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Do you remember the disastrous three-game series in which the then-No. 1 Georgia softball team was swept by the Crimson Tide? If so, you don’t need a recap of the first five frames of the Bulldogs’ weather-delayed SEC Softball Tournament semifinal game against Alabama beyond "second verse, same as the first" . . . but then a funny thing happened on the way to elimination.
The Tide scored individual runs in each of the initial couple of cantos before the Bulldogs halved Alabama’s advantage in the fourth frame with a hit batsman, a stolen base, and an RBI groundout. That score remained unchanged until the sixth stanza, in which left fielder Megan Wiggins reached on a fielding error to lead off, third baseman Alisa Goler drew a one-out walk, and catcher Ashley Razey lifted a two-out home run to straightaway center field to give the Red and Black the lead.
The Crimson Tide went three up and three down in their turn at the plate, after which Georgia notched a trio of one-out singles to load the bases in the top of the seventh inning. Alabama pitched out of the jam to come up to bat trailing by two. Following two quick outs, the Tide carded a base hit to bring the potential tying run to the plate, then a throwing error put two runners in scoring position and an intentional walk loaded the bases.
Morgan Montemayor, who had done yeoman’s service in the circle all game long, gave up a long ball to right field, which was snagged in foul territory to secure the upset victory that avenged the season sweep. The win, and the way it was achieved, exorcised a lot of demons for the Red and Black, setting up a Saturday date with the title on the line.
The SEC Softball Tournament championship will be settled on ESPN at 8:00 Eastern tomorrow night, when the Bulldogs will face the Tennessee Volunteers, who swept a doubleheader against the Athenians in April. One payback down, one payback to go.