Softball Competition Picks Up This Week

Alabama had an unusual start to the softball season insofar as its schedule. The Crimson Tide of Coach Patrick Murphy, one of the bluebloods of college softball, can attract any number of teams to come play in Tuscaloosa.

In part, it's because Alabama is ranked second in the nation and, obviously, is a candidate for the national title. Another is the venue. Rhoads Stadium is the créme de la créme of college softball stadiums.

But did Alabama do that? Nooooo!

Alabama opened its season on the road. Bama went to South Alabama's tournament in Mobile, then to the SEC vs. ACC/Big 12 in Auburn, and finally to UAB before coming home last weekend to host the Bama Bash.

It has worked out. The Crimson Tide is now 13-0 after five wins in its own Bama Bash. Alabama has played some decent teams, and the Tide will have some more good competition this weekend when Bama has its second tournament, the Alabama Invite.

Alabama has opened the season with at least 10 consecutive wins for the eighth time. Bama improved to 62-7 all-time in the Bama Bash.

Kaila Hunt was the tournament MVP and she was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Kayla Braud, Amanda Locke, and Danae Hays.

This weekend in the Alabama Invite, the Tide will play Maryland at 6:30 p.m. Friday; Massachusetts at 1:30 p.m. and Maryland at 4 p.m. on Saturday; and UAB at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Alabama has nominated Braud for player of the week in the Southeastern Conference.

The junior outfielder from Eugene, Oregon led Alabama to six wins over the week by setting the table atop the lineup. The two-time All-America led the Crimson Tide with a .583 average, seven hits, six runs, six walks, five stolen bases and a .722 on base percentage. She tallied two or more hits in three of the six games on the week and scored two or more runs twice. She walked in four of the six games and stole at least one base in three of the games, including swiping three and walking three times against UAB. At the Bama Bash, Braud batted a team-high .545.

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