosa later in the season.
Alabama will face Washington twice during the weekend and play BYU, Portland State and Northwestern once each.
Washington presents Alabama with another top-10 opponent on the season, as the team has already played Baylor and Florida State twice.
The Crimson Tide is 1-2 in such games in 2018, with Alabama splitting the two games with Florida State this past weekend.
"Those top-10, top-15 opponents pay off at the end when we’re sitting here on Mother’s Day for the NCAA selection show,” Murphy said. “Last year we didn’t lose to anybody we shouldn’t have lost to, but we didn’t beat enough of the teams we should have, above us in the rankings.
“So that was a big win Friday over Florida State. [Alexis] Osorio pitched well, she got SEC pitcher of the week because of it. Madison Preston pitched lights out against them too on Saturday night. It was her first time against a top-10 team, and I really felt she held her own.”
Preston allowed two home runs and three earned runs against Florida State in seven innings, but her offense only scored one run to back her up.
Murphy did not commit to starters for the weekend, but does want to get junior transfer Courtney Gettins experience against top-ranked opponents for later in the season.
“She’s going to have to pitch against a good team sometime,” Murphy said. “She beat McNeese State when they were ranked, pitched a great game, and McNeese State beat Florida State, so you never know. Northwestern is good, BYU was in the NCAA regionals last year and obviously Washington is No. 1. There will be a bunch of good teams she can pitch against.”