CULLMAN, Ala. – Tuesday night was a special one at Heritage Park in Cullman as over 1,500 fans made their way to the park to cheer on the Crimson Tide and former Bearcat Claire Jenkins against the Belmont Bruins in the “Clash in Cullman”. Alabama held off a seventh-inning rally to defeat Belmont 6-4 in front of the Cullman crowd and the star of the night, Jenkins, was very excited to see her home town come out and support her and her team.
“It was really cool because I just felt like I had a whole lot of memories just coming back at me,” Jenkins smiled. “Every time something happened it would remind me of stories and stuff that I wanted to tell my teammates. Just being out here with the crowd and people I know and seeing all the little kids out here was just a great atmosphere. This is impressive.”
The event sold out weeks before the gates opened, and Cullman Parks and Recreation Athletics Director Jesse Newsom was very happy with the way the event came together. Newsom is hopeful that Tuesday night’s success will lead to more nights just like it.
“I think its just been a great evening and a great day. Working with Alabama and Belmont, they’ve both been very accommodating and letting me know what they need, and we couldn’t ask for more perfect weather than we got today. I know everyone wanted to see Claire hit a homerun but just to have her back here playing has been a great feeling for a lot of the community. Everything went smoothly” Newsom said. “If we could’ve had more seats, I would’ve loved that, but we were stuck with what we had, and I think we have around 1,600 people here. We sold tickets for 1,500 so its been an awesome experience and we’d definitely love to do it again in the future hopefully after we do a bunch of renovations and everything.”
The Crimson Tide took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Elissa Brown came home to score on a passed ball and Brown made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the bottom half of the second. An RBI single from Kaylee Tow put Alabama on top 3-0 in the third and a fielder’s choice on top of a bases-loaded walk stretched the lead to 5-0.
After a scoreless fourth, the Crimson Tide continued to add to their lead in the fifth with a sacrifice fly from Kayla Davis that made it 6-0 going into the final frame. With just three outs left to play with, the Bruins managed to plate four runs in the top of the seventh and trim the lead to two, but Sarah Cornell collected the final out on the mound for Alabama and they held on to win it 6-4.
The Crimson Tide now sport an impressive 46-4 record this season and Jenkins isn’t surprised by her team’s success. The junior shortstop likes the attitude of this team and can’t wait to see how far it will take them in the postseason.
“I just love being around this team and I love the resiliency and the fight in everyone. Every time we step on the field, we’re ready to play and we’re ready to sweep,” Jenkins said. “We’re not just taking two, we’re not just winning the series, we’re going to wipe them off the field and no matter what we’re always fighting, scratching and clawing and I love that about this team.”
Alabama will be back in action on Friday when the Crimson Tide host the Kentucky Wildcats.
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