KJ Haney is no stranger to big moments.
She’s also no stranger to pinch-hitting. We might be calling her softball’s version of Matt Stairs or Lenny Harris by the time she’s done tearing the cover off balls in Tuscaloosa. Just take a look at her first-ever hit, a three-run home run she blasted as a freshman when she pinch-hit for Bailey Hemphill.
Haney might just be Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy’s secret weapon off the bench, and she proved that once again in the Crimson Tide’s series against South Carolina.
KJ Haney’s Pinch-Hit Grand Slam vs. South Carolina
The sophomore slugger was inserted into the lineup for outfielder Kat Grill in the Tide’s series opener against South Carolina over the weekend.
Down three runs with two outs in the sixth inning, Murphy made the call to Haney in the dugout, and she didn’t disappoint. She blasted a grand slam into the left-field corner just inside the foul pole to give her team the lead.
Understandably, Alabama players went nuts. Haney could barely keep her balance as she ran giddily around the bases. It was one of those moments that makes you fall in love with the sport of softball. Alabama just seems to have a whole lot of those.
The Crimson Tide went on to win, 7-5, after the momentous slam. They swept the Gamecocks and now sit 29-4 on the season after a midweek win over Alabama State that was fueled by an Alex Salter no-hitter on Tuesday.
As for Haney, she still isn’t an everyday starter. In fact, she’s never started a game in her collegiate career. Still, she’s finding her ways to make an impact.
Remember Haney’s name come Women’s College World Series time. You never know when she’s going to come through in the clutch again.