OKLAHOMA CITY —
Prior to the start of the 2014 season Alabama head softball coach Patrick Murphy stated that he anticipated working his newest pitcher, Rusk High School product Sydney Littlejohn, into about 15 games this season.
For the record, Littlejohn saw action in 28 of the Crimson Tide's games with her final appearance of the campaign coming in Tuesday evening's must-win game in the NCAA Division I Womens College World Series.
Alabama lost a 6-3 decision to Southeastern Conference (SEC) rival Florida on Tuesday as the Gators captured their first softball national championship in school history before a national television audience and 7,810 folks that packed inside ASA Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Littlejohn was inserted into the game in a relief role with one out in the second inning after Florida (55-12) chased Alabama All-American Jaclyn Traina from the pitching circle.
Littlejohn kept her cool on the 93-degree evening and displayed a precocious poise in pitching the final 4.2 frames for the Crimson Tide (53-11).
“Of course there was a little bit of nerves,” Littlejohn said. “But I had to stay calm to keep my team mates calm.
“I depend on them as much as they depend on me, so it is important that we all stay as relaxed as possible.”
She allowed six hits to the slugging Gators, but, and more importantly, Littlejohn did not give up any earned runs in the game during her stint in the circle.
Littlejohn said that she believes that she will be able to take away some good things from Tuesday's outing,even though her ultimate goal was to be able to celebrate a national championship with her teammates.
“(Tuesday's game) proved to me that I can play in the big games and I think that that is something that will motivate me even more in the off season and even into next season,” she said.