OKLAHOMA CITY - This one was tough.
Alabama senior Bailey Hemphill and junior pitcher Montana Fouts could not hold back tears during the postgame press conference following a season-ending loss to Florida State.
The No. 3 seed Crimson Tide fell 8-5 to the No. 10 Seminoles in the Women's College World Series, falling a win short of reaching the national championship series.
"I guess all I can say is I'm heartbroken," Fouts said. "Wearing this "A" has meant everything to me. This university has given me more than I could ever ask for, and I can't help but get emotional. I don't care about the wins and losses. I came out of here as a better person. I am just forever grateful."
Hemphill ends her career as one of the best to ever play for Alabama. The two-time, first-team All-American is the Crimson Tide's all-time home run leader, hitting No. 64 in the fifth inning.
It just wasn't Fouts' night against the Seminoles. She was roughed up or seven runs through 2 2/3 innings. It was a stark contrast from her previous outing, throwing a perfect game against UCLA.
"I don't know. I guess I tried to go in with the same mindset, just to go pitch by pitch. I guess it just didn't go my way," Fouts said afterward.
The good news for Alabama? A ton of talent returns next season, including the All-American and Co-SEC Pitcher of the Year, Fouts. Lexi Kilfoyl will be back in the circle as well.
A solid group of seniors, KB Sides, Kaylee Tow and Maddie Morgan, have the option to return next season. If they do, they will be backed up with a talented group of underclassmen, including slugger Bailey Dowling, who missed half the season with an injury. Savannah Woodard and Jenna Johnson will be returning starters as well.