UNA’s Road to a National Championship

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT)- Before the first pitch of North Alabama's fairy tale season was ever thrown, the Lions set mile high expectations.

"In January we started out with a goal..road to Denver," said pitcher Hillary Carpenter. "We took it one weekend at a time, one ball game at a time."

Game by game, weekend by weekend, they rewrote the record books: The longest win streak in program history with 18 straight, the most wins in a single season with 60, their No. 3 national ranking was the highest in program history and now, they're national champions for the first time.

"It's emotional to work hard and actually get all the way to the end," senior third baseman Harlie Barkley said.

Barkley and the senior class showed leadership when the team needed them most.

"The seniors stepped up when we needed to," said first baseman Brooklynn Clark. "We had a bunch of clutch hits from the seniors and everyone contributed big to this. Just glad to go out with a national championship."

Humboldt State threw UNA a curve ball in the championship series, shutting out the Lions in game one. Head coach Ashley Cozart didn't feel the pressure with backs against the wall.

"We were just off that day. Sometimes we go into games and we don't feel like ourselves. There was no doubt in our minds the next day we were gonna come out."

They came out and they conquered. Games two and three belonged to the purple and gold. They rode the arm of Hatton native and tournament MVP Hillary Carpenter all the way to the celebrator dog pile.

"It's been a while since I pitched two games in a row so I was a little nervous," Carpenter admitted. "As long as our bats are always on I have nothing to worry about"

These Lions are queens of the diamond and they finally have the hardware to prove it.

 

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