Alabama’s Outfield Excellence: Talent, Skill and Osmosis

Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

It’s often argued that people influence each other through osmosis, gradually gaining skills without obvious effort. The Alabama outfield may embody this notion, either absorbing skills through osmosis, taking cues from each other or simply being close to former All-American and new assistant coach Kayla Braud. Regardless, whatever the Tide are doing at practice is certainly translating to the game.

Alabama finished the weekend with a 5-0 record on the road in Atlanta. The pitching staff held opponents to just four runs on the weekend. The Tide used five different arms against Villanova, Longwood, and Georgia Tech holding opposing offenses to just a .162 average. How was that achieved? Solid pitching of course. And elite outfield play. The Tide outfield saved seven earned runs from making it up on the scoreboard. Seven. Outies rarely get the love they deserve so we are going to give Alabama’s fleet-footed trio the flowers they rightfully earned on opening weekend.

Jenna Johnson kicked off a series of miraculous events in left field in the Friday contest against Georgia Tech. Jenna Johnson robbed Mallory Black of a potential three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth. First, Johnson smoothly reaches the wall, a feat that’s far from easy. Then, she times her leap perfectly, making the grab to prevent the Yellowjackets from tying the game.

Fast forward to the Saturday contest against Georgia Tech, and Jenna’s sister, Lauren Johnson, jumps in on the action. The rookie center fielder displays a fantastic read on a flare just over the shortstop.

But wait, the outfielders weren’t finished making top 10 SportsCenter plays. Larissa Preuitt had other plans. With no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, Preuitt became the Yellowjackets’ biggest nightmare. She climbed the right-field wall and robbed Grace Connelly of a potential grand slam, which would have brought GT within a single run.

The theory of osmosis may not be completely verified by the evidence above, but it certainly supports the extraordinary outfield play and it’s no coincidence Braud is back in the dugout leading the charge.

Note: Kristen White did not play this weekend because of a minor injury. When she returns, it’s going to be tough for head coach Patrick Murphy to write the lineup card after a spectacular weekend of defense on the grass.

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