Bizarre Week for Bama Fans

Good Friday to you all.

What a bizarre few days it has been for those who care about the Crimson Tide.

No matter you're stance on Logan Young and the part he played in Alabama's extreme punishment at the hands of the NCAA, you have to feel a little sad over the tragic end to his life.

His disassociation as an Alabama booster, a federal conviction, a kidney transplant and then the macabre end overnight Monday painted a sorrowful picture of the final few years of his life.

A friend in Memphis, attorney Philip Shanks, said Young's outlook on life had been improving, that he had been working out and feeling better in recent weeks. Now it's all over.

Young's death should serve as yet another example to us that money cannot buy you everything.

On a more upbeat note, how about Patrick Murphy's Alabama softball team. Winners of 13 games in a row, the Crimson Tide is powering into tonight's home doubleheader against LSU with a 15-0 SEC record.

At its current pace, the Crimson Tide will easily qualify for a home regional and in all probability a second-round super regional as well.

Murphy's club has a superb blend of pitchers, led by Stephanie VanBrakle and Chrissy Owens, and bats. Brittney Rogers and Jordan Praytor are the slappers and runners at the top of the lineup, and sluggers like Staci Ramsey, Dominique Accetturo, Dani Woods and VanBrakle drive 'em in.

Murphy and Co. have proven they can play their way to the Women's College World Series. Now the question is can they get to Oklahoma City and do some real damage.

Murphy likes the potential for this year's team to carry an aggressive will to dominate into the postseason.

In baseball, Jim Wells' club nears the halfway point of the SEC schedule in great shape to play host to an NCAA Regional.

The Crimson Tide (26-10, 9-3 SEC) has the No. 2 RPI in the nation according to two rating systems and just captured two of three games against successive No. 1 teams Mississippi State and South Carolina. This weekend's series at LSU should be epic. The Tigers, SEC kingpins for most of the last two decades, are trying to fight their way off the deck and they'll have the notorious Alex Box home crowd behind them ... as long as the Tide doesn't jump out big and the partisans turn on LSU coach Smoke Laval.

Wells and the Tide have seized the top spot in the SEC to this point by winning the arm's race. Wade LeBlanc, Bernard Robert and freshman Tommy Hunter have proven themselves the best weekend trio in the league, and Jake McCarter is pushing hard to break into the weekend rotation. Even without hometown product David Robertson being as dominating as he was as a freshman, Alabama's pitching has been tremendous.

Bama's bats have caught a lot of flak the last few years (kind of like the football team's offense), and mostly for good reason. Though nobody's straight tearing it up like Gabe Scott did last year, the amalgam of hitters is producing just enough in the clutch to win tight games and serve as a complement to the great pitching staff.

Emeel Salem's on-base antics have been the most consistent weapon. Many of the other bats run hot and cold, but the mix of Evan Bush, Kody Valverde, Matt Downs, Brandon Belcher, Ryan Rhoden, Spencer Pennington, Greg Paiml and Alex Avila has strung together enough quality rallies to win games.

It's too early to stamp this team as a favorite to reach Omaha, but as long as that pitching staff holds up, it's tough to bet against the Crimson Tide in a two-of-three series anywhere against just about anybody.

Here's an early reminder: you'll want to be at Sewell-Thomas Stadium next Friday to watch LeBlanc trade strikeouts with Vanderbilt ace David Price. We all know what LeBlanc can do. Price whiffed 17 Arkansas Razorbacks last weekend and is a sure enough stud. This one could be over in two hours.

Happy Easter!

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