How fast is Elissa Brown? You could count the ways Friday night.
Brown’s speed sparked Alabama softball to a 13-1 mercy-rule victory over Ole Miss at Rhoads Stadium in the series opener.
The Crimson Tide’s sophomore center fielder from Eclectic was fast enough to motor across the grass to make a diving catch in shallow left field, just behind shortstop, for an out in the top of the third inning.
“I originally called it but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get it or not,” she said. “I just went for it and I got it. I was like tonight I’m not going to let any balls drop. That was my plan.”
Brown was speedy enough in the bottom of the same inning to beat out a bunt single, but that wasn’t the really fast part. She fell down rounding first base on an errant throw, but hopped back up and turned on the afterburners to round the bases and score before the right fielder could track down the ball and throw it home.
“I didn’t even see her fall down, thank God, because I probably wouldn’t have sent her,” UA coach Patrick Murphy said. “Everybody was blocking my view.”
There was still more. She sprinted her way to a standup triple in the fourth inning – then sliding around a tag attempt at home plate to score on a grounder to second base – and beat out an infield single in the same inning as Alabama batted around.
She went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, setting the tone as the leadoff hitter in a breakout game for Alabama’s offense. Ironically, although the 5-foot-3 speedster is 18 for 18 on steal attempts this season, she didn’t steal a base.
“It was fun,” she said. “I got to show a different side of me that they probably didn’t know I had.”
The Crimson Tide pounded out 13 hits, with every batter getting at least one. Everyone scored, including pinch runner Rachel Bobo. First baseman Bailey Hemphill hit a solo home run and shortstop Sydney Booker clobbered a three-run shot.
“We only left four on base, which is not very many with so many people on base,” Murphy said. “It was really good hitting. Everybody should have confidence after this.”
Courtney Gettins (9-2) allowed four hits with one strikeout and one walk for the win.
Alabama (21-7, 2-2 in SEC play) will host Ole Miss (15-11, 1-4 SEC) in the second game of the weekend series Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Reach Tommy Deas at email@example.com or at 205-722-0224.