It’s hard to rattle Bailey Hemphill.
The Alabama All-American catcher received a phone call from softball coach Patrick Murphy earlier this week to congratulate her on being named SEC Player of the Year.
“OK, thank you,” she responded to Murphy.
That was it. No big fist pump. No cheering. No fanfare at all.
Even when she cranked career home run No. 59 about 240 feet over the leftfield wall during Friday’s 5-1 SEC Tournament quarterfinal victory over Kentucky, Hemphill calmly rounded the bases.
When she blasted No. 60, a two-run homer that tied the school career record (Kelly Kretschman), Hemphill did manage to crack a small smile when she was greeted at home plate by her teammates, who were jumping and screaming.
The team and the fans demanded Hemphill take a curtain call, which she did.
“I honestly didn’t hear anything until Murph said, ‘You better get out here and wave to them,’” Hemphill said. “It was a surreal moment. To tie the record at the Rhoads House was something special.”
Alabama (43-7) plays Tennessee (41-12) on Friday night in the tournament semifinals. The Crimson Tide and Volunteers play 30 minutes following the first semifinal, top-seed Florida vs. No. 4 seed Missouri at 4 p.m.
Hemphill was without a home run in 15 games. She more than made up for the drought Friday.
“That’s the Bailey that everybody knows,” Murphy said. “She’s off the home run schneid, finally with two tonight. So everything else is gravy for her.”
It’s hard to rattle Montana Fouts, too.
When the SEC Co-Pitcher of the Year got herself into several jams, the Alabama ace didn’t flinch.
Fouts struck out 15 batters to tie a tournament record for most in a game. The difference is Alabama’s Alexis Osario needed 10 innings to do it. Fouts needed just seven. She also had just one walk.
“She was dealing tonight. She was on it and her stuff was working,” Hemphill said.
Jenna Johnson helped supply Fouts with some run support with a two-run double in the third, along with Hemphill’s two-run shot in the fifth.
Fouts got some help in the first when she struck out a batter and Hemphill gunned down a runner at second base. The runner was ruled safe but the call was overturned and prevented a run from scoring.
Fouts got into trouble again in the third, loading the bases with Erin Coffel (16 home runs) at the plate. Fouts struck her out to end the inning.
More trouble followed Fouts in the sixth with two runners on with one out. She struck out the next two to end the threat.
“She rises to the occasion all the time,” Murphy said. “She makes the pitches when she needs to. Just a great job by her."