There is no way to sugarcoat it.
The Alabama softball team played poorly this past weekend in the season opener in Tallahassee.
Head coach Patrick Murphy pointed out there were plenty of chances for the Crimson Tide to win two games, which they lost in walk-off fashion after blowing big leads in the seventh inning.
But still, it boils down to one thing.
“It was just a bad weekend,” Murphy said.
“You think you have it won and then little things happen…then all of a sudden the games are tied. It happened in a hurry.
“Unfortunately it happened in one weekend.”
The road for Alabama, which fell from No. 1 in the ESPN.com/USA Today rankings to No. 9, doesn’t get any easier this week. Alabama plays in the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational starting Thursday with a game against Liberty, and then a matchup with No. 1 Washington. No. 3 UCLA and No. 16 Oklahoma State are also on the weekend schedule.
With adversity hitting Alabama (1-3) early, this week is a chance for redemption.
What: St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational
Where: Clearwater, Florida
Alabama today: vs. Liberty at 8:30 a.m. CT, vs. Washington at 3 p.m.
Alabama Friday: vs. South Florida at 9:30 a.m., vs. UCLA at 3 p.m.
Alabama Saturday: vs. Oklahoma State at 9:30 a.m.
TV: Today vs. Washington (ESPN2); Friday vs. UCLA (ESPNU); Saturday vs. Oklahoma State (SEC Network)
Radio: 93.3 FM
“We’d rather be gritty than pretty. This is a perfect opportunity to show it because this week is going to be tougher,” Murphy said. “We just need someone step up and be a leader offensively, defensively and on the mound even. I don’t think anyone shined the way they are capable (last week).”
Two players who didn’t suit up in Tallahassee will be in Clearwater this week. Maddie Morgan, who started 66 games at third base, sat out the opener.
“She just didn’t meet a standard that we had set for the fall,” Murphy said. “The rule is you don’t get to play the first weekend, but she will be with us this weekend.”
Alabama early enrollee Abby Doerr, a catcher from Eugene, Oregon, will be available. Doerr, who signed in the fall and enrolled in January, was recently cleared by the NCAA and practiced with the team for the first time Monday.
“I think she’s going to be a heck of a player – catcher, first base, throws right, hits left,” Murphy said. “She’s a kid that’s in shape to play and she’s a really good athlete. So I would anticipate her playing this weekend for sure.”
Reach Edwin Stanton at 205-722-0226, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2