TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Senior pitcher Chelsea Jones and junior outfielder Leah Taylor had no trouble talking to the small group of reporters that gathered at the pressbox at Rhoads Stadium on the Alabama campus Thursday afternoon. In fact the two University of Tennessee at Martin softball players and head coach Donley Canary were all smiles.
“We are excited to be here,” Canary said. “This is a David and Goliath story.”
Taylor, who transferred to UT Martin for her sophomore season, has played at Rhoads Stadium at Alabama.
“Just the story that’s in the Bible has inspired us,” Taylor said.
David, a teenager, slayed Goliath when he used his slingshot, and hit the giant in the forehead.
UT Martin starts three freshmen in the infield; has seven freshmen and five sophomores on the roster.
Alabama, the Southeastern Conference champions, is 50-7 on the year and is the No. 2 national seed.
“We will be prepared,” Canary said. “What an experience to get on this field and play. Hopefully this will put our program on the map.”
The Skyhawks breezed through its Ohio Valley Conference slate with a 23-6 worksheet and then won the OVC Tournament in four games, defeating rival Murray State in the opening round and then taking two-of-three games from Tennessee Tech. The Skyhawks finished the season with a 39-20 overall record.
The Skyhawks and the Crimson Tide will play at 6 p.m., Friday, May 18. Georgia Tech and South Alabama, also conference champions, will play at 3:30 p.m.
“This is not the most talented team that I have ever had,” Canary said. “But this team has the most heart of any of the teams I ever coached.”