Alabama's Sides on hot streak in April

Former Sumiton Christian star catches fire Tide

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 4/27/19

TUSCALOOSA — The last half of April has been a remarkable time for Alabama right fielder Kendall Beth Sides.

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Alabama's Sides on hot streak in April

Former Sumiton Christian star catches fire Tide

Posted

TUSCALOOSA — The last half of April has been a remarkable time for Alabama right fielder Kendall Beth Sides.

The member of three state championship teams with the Sumiton Christian Eagles, caught the nation’s eye when she made a spectacular catch against the Georgia Bulldogs that made the ESPN Top 10 and has been shown in countless promo videos for the Crimson Tide and across the internet.

A week later, she hit a key two-run home run against the Florida Gators to help Alabama earn its first series sweep in Gainesville since 2001.

During the period, she has collected five stolen bases, recorded seven hits, scored six runs, along with a triple and the home run.

Sides draws upon a conversation with assistant coach Alyson Habetz prior to the series against Georgia as a catalyst for the surge she’s experiencing in all facets of her game.

“I had a good start to begin the season, but I began to struggle a bit. I think I was having a hard time finding myself — and that’s when I had my talk with coach Aly in the dugout before we started our series with Georgia,” Sides said.

“I needed to figure out where to go back to and where to put myself back in and it ended with renewing confidence in with who I am and what I can do. I learned once again to trust myself and trust in preparation. Since the first game against Georgia, I’ve approached each at-bat with confidence and the knowledge that they have to get me out.”

As Sides’ resurgence has sparked clutch plays on offense and in the field, the Crimson Tide has continued the climb its up the national rankings and maintained its first-place standing in the SEC.

Alabama is currently ranked third in the nation and is on a collision course with the LSU Tigers to close the season — a series that will decide the regular-season SEC title.

“I think we have our own destiny in our hands. We knew this team was special from the beginning — of course we were going to lose some games and calls weren’t going to go our way — but we’re all still confident as a team,” Sides said. “We have a challenge in our series with Kentucky as they are a much-improved team that is playing really good right now, so we have to keep playing well and continue that through to LSU. We’re a very close-knit group who have each other’s back — that kind of support throughout a team makes great things possible.”

Head coach Patrick Murphy has watched and been impressed with Sides’ growth since her first practice as a member of the team.

“Last year we had so many seniors, so Kendall Beth’s playing time was limited to a part-time role and a pinch runner — both of which she did very well in. She was kind of feeling her role. This past summer when we went to Japan, she played almost every inning of four games and she realized it was an opportunity and to make the most of it. She worked very hard all throughout the fall — through the preseason she was early and stayed late, putting a lot of time and effort into it. She ended up winning the starting spot,” Murphy said. “She went into a bit of a lull, but in the past couple of weeks, she’s picked it back up.

“The home run against Florida was huge for us, as has her play in these past few weeks. She can run, she’s got power, she’s got a great arm — she’s a five-tool player. If she was playing baseball she’d be making seven million dollars a year. I keep telling her she has no idea how good she can be. When she puts it all together, she’s going to be a great player for us. She’ll be someone that everybody in the country will know about.”

On the season, Sides is hitting .298. She is second on the team in hits (49) and stolen bases (20 of 21).

She also has six doubles, two triples, two home runs, 40 runs and 26 RBIs.

Alabama is 47-5 on the season.