In two years at the University of Alabama, shortstop Kaila Hunt has proven to be one of the top softball players in the Southeastern Conference.
The former Greenbrier standout returned to the area recently after helping lead the Crimson Tide to its first Division I national championship. In the final contest of the three-game set, she singled and scored the team’s first run in a pivotal fourth inning when the Tide scored four runs. They went on to defeat Oklahoma 5-4 to win the crown.
“It’s always great to be successful,” Hunt said on the phone from Tuscaloosa. “I think in the big scheme of things, I’ll take sitting on the bench and feeling this feeling. It’s all about experiencing this stuff with the team, going through the rain delays with your 20 sisters and all that.”
Greenbrier softball coach Garrett Black called Hunt the day after the Women’s College World Series was over and asked her to be a part of his softball clinic the following week. That she accepted readily did not surprise him.
“I think she’s excited now from the standpoint of coming back to the county,” Black said. “And this is just how Kaila is; just to meet all these little girls that are playing softball in the county and putting a smile on their faces and offering them hope.”
With all the national exposure she received, Hunt might expect a hero’s welcome, but she hopes to keep her visit normal.
“Going back there is just me going back to my friends who have known me since I played in high school,” Hunt said. “Obviously, there’s going to be younger kids who kind of flock to that idea, but I like to think just I’m coming back to some family that I’ve been away from for a couple of months.”
One family member she’ll be happy to see is her younger brother Jordan. Kaila was part of Greenbrier’s state runner-up softball squad her senior year in 2010, and Jordan was part of the Wolfpack’s state runner-up baseball team this past season.
“When he was younger, he didn’t get a whole lot of credit,” Hunt said. “I felt like he felt like he kind of lived in my shadow and I think it’s great that he’s making his own success. You hit .500 as a right-handed batter and you’re doing something right. I’m proud of him obviously, as a big sister. for him to come into that for himself.”
Jordan is glad his sister is coming home.
“It’s good to see her on national television and winning the national championship,” he said. “It’s kind of something that pushes me, and we’ve always been each other’s best friends.”