If you want to be the best...

As if going up against four of the top teams in the country, including third ranked Arizona was not enough, the seventh ranked University of Alabama softball team went a step further scheduling the 2004 United States Olympic team in an exhibition game at the inaugural Palm Springs Classic.

The Crimson Tide will open the tournament Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. (PT) against Northwestern Wildcats who are currently receiving votes to be ranked. Then comes the exhibition game against the top team in the world with the first-pitch scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (PT).

Bama's Saturday action will consist of a 10:30 a.m. (PT) match-up against the Arizona Wildcats followed by a date with the Pacific Tigers who are also receiving votes to be ranked at 3:30 p.m. (PT).

Alabama will close out its action in the tournament on Sunday against the 20th ranked CS-Fullerton Titans at 9:00 a.m. (PT).

The Tide has never faced Northwestern or Pacific on the softball diamond. Bama has a 1-1 record against Fullerton with the two teams splitting a doubleheader last season and the Arizona Wildcats own an 8-0 record over Alabama.

And while the Crimson Tide has never faced Team USA, there will be a familiar face among the Olympians in former four-time Alabama All-American Kelly Kretschman. Kretschman could routinely be seen over the past few months working out with the Tide at the UA Softball Complex.

"Seeing Kelly in that USA uniform will be a special moment for all of us involved because she used to be our player and teammate," said Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy. "However, we have to be careful in not getting caught up in all the hype surrounding the game because we still have business to take care prior to that game."

Bama fans call hear all the action by going to www.rolltide.com or by tuning into NewRock 90.7 FM WVUA on the radio. Live stats will not be available for the tournament with the exception of exhibition game against Team USA.

The Olympic game will also be televised by College Sports Television in a tape-delayed broadcast in March. Further details will be provided.

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