Ian attended his first college softball game yesterday–maybe his first sports event ever.
It was 7th-ranked Alabama versus 13th-ranked U Tennessee. The weather was beautiful. Marysia, Ian and I went out for lunch at Manna (grilled cheese for M, chicken casserole for J, nothing for I) and then made our way to the stadium, where we met our friends Aaron and Chandler.
The game was a close one. Alabama took an early lead, but then UT jumped out ahead. Ian was in good spirits, enjoying the game and being outdoors. We left after the fifith inning, with Alabama looking like it was going to lose; but, in the botton of the last inning…
Well, I’ll let the Tuscaloosa News sports writer describe the situation:
Trailing 3-1 going into the last half-inning, Alabama started to rally with Jackie McClain’s one-out single. Abbott hit Dominique Accetturo with a pitch, and could have loaded the bases when she hit Capper Reed with another. Home plate umpire Pat Lyon ruled that Reed didn’t make the necessary effort to avoid the pitch, drawing a fierce protest from Murphy and rousing the crowd of nearly 1,000.
Reed struck out, bringing up VanBrakle for Alabama’s last gasp. She drove the ball over Tennessee right fielder Ashley Cline, and it bounced off the top of the wall for the winning home run.
“It was outside and it was high,” VanBrakle said. “I didn’t know if it was going to get out or not. I thought I hit it pretty good.”
Said [head coach] Murphy, “It hit the top of the fence and I was praying it would go over, because we were all celebrating.”
Alabama’s late surge struck at the heart of the Tennessee team.
“It was devastating,” Tennessee co-coach Ralph Weekly said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. We should have kept control of it.”
And here’s what VanBrakle looked like as she rounded third base: