Alabama reflects on season that “exceeded a lot of people’s expectations”

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (WIAT) — The Alabama Softball team was making their tenth appearance at the Women’s College World Series in 2015. It was a feat that the players felt like wasn’t expected of them this season.

“I don’t think a lot of people really expected us to make it past Super Regionals,” shortstop Danae Hays said. “For us to have played three games at the World Series, I think it exceeded a lot of people’s expectations. I think this is definitely a season we can be very proud of.”

“You can’t say that this team didn’t fight,” centerfielder Haylie McCleney added. “You cannot say that because we left it all out there on that field. You saw that in the last inning.”

“What it came down to was our one heartbeat as a team and our ‘mudita’ that we’ve talked about for so long,” third baseman Marisa Runyon said. “We all have each other’s back, one through eighteen, and it was a fun team to be a part of.”

Alabama was down 5-1 entering the seventh inning against LSU. The Tide managed to get two runs across and bring up the tying run to the plate but couldn’t extend their season.

“Our goal every last inning is to get the tying run at the plate, and we did that,” Runyon said. “Unfortunately it didn’t fall our way.”

The Tide will say goodbye to five seniors, all of whom were a part of Alabama’s 2012 National Championship team.

“Not only are they great ballplayers, their great people,” Runyon said. “They’re the true definition of an Alabama Softball player, and that’s what we want. They’re going to be a hard class to follow up.”

The Tide will try to do that in 2016, a year that head coach Patrick Murphy already things is going to be “fun.”

“I’m looking forward to Haylie being a senior and her three other classmates. I know they’re going to show great leadership.”

Alabama will also add six freshman from four states in 2016, including the Tide’s first players from Mississippi and Arkansas.

“There’s two pitchers in the group, a lefty and a righty, both players of the year in their state at one point,” Murphy said of his incoming class. “The kids from Texas both throw right, hit left. Both are fast. Their more hitters than slappers, so we’re looking forward to having a couple more lefties.”

Alabama will also have to replace a couple player’s from the senior class.

“Leslie (Jury) ended her career on an awesome, awesome note tonight. I thought she was terrific,” Murphy said. “We’ve got to replace Chauncey, obviously. Danae’s a big spot, the shortstop. We’ve got to have someone that’s very consistent like her.

“We’ll do amazing things again.”

Alabama finished the season with a 48-16 record.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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