By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Alabama wasn’t going to let a little rain get in the way of winning its first NCAA Championship.
After first pitch was delayed nearly three hours, the Crimson Tide entered the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday trailing Oklahoma 3-0 when a light rain began falling on ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. After Alabama scored its first run of the game, play was halted due to the weather.
That’s when the momentum shifted the Crimson Tide, who became the first Southeastern Conference team to win an NCAA softball championship with their 5-4 win over the Sooners.
“We were like, gosh, we want to be out there,” said junior Courtney Conley. “We just want to be out there. That inning started and everybody just kept it going, kept it going. So it was great to have momentum on its side.”
During the brief delay, Alabama players stayed on the field, leading cheers and staying loose.
“Just the camaraderie that we have, the 13 minutes seemed like two seconds,” said senior Amanda Locke. “With our team, we have so much fun together. I think that fuelled the fire, really. From then on, there was no stopping us. We were 20 hearts beating together. We weren’t turning back; we were winning this.”
Locke was the first to bat following the break in play and she drilled a single through the left side to plate Alabama’s second run of the night. She was then driven in by a double from Conley to knot the score.
“I had everybody in my face saying get up there and just crush it,” Locke said. “I wasn’t really looking for a specific pitch. But then she started getting the strikes in there. I was shortening it up and trying to put the ball in play. I wasn’t trying to do too much because there were two outs. So I was trying to put it in play.”
Alabama closed the inning with a 4-3 advantage and added another run in the fifth inning. For head coach Patrick Murphy, who has led his team to eight Women’s College World Series appearances, it was a dream come true.
“’It’s been a long time coming,” Murphy said. “For us, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. It’s just been an incredible nine or 10 days here in Oklahoma City, and each game just got better and better and better. I’m just thrilled to win the championship.”