Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 12, 2014

Rusk's Littlejohn impressive in first start for No.4 Alabama

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

TROY, Ala. —

 Former Rusk High School softball standout, Sydney Littlejohn, now a true freshman at the University of Alabama, earned her first pitching victory as a member of the Crimson Tide softball team Saturday night when No. 4 Alabama thumped Middle Tennessee, 9-1.

The game came on the second day of the Troy University Subway Invitational.

Making her first start of the season, Littlejohn, got credit for a complete game (6 innings) win.

She allowed just two hits and one run (earned) while facing 21 batters.

She fanned seven Lady Raiders and walked one.

Littlejohn pitched one inning in Alabama's win over North Florida on Friday, working out of the Crimson Tide bullpen.

All three of her outs came via strike outs in that game.

Sydney's parents, Paul and Lynn Littlejohn of Rusk, were able to make the trip over to Troy last weekend to see their daughter and her teammate in action.

Lynn Littlejohn said watching Sydney pitch collegiatly was much the same experience as witnessing her pitch back at Rusk High.

“We were nervous before the game, just like in high school,” Lynn Littlejohn said. “We just wanted Sydney, and all of the girls, to do good. We were happy for Sydney because she has worked real hard.”

Mrs. Littlejohn also was quick to praise her daughters teammates.

“The girls scored six runs in the second inning and that gave Sydney a little breathing room and we are grateful that Sydney is playing on such a talented team.”

Sydney Littlejohn in the No. 3 pitcher on the Crimson Tide roster, behind senior Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) and Leslie Jury an Anderson, SC junior.

Both have been extremely supportive and helpful in the development of Sydney Littlejohn, according to Lynn Littlejohn.

“Leslie Jury has kind of taken Sydney under her wing so to speak,” Lynn Littlejohn said. “Being a junior, Leslie remembers what it was like to make the jump from high school to college and she has helped Sydney along in that way.

“And Jackie has worked with Sydney on her grip and has shared a lot with her about pitching.”

Sydney's parents realize that things are bound to get tougher for their daughter, but right now they are enjoying the awesome experience that took place last weekend.

“We know that at this level, and especially when the Southeastern Conference games start that the opposition will be much tougher and Sydney may not even get to play much being a true freshman, but right now we are just savoring the moment,” Lynn Littlejohn said.

Alabama is off to a 5-0 start under head coach Patrick Murphy.

The Crimson Tide will be playing in the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. this weekend where they open up against Grand Canyon on Friday afternoon.