Alabama starts to recapture that old Hoover magic

21 minutes ago
Kevin Scarbinsky

Photo: Michael Wade

Welcome to the 2022 SEC Baseball Tournament Blog, your online home for the big news, behind-the-scenes notes and quotes and special moments that make this annual event at the Hoover (Ala.) Met the best college baseball tournament in the nation. Check back for updates each day throughout the week.

You know that thing the Alabama baseball program used to do on a routine basis, where the Crimson Tide would bus down the interstate to the Hoover Met and act like they owned the place?

They’re starting to do it again.

For the second straight year, Alabama has won its first two games in the SEC Tournament as a lower seed. In 2021, the Tide did it as the No. 10 seed. The last two days, they’ve done it as the No. 11 seed.

After surprising No. 6 Georgia 5-3 to open the tournament in Tuesday’s single-elimination play, Alabama upset No. 3 Arkansas 4-3 Wednesday to advance to the winner’s bracket again. Coach Brad Bohannon suggested after both games that the number of home-state players on the roster may be a factor in the Tide’s ability to elevate its play at what could be considered its home away from home.

While a lot of the league’s players grow up in the conference footprint dreaming of playing in the SEC Tournament, he said, “we have more of those kids than other teams. Maybe there’s something to that or maybe it’s just a coincidence. I don’t know.”

Senior first baseman (and Brewton, Ala., native) Drew Williamson, who went 2 for 3 Wednesday and drove in a run, knows one thing.

“This place is awesome,” he said. “I can’t tell you enough how much I love to play here, man. It’s just the environment, the field, the fans, everything about it. It’s so much fun.”

Alabama has won seven SEC Tournament titles – only LSU with 12 has more – but it’s been some time since the Tide was the last team standing in

this event. There is still much work to be done to reach the championship game for the first time since 2010 or win the title for the first time since 2003. Those droughts prove a home-state advantage can carry a team only so far, but Bohannon will take any edge he can get.

“At this point,” he said, “I kinda want to move all our games to Hoover.”

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