How Alabama softball won Tuscaloosa Regional without ace Montana Fouts to advance in NCAA Tournament
Alabama softball is peaking exactly when any team wants to, advancing out of the NCAA Tournament Tuscaloosa Regional and into the super regional round.
What's most shocking is that it did so without ace Montana Fouts, who is still day-to-day with a hyper extended left knee. Alabama has won nine of its last 13 games, including three wins in the Tuscaloosa Regional via a 5-0 win over Long Island and 12-5 and 1-0 wins over Middle Tennessee State. The Crimson Tide fell 4-1 on Sunday to MTSU but bounced back for the regional-clinching win.
Alabama will face Northwestern in the super-regional round at Rhoads Stadium this weekend. The times, dates and TV designations have not been announced as of Sunday night.
Jaala Torrence gives her best Montana Fouts impression
Another pitcher was going to have to step up in the absences of Montana Fouts and Torrence did just that with 18 ⅔ innings of scoring pitching. Her seven-inning gem on Friday was big on multiple levels: allowing Alabama to rest the staff and getting a win that limited how many games the Crimson Tide needed to play. It was her seven-inning gem on Sunday that was the biggest of the weekend, sending the Crimson Tide to the Super Regional. She allowed five hits but struck out seven.
On Friday, coach Patrick Murphy told the media that the best for Torrence still had not been seen but even this level from Torrence could be enough to keep Alabama steady until Fouts can return.
MONTANA FOUTS UPDATE:Could Alabama softball get Montana Fouts back for NCAA Tournament Super Regionals?
GOODBREAD:No Montana Fouts? No problem for Jaala Torrence, Alabama softball | Goodbread
Offense with a side of offense
For most of the regular season, the Alabama offense wasn't much of a threat but they have woken up in postseason play. The offense carried Alabama in the regional, especially with a Game 2 victory where they scored 12 runs, their most since March. Alabama was able to get hits and runs but showed patience for walks, getting seven in an eight-run inning on Saturday, five of which came in a row with two outs.
Heroics from Ally Shipman
In a five-minute span in Game 7, Ally Shipman came up with huge plays in pivotal spots. The first, at catcher, is when she lasered a throw to catch a runner trying to steal second. With only one out at the time and facing the top of the Blue Raider lineup, it was possible that runner could've gotten batted around.
The second play ended up being the game-winner. Shipman knocked a home run past the fence in left field on the first pitch of the seventh inning. It was the only run of the ball game and came from one of the Crimson Tide veterans.