The Alabama softball team isn’t taking the week off for spring break as it will be competing in a tournament.
But you can bet no one is complaining.
The No. 5 Crimson Tide is packing up and heading to Hawaii for the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu. Alabama will face SIUE, Niagara and Hawaii in the tournament, which starts Wednesday and concludes Saturday.
The team can thank left fielder Merris Schroder for the trip to the Aloha State. Alabama tries to schedule tournaments near its hometown, but Schroder wasn’t keen on that idea.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everybody and really it was because of Merris Schroder,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “This was her senior trip and we could have gone to Houston (Schroder’s hometown) for her and she said to me, ‘Is there another option?’ I said, ‘Well, the Hawaii coach emailed us a week ago and they had an opening in their tournament, and it’s spring break and we had a bye weekend. The whole thing fell into place. She said to me, ‘Are you kidding?’”
The Crimson Tide is coming off a sweep of Missouri in the first SEC series of the season. Alabama clipped the Tigers 3-1 on Friday to give Murphy his 400th career SEC win. On Saturday, UA rallied from a 7-0 deficit and won 14-8. On Sunday, the Crimson Tide hit five home runs, including three in the first inning, to win 11-5.
Alabama pitcher Sarah Cornell picked up two wins over the weekend and earned a save for a 1.47 earned run average.
“It’s a good start for us,” Murphy said. “It’s basically a new pitching staff, a brand new infield … so it’s not like we have a veteran club, which most people seem to forget. But I’m happy with the results so far.”
In Hawaii, Alabama will work on getting younger players more experience and staying fresh when SEC play resumes next week.
“Everybody is going to get to pitch and play,” Murphy said. “Six games in four days is a lot. We are going to use everybody.”
The Crimson Tide is going to Hawaii to work, but there will be plenty of time for fun.
“Oh, I am really excited about Hawaii,” Schroder said. “We just got to go back to Japan this summer and now we are going to Hawaii. I just feel like the luckiest person in the world getting all these trips and getting have these new experiences that I never would have gotten if I didn’t play here, so I’m really excited. We are going to do a luau, see the beach and play some games, too, so it will be a really fun week.”
Rainbow Wahine Classic
Teams: Alabama, SIUE, Niagara, Hawaii
When: Wednesday through Saturday (All times CT)
Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
UA Wednesday: vs. SIUE, 6 p.m.
UA Thursday: vs. Niagara, 6 p.m.; vs. SIUE , 8:30 p.m.
UA Friday: vs. Niagara, 8:30 p.m.; vs. Hawaii, 11 p.m.
UA Saturday: vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.
Radio: 93.3 FM (Alabama games only)