COLLEGE SOFTBALL

Sides' double pivotal in win over UNA

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TUSCALOOSA — Alabama's KB Sides has been working to get back to her normal tendency to make consistent, clutch plays for the third-ranked Crimson Tide since an injury sidelined her for several games this season.

On Wednesday night, the former Sumiton Christian star took a big step forward towards that goal, delivering a crucial hit that changed the complexion of the game in Alabama's 5-0 victory over the North Alabama Lions at Rhoads Stadium.

With the Crimson Tide clutching a 1-0 lead over the Lions entering the bottom half of the fifth inning, Sides hit a double that moved fellow outfielder Elissa Brown into scoring position with no outs. Brown would later score, while Sides would be driven in on a double by Kaylee Tow — a sequence that proved vital in getting the offense moving.

Sides finished the contest by going 2 for 3 at the plate with a run scored and the double and recorded her fifth multi-hit game of the season.

"Since returning from injury, I've strung together production, but not the consistency I've come to expect from myself every game. I'll have a few hits in a series, but I feel I haven't been to the level I need to be to help my team game after game. I really needed that double tonight to help us out," Sides said.

Sides and Brown's work on the basepaths has gone hand-in-hand with the two outfielders work on defense for the last three seasons. While the left field spot for the Crimson Tide has changed recently, Sides at right field and Brown in center field, have been a source of stability and good play for Alabama during their tenure.

Brown's recent comments on the return of Sides from injury highlight the closeness and camaraderie between the two — comments that Sides echoed back about her teammate.

"Elissa and I have been alongside each other for three seasons and have grown really close. She's obviously an outstanding player, but even more, she's an amazing teammate and friend," Sides said. "We've both had our bouts with injury and been supportive of each other. When we're back out in the field side-by-side with each other, it's a joy for both of us and it's been such a wonderful experience to have her there with me."