Alabama Applies ‘Next Person Up’ Mentality after Injury
When sophomore Jenna Johnson went down at the plate and clutched her knee in the fourth inning, an eerie silence fell over the crowd and the players at Rhoads Stadium.
Players, coaches and fans waited on pins and needles to see if Johnson would be able to walk off the injury, but when it was apparent that she would not be able to return to the game, Alabama needed to return its focus the task at hand, the UAB Blazers.
It's a difficult thing to ask players to focus their attention on a game when they are concerned about their teammate who is hurt. However, for the Crimson Tide they quickly shifted their focus as they defeated UAB, 7-1.
"When Jenna [Johnson] got hurt, we're like 'we gotta finish this game and fight for Jenna," graduate student Bailey Hemphill said. "We kind of have that mentality instead of letting it affect us in a negative way we spin it into a positive way."
Alabama added one run in the fourth inning and shut down UAB, allowing just two base runners for the rest of the game. Despite losing Johnson, who got the start in Wednesday's game due to a KB Sides injury, head coach Patrick Murphy calmly called on junior Kayla Davis to replace her.
Murphy said the team implements a "next person up" mentality, a message that he preaches to keep everyone sharp and ready for when their number is called.
"The other thing I say is 'you're on the team for a reason, we recruited you for a reason, you're good enough to be here,'" Murphy said. "It's been a tradition in our program. [They] are good enough to be here and good enough to be on the roster so when their time comes, they will come through."
Murphy said that Johnson will go in for an MRI Thursday morning and will get a more accurate timeline of the severity of her injury.
2021 Alabama Crimson Tide Record Book