OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Claire Jenkins had seen it happen before.
Back in late February against Missouri State, the Alabama shortstop witnessed teammate Elissa Brown track down a fly ball to deep center field, leap, reach up and snag the ball out of the air and secure it in her glove before hitting the wall.
So when Jenkins saw Brown sprinting toward the wall on Thursday in the sixth inning of Thursday’s Women’s College World Series game against Oklahoma, she naturally felt it was a done deal.
Not this time.
Brown sprinted to the left-centerfield wall eyeing a ball that Nicole Mendes launched off Alabama ace Montana Fouts. Brown leapt, reached her glove out, but the ball was just out of reach and hit the top of the wall, about an inch shy of going over.
The ball caromed about 15 feet away with Mendes sprinting toward third for a triple. Running ahead of her was Raegan Rogers to give the Sooners a 3-2 win.
“I really thought Elissa had it just by the way she was tracking it down just like another play she made earlier in the year, foot off the wall and catch it right at the top of the fence.”
It was the play of the game and it happened with two outs in the inning on a 3-1 count.
“I knew right off the bat it was a hard hit,” Fouts said. “She capitalized on one of my mistakes.”
Mendes was hitless in her two previous at-bats with a strikeout. The triple was her fourth of the season.
I didn’t even know it hit the wall. I just knew that it was over her head. As soon as I saw it over her head I knew I was going to go (to third). I was kind of thinking about going home but (coach Patty Gasso) held me up.”