Kasey Cooper helps lead USA Softball in pair of routs over Alabama All-Stars
In her return to Auburn, Kasey Cooper showed the same prowess that made her the best player in program history during her career on the Plains.
The former Tigers third baseman went a combined 3 for 6 with a solo home run and three runs scored to help lead USA Softball to a pair of exhibition routs over the Alabama All-Stars at Jane B. Moore Field on Saturday.
“It feels amazing,” said Cooper, who went 2 for 3 with a double and two runs scored in the 10-2 USA win in six-innings in the opening game. “This is the first time (Team USA) did the tour in Alabama and (Haylie McCleney) got it at Rhoads (Thursday) night and we had tremendous support. To see that it was sold out at Auburn, it’s amazing and it tells me that Auburn’s always going to be a home to me and that I’m always going to be welcomed and leaving that legacy.”
Auburn’s Kendall Veach went 2 for 2 with an RBI double and KK Crocker and Victoria Draper each had singles for the Alabama All-Stars in the first game while former Tennessee pitcher Gretchen Aucoin allowed seven earned runs on 12 hits over three innings in the first loss.
“I always wanted to play for the USA team but playing against them is even better,” Crocker said. “It was fun playing against Kasey, we had our little chat at second base a little bit.”
All of Team USA’s starters had at least one hit, with Kelsey Stewart and Delaney Spaulding each with three RBI, and former Arizona ace Danielle O’Toole struck out four and allowed just one run over three innings in the opening game.
Veach spent several innings at catcher and was part of an all-Auburn battery with Ashlee Swindle in the circle to start the nightcap.
“I missed it; I haven’t caught since my freshman year,” said Veach, who will be a junior for Auburn next season. “So I’m excited to get back there and maybe take on the role next season.”
Swindle got the better of Cooper in the second game, striking out the three-time All-American on a full count and later induced a groundout.
“It was just like old times during practice when I’d always throw live to her,” said Swindle, who allowed three earned runs in the first but held Team USA off the board for the next 2.2 innings. “She’s always very competitive and a very great hitter.”
Cooper smashed a 3-0 pitch from Jacksonville State’s Emily Woodruff over the wall in center to put Team USA ahead 4-0 in the fifth inning of Game 2 and Team USA went on to win 7-0 in five innings.
“It was pretty awesome,” Cooper said. “It sounds crazy but that last at-bat I just said ‘God be with me; and just have that confidence because I was a little struggling in the beginning. I started thinking a little bit more in the box in the second game because had that feeling that when I had a great at-bat coach was going to do the curtain call.
“Having that great at-bat and having all the crowd stand up one last time ended on a good note on this field so that makes me feel a lot better.”
The Alabama All-Stars mustered just one hit and struck out 10 times in the second game, with nine punch outs coming from Florida ace Kelly Barnhill, who issued three walks and hit two batters over 4.2 innings.
Crocker was hit by a pitch and Veach struck out twice in the second game.
“It’s good competition. I think we did very well for only practicing two hours yesterday,” said Draper, who walked twice off Barnhill. “She’s pretty good. My first at-bat she got me, but second two I won it. Do what you can, I’m just trying to get on base, hopefully we can score because at that point it was only 3-0 and we had a chance.
“We were battling hard.”
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Published at Sun, 23 Jul 2017 02:12:00 +0000